Fall Colours, Hot Springs, Caves and Ghost Towns
What more could you want on a gorgeous rainy (or sunny!) day drive from Nelson? Oh, I know: Grizzly bears, eagles, kokanee salmon, mergansers, swans – and much more! The range of wildlife you can potentially see along this route is breathtaking in itself. For a great blog about the Lardeau with a focus on the wildlife, you should really read Lardeau Valley Time for a taste of what you might see in this area. But first — options. The Lardeau Valley actually exists as part of a circle tour called the Silvery Slocan Tour or the newly branded West Koot Route. This 6 hour tour begins and ends in Nelson, and traverses some seriously gorgeous countryside, some of which we described in our recent hot springs blog post. Traveling through Ainsworth, Kaslo, the Lardeau Valley, then around through Nakusp, Silverton, Winlaw, and the Slocan Valley back to Nelson is a serious trek and well worth making.
For a day tour, however, you can’t go wrong driving out to the Lardeau Valley, stopping off at Cody Caves and Ainsworth Hotsprings, and arriving back in Nelson for the night. The Lardeau Loop is a great drive at this time of year, as the fall leaves are stunning still and the stop off at the hot springs with just a touch of chill in the air is absolutely perfect. Rugged backpackers, wilderness photographers and athletes trek to the Lardeau Valley because it is the gateway to a landscape bordered by steep Selkirk Mountains, narrow lakes and rushing white capped rivers, that eventually flow into our own Kootenay Lake.
Take Your Time, Have a Look Around
Any time of year is a great time for the Lardeau Loop, but fall brings its own special treasures. The fall leaves, for example, are stunning. Larch trees shoot from between evergreens as if they are on fire; other deciduous trees such as aspen, birch and cottonwood present a landscape that will make it difficult for you to keep your eyes on the road.
So stop often, take your camera, and take it all in. Make sure to plan for a stop off at Ainsworth, and definitely don’t forget Kaslo. This is a day trip, or two days, that will take your breath away and leave you feeling renewed.
Whatever you decide, we hope to see you here soon. And, of course, if you’d like ideas for places to stay while here, please take a look at the Nelson Kootenay Lake website.