The Arrow Lakes are located in the Kootenays region of British Columbia, situated between the Selkirk Mountains to the east and the Monashee Mountains to the west. Arrow Lake is divided into two lakes, Upper Arrow Lake and Lower Arrow Lake, which are widened portions of the Columbia River as it wends its way south to the US border.
Originally two separate lakes, the Arrow Lakes became one 230-km long lake with the construction of the Keenleyside Dam in the 1960s. At low water levels the two lakes become separated, once again, although connected by the a section known as the Narrows. The shores of the Arrow Lakes feature rocky headlands and steep cliffs, with mountain sides that are heavily forested and rise sharply to elevations around 2,600 metres.
There are two free highway ferry crossings of Arrow Lakes, one on Upper Arrow Lake at Shelter Bay/Galena Bay on Highway 23, and the other on Lower Arrow Lake, at Needles/Faquier on Highway 6.
The Arrow Lakes are part of the traditional territory of the Sinixt, Okanagan and Ktunaxa First Nations.
Location: The Arrow Lakes are located in the Kootenays region of BC, between the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains, with the upper extreme of Arrow Lake at the town of Revelstoke, and the southern tip of Arrow Lake at the town of Castlegar.
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The Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry service operates across Upper Arrow Lake from Galena Bay on the eastern shore of the lake to Shelter Bay on the western shore of Upper Arrow Lake. This free ferry service connects Highway 23 that runs from Revelstoke to Nakusp in the Kootenays.
The Needles Cable Ferry service operates across Lower Arrow Lake from Needles on the western shore to Fauquier on the eastern shore of Lower Arrow Lake. This free ferry service connects Highway 6 that runs from Castlegar in the Kootenays to Vernon in the North Okanagan.
BC Ferry: Inland Ferry Services in British Columbia
Located at the extreme northern tip of Upper Arrow Lake, the history of Revelstoke is tied to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which you can delve into at the Revelstoke Railway Museum. Towering mountains rise all around Revelstoke, a town that appeals to hikers and skiers.
Located on the eastern shore of Upper Arrow Lake in the West Kootenays, the community of Nakusp occupies a picturesque setting at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains, ringed by the Selkirk Mountains to the east, the Valhallas to the south and the Monashee Mountains to the west.
Southwest of Nakusp, Burton is a friendly little lakeside village on the east shore of Lower Arrow Lake. Burton is also located on Highway 6, en route to the Faquier/Needles ferry crossing of Arrow Lake, and beyond that to Vernon and the Okanagan Valey.
Southwest of Nelson near the southern tip of Lower Arrow Lake, Castlegar is the home of many of British Columbia’s Doukhobors, a pacifist group of political refugee emigrants from Russia that settled in the Ootichena Valley in 1908. Their history has now become part of the attraction of Castlegar.
Lake Communities: Small communities or settlements on Upper Arrow Lake include Arrowhead and Shoreholme. Small communities or settlements on Lower Arrow Lake include Applegrove, Edgewood, Renata, Deer Park, Shields, and Robson.
Provincial Parks: The following provincial parks are located on Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes:
Blanket Creek Provincial Park
Arrow Lakes Provincial Park
McDonald Creek Provincial Park
Syringa Provincial Park