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Posted: January 1, 2020

Nelson to Kaslo loop tour is awesome

Road Trippin’ Nelson – Slocan Valley – Kaslo Loop, B.C.

One the best things about living in the East Kootenay is our close proximity to the Central Kootenay (also known as the West Kootenay).

This past autumn we had a chance to spend a couple of days in Nelson. This gave us an opportunity to tour through the Slocan Valley, Sandon, Kalso and back to Nelson.

With a backdrop of a beautiful fall day, it was awe-inspiring.

We left Nelson on Highway 3A/6 to South Slocan/Crescent Valley, where we continued north on Highway 6.

Our first stop was at Winlaw Regional and Nature Park, about 50 km from downtown Nelson.

From there we checked out Slocan, a now quiet but once booming Interior B.C. resource town and then up to Silverton and New Denver, soaking in the majestic magnificence of the valley featuring the imposing Valhalla wilderness to the west.

We then turned east on Highway 31A for Kaslo, but first drove roughly 10 miles to Sandon, one of the coolest ghost towns around.

Once a city of 5,000 plus at the turn of the 20th Century, Sandon is now a small community with a handful of residents who do their part in preserving the heritage buildings remaining, which is quite a few, including the Sandon Historical Society’s interesting museum (thanks for letting us in!) and the former city hall and multi-use building which is now a small store and cafe.

Fascinatingly, the hamlet has its own power supply, the Sandon Generating Station, established in 1897. The still-operating generator, powered by a clever series of gravity utilizing creek diversions in the high country, needs only to be shut down once every 14 years for maintenance.

The collection of old Vancouver busses in Sandon evolved separately from the mining town.

Sandon is also gateway to Idaho Peak, a high-country hiking area that affords mesmerizing views.

After leaving Sandon, we drove the 44 km to Kaslo for a ramble around that gorgeous lakeside community before winding our way back to Nelson for dinner.

The entire loop encompassed about 240 km, including touring around in the communities taking photos, and took us about seven hours to complete.

Lead image: Silverton Creek flowing toward Slocan Lake.

Photos and video by Carrie Schafer and Ian Cobb


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