Founded in 1892 on the shores of Slocan Lake, the Village of New Denver saw its first houses built by the calloused hands of mining prospectors. Briefly known as Eldorado City, before being renamed after Denver Colorado, New Denver was incorporated as a village in 1929.
]The area was first inhabited by the Kootenai and Salish First Nations, whose pictographs can still be seen along the shores of Slocan Lake.
The pioneers were followed by merchants and businessmen, who built stores and hotels, and the village prospered. New Denver soon became the hub of government services in the Slocan Valley.
The former mining town is now noted mainly for its spectacular location on Slocan Lake, with the peaks of the Valhalla Mountains rising more than 2,100 metres on the opposite shore.
New Denver was the site of an internment camp that housed some 2,000 Japanese Canadians that were displaced from their West Coast homes during World War 2, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Location: New Denver is located in the BC Kootenays on the eastern shore of Slocan Lake at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 31A, 5 miles (8 km) north of Silverton and 29 miles (46 km) southeast of Nakusp.
Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre on Josephine Street allows visitors to improve their understanding of internment history. In 1942, about 22,000 Nikkei (people of Japanese descent), 75% of whom were Canadian citizens, were stripped of their civil rights and labelled “enemy aliens”. The federal government ordered men to road camps while families were placed in animal stalls awaiting forced removal to interior BC relocation camps, or to sugar beet farms in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. More information on Internment Camps in British Columbia.
Japanese Homes: Look for the tiny little houses on the south side of town. These homes were originally built to accommodate the relocated Japanese Canadians. Even with subsequent additions to the homes they are still small.
The Kohan Reflection Garden on First Avenue honours the Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage who were resettled to the BC Interior during the Second World War.
Silvery Slocan Museum lets you catch the spirit of the pioneers and discover the treasures of the past in this gateway to the grand old days of silver mining. The museum houses a fascinating collection that tells the story of mining, transportation, logging and bustling village life. Located in the former Bank of Montreal building (1897), this designated heritage building shows techniques and finishes used over 100 years ago.
The Galena Trail can be explored for 13 km from Rosebery, through New Denver, through Denver Canyon and Alamo Siding to Three Forks. The Nakusp & Slocan railway is no more, yet the smoke from the wood-fired boilers and the howl of the steam whistle still linger in the air. The beautiful Galena Trail, with its natural wonders, wildlife, and rare and delicate plants, is for non-motorized use only.
Hiking: Take the trail to the Idaho Peak Lookout for a wonderful vista of the Slocan Valley, Slocan Lake and the Valhalla Mountain Range.
Fishing: If you’re here to fish, head to Slocan Lake and try for kokanee salmon, rainbow trout and dolly varden.
Golf: On the northern outskirts of New Denver is the delightful 9-hole Slocan Lake Golf Course on Golf Course Road. Perched on a benchland above Slocan Lake, the course parallels Highway 6 between New Denver and Rosebery. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Valhalla Provincial Park is a magnificent world-class wilderness encompassing 49,600 hectares of natural landscape, and 30 kilometres of pristine shoreline along Slocan Lake. The park is located high in the Valhalla Mountain range along the west shore of Slocan Lake, with numerous cascades and waterfalls scattered throughout the park. Backcountry hiking and camping are popular in the park.
Winter Activities: There’s plenty to do in these parts once Old Man Winter checks in. Located smack in the middle of the Selkirk Mountains to the east and the Monashees to the west, this area is a veritable playground for skiers, snowmobilers and even ice fishermen – on Box Lake and Trout Lake. Most communities in the area offer cross-country skiing, A few areas that offer trails are Barnes Creek between Fauquier and Edgewood, Wensley Creek Ski Trails closer to Nakusp, and the Upper Brouse Road area southeast of Nakusp. Snowcat skiing and snowmobiling also await visitors who are ready for an adventure to happen.
Summit Lake Ski Area offers downhill skiing and snowboarding on 10 runs ranging from beginner to expert levels. Located 20 km south of Nakusp on Highway 6 to New Denver. In addition to the fantastic downhill conditions, Summit Lake also offers spectacular cross country trails, both groomed and ungroomed, and snowmobiling is also offered in the area. For those seeking more of a challenge, local helicopter skiing companies will whisk you and your guide high into the backcountry, where the finest virgin powder snow lies.
Ghost Town: Travel back into the history of this region, to the Ghost Town of Sandon, once the Capital of the Silvery Slocan. Located 8 km east of New Denver, Sandon was an incorporated city of 5,000 people at the height of the mining boom in 1892. Two railroads once served this Monte Carlo of Canada, with its twenty nine hotels, twenty eight saloons, an opera house, two newspapers, five men’s clothing stores, a bank, and several other gambling halls, brothels, offices, stores and businesses. Now a renowned and restored historic site, Sandon lures thousands of visitors each summer.
North of New Denver is Nakusp in the West Kootenays, a picturesque setting at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains, on the east shore of the Arrow Lakes.
South of New Denver is Silverton, small village first settled in 1892 by miners working the south face of Idaho Mountain, extracting the rich deposits of lead and silver.
Circle Tour: See the best of the area on The Okanagan and BC 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.