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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Kootenay Rockies > Castlegar

Castlegar is located 41 km (25.5 miles) south-west of Nelson on Hwy 3A, 89 km (55 miles) east of Grand Forks on Hwy 3 and 26 km (16 miles) north of Trail on Hwy 22.

'Greatest Dam City in the World'
Castlegar is situated in a large valley right at the point where the Kootenay River flows into the Columbia River. Close by to Castlegar are at least nine dams controlling water flow plus generating electricity giving Castlegar the notoriety of being called the 'greatest dam city in the world.'

Railway Station Museum
Castlegar has a number of interesting things for you to see and visit. There is the heritage museum located downtown which happens to be housed in the original CPR station built in the early 1900's.

If you're visiting Castlegar, one thing you'll notice is the past heritage and culture of the Doukhobors. The Doukhobors are a Russian-based religious organization that flourished in the central Kootenay Region from 1908 to 1938.

The Doukhobor Village Museum
To fully understand this communal lifestyle, make sure you take the time to visit the Doukhobor Discovery Centre conveniently located across from the Castlegar Airport on the Columbia River.

Brilliant Suspension Bridge
Close to the museum is a national heritage site, the Brilliant Suspension Bridge built by hand in 1913, to help serve the local citizens across the Columbia.

Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park
Located along the banks of the Columbia River is Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park You will find the area very interesting with a number of nature walks and informational displays chronicling Castlegar's past history with emphasis on the local First Nation, Lakes Band of Interior Salish, who existed on the island 3,500 years ago. The island is accessed by a beautiful walk-only suspension bridge that spans part of the Columbia River.

Lower Arrow Lake
Located just west of Castlegar on the Columbia River is Lower Arrow Lake, British Columbia's less-populated larger lake. You can view BC Hydro's Hugh Keenleyside Dam, the dam that creates Lower Arrow Lake, located north-west on the Columbia River just past the small community of Robson on Broadwater Rd.

Record-Sized Dolly Vardens
If you like boating and water sports Lower Arrow Lake is excellent. Fishing is also very good with record-sized Dolly Vardens being caught continuously. For boat launches, parts and marina services try Scotties Marina and Moorage.

Syringa Provincial Park
For people who like to camp there is a government campsite located at Syringa Provincial Park. The beach area at Syringa Park is excellent for kids' swimming. If you do go here there is an excellent view across the lake of a trestle on the Trans-Canada Trail.

Numerous trails to explore
For recreation Castlegar is just superb. From cross-country skiing, whitewater kayaking, tubing down the local rivers to endless golfing on one of BC's nicest courses. The action just never seems to end. If you enjoy hiking and biking there are numerous trails to explore.

Trans-Canada Trail
The Trans-Canada Trail happens to go through Castlegar utilizing the old Columbia and Western rail bed that eventually joins up with the Kettle Valley Railway at Midway. Make sure you bring a flashlight as the trail goes through the 900-metre (2,952 feet) Bull Dog Tunnel.

Friends of Parks & Trails
A good place for you to look for reference material on the local trails around Castlegar is at Friends of Parks & Trails.

Deer Park
If you get a chance to spend some time in Castlegar, one spot you might want to check out is the drive out to Deer Park on the south-east side of Lower Arrow Lake. The road starts near Syringa Provincial Park and travels north on a gravel forestry road. Take your camera along the panoramic views of southern Lower Arrow Lake are superb.

Natural Arch
One more area where the rock has been eroded is across the lake from Deer Park at the natural arch near the old site of Renata. You will need a boat of some kind to reach this stone monument. It will be a little more work but well worth the hassle.

Information on Castlegar




Map of Castlegar, BC
click map for larger image


Brilliant Powerplant
Brilliant Powerplant


Railway Station Museum
Railway Station Museum


Brilliant Suspension Bridge
Brilliant Suspension Bridge


Suspension Bridge to Zukerberg Island Heritage Park
Suspension Bridge to Zuckerberg Island


Lower Arrow Lake
Lower Arrow Lake


Beach at Syringa Provincial Park
Syringa Provincial Park


Bull Dog Tunnel
Bull Dog Tunnel


Osprey on Brilliant Suspension Bridge
Osprey on Brilliant Suspension Bridge


Castlegar from Hwy 3 towrds Salmo
Castlegar from Hwy 3 towards Salmo

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