The Kootenay Lake Ferry is wonderful experiance and it is the longest free ferry ride in B.C.
Kootenay Lake Ferry takes 45 minutes. It is good to arrive at least a half hour early in the summer during peek times. On long weekends I would go at least an hour prior to your desired departure. My cousins had to wait three sailings once.
It was the busiest weekend of the year though.
Here is a link to the schedule:
The Balfour landing is a 40 minute drive North of Nelson. The Kootenay Bay landing is on the side comming from Creston.
As the Ferry is departing from the Balfour landing if you go to the top deck on the right hand side as it is pulling out you can see a beautiful Osprey nest. During the spring/summer you may even be able to witness a mother with her eggs or her babies.
Bring your Camera!
This ferry takes you across Kootenay Lake, east of Nelson. It is free and runs every 30 minutes or so. This ferry is part of the #3A highway which runs from Nelson to Crawford Bay and then south to Creston.
It doesn't look like much of a distance across the lake, but the ferry actually goes on an angle "up" the lake, so it takes about 15 minutes or so to cross.
Oh! And sorry about the quality of this picture - it was taken from inside the RV (thru the windshield) and I'm afraid it's a little blurry!
This ferry shuttles people across Lower Arrow Lake, from Needles to Fauquier. It is part of the #6 highway which runs from Vernon to Nelson. This highway is without a doubt the most beautiful one I have ever been on in British Columbia.
The free ferry ride takes about 5 minutes. This ferry runs on cables which are strung across the lake. The ferry is small and will only hold about 30 cars. It was a very unique experience for us.
Nelson is in southern central British Columbia at the junction of Highways 6 and 3A. It is about 40 km north of Highway 3 (the Crowsnest Highway - one of BC's main east-west routes). It's 60 km to the US Border station at Nelway.
From Alberta (Calgary) - Head south to Highway 3. Follow Highway 3 west over the Kootenay Pass to Salmo, follow Highway 6 north to Nelson. Or take Highway 3 to Creston and follow Highway 3A to Kootenay Bay. Take the ferry across the lake to Balfour, and follow Highway 3A another 50 km to Nelson.
From Vancouver - Follow Highway 1 east to Hope. Exit onto Highway 3 east. Follow Highway 3 to Castlegar, exit onto Highway 3A east to Nelson.
Well, it's not fast, but it's interesting. Nelson once laid claim to the British Empire's smallest street railway. Three cars plied the downtown's steep single-track figure-8 until 1949. One car survived and now runs along a more sedate, but quite scenic mile of lakefront from beneath the Nelson Bridge to the foot of Josephine Street.
There are three stops, and infinite amusement as shoppers in cars dodge the old tram as it rattles through a supermarket parking lot.