Castlegar is located in the Columbia Valley, at the confluence of the tumbling Columbia and Kootenay Rivers. Castlegar was a housing community for Cominco employees in Trail to the south, but quickly grew into a town in its own right, experiencing positive growth in difficult times. Called the ‘Heart of the Kootenays’, 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.
The history of the Doukhobors has now become part of the attraction of Castlegar, as many visitors come to see the Zuckerburg Island Heritage Park, the Russian Orthodox Chapel House and similar sites.
Castlegar today reflects a vibrant mix of commerce, industry and recreation. The Arrow Lakes waterway offers a navigable recreation corridor some 400 kilometres long, providing access to boating, sailing and world-class fishing.
View exhibitions of art, history and science from international and regional sources at the public Kootenay Gallery of Art, History and Science.
Visit Verigin’s Tomb, the tomb of Peter “The Lordly” Verigin, an early Doukhobor leader, which overlooks the Doukhobor Suspension Bridge and the Kootenay River. The view from here of Ootischenia and the Columbia Valley is one of the most beautiful in the area.
Cross the suspension bridge and take a walk around the Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park, and go back several thousand years to discover a heritage of human and natural history unique within the Columbia River Valley. Sixty years ago Alexander Zuckerberg built his unique Russian Orthodox Chapel house on the island.
Outdoors: Recreational opportunities abound; explore the many waterfalls and hiking trails taking you on a tour of natural beauty. Off-road trails and challenging single tracks through mountainous terrain will delight mountain bikers seeking adventure.
Paddling: Ready for adventure? Satisfy your passion for rapids by applying your kayaking skills on the nearby Slocan River, or take in the “Brilliant Dam Hole’.
Eight kilometres upstream from Castlegar is the Hugh Keenleyside Dam, the second of the three Columbia River Treaty dams to be built to regulate and harness the flow of the Columbia River, to generate power and end the annual threat of flood damage in BC, Washington and Oregon. An informative 45-minute free guided tour of the facility is available.
Castlegar Museum: Housed in a 90-year old Rail Station, the best preserved in the province, the Castlegar Museum allows you to imagine the hustle and bustle of passengers boarding turn of the century trains, while the Station Agent’s residence and the newspaper archives guarantee hours of enjoyment. Learn about the Lakes Indian people who inhabited the region and the beginnings of the Castlegar townsite.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach, visit nearby Syringa Provincial Park, or read and relax by the swimming hole at Pass Creek Regional Park.
About 20 minutes east of Castlegar, the rural community of Crescent Valley signals a departure point for a northward trip through the wandering, farm-dotted landscape of the Slocan Valley.
Anglers can fish for rainbows along the shores of Nancy Greene Lake, reel in some Walleye or rainbows along the Columbia River, or fish the Lower Arrow Lake for rainbow, bull trout and kokanee.
The Doukhobor Historical Village Museum will transport you back to Canada’s early western frontier and introduce you to Doukhobor culture, and to over 1,000 artifacts representing the timeless and fascinating arts, crafts, customs and religion of these resourceful people.
Golf: The Castlegar Golf Club on Aaron Road in Ootischenia is a championship 18-hole (5,463 yards) located on a secluded plateau overlooking the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. Rated four star by Golf Digest, the course is a perfect mix of elevated tee boxes, wide fairways, and professionally manicured greens. Suitable for all skill levels.
Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Mountain Biking: Great mountain bike riding can be found on both sides of both the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers – the range of terrain is amazing. Challenge the Beaver Trail, the Merry Creek Trails, the Selkirk Trails and many more.
Hiking: Hiking and Nature Trails in the Castlegar area include the Mel Deana Trail, the Dove Hill Trail and the Waldie Island Trail.
Events: Stop by the Visitor Centre for current events in Castlegar and the surrounding Kootenay Rockies region.
Located on the Columbia River just west of Castlegar, the Celgar Pulp Mill was established in 1959 as the first inland sulphate pulp mill in British Columbia. Today, the mill produces 1,200 tons of two grades of quality Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulps, per day. It is also the most environmentally friendly pulp mill in the world. Tours may be arranged at the Castlegar Visitor Centre.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on The Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop.
Circle Tours in British Columbia.