The paved and well maintained highways leading into and out of the Kaslo area are attractive to cyclists for their scenic beauty and light traffic. The winding and hilly nature of these roads can mean surprises around each corner. Be aware of and prepared for narrow shoulders, wildlife encounters, traffic and changeable mountain weather.
The Silver Triangle – 210 km / 132 mi
This ride takes you from Kaslo to New Denver, down the Slocan Valley to Nelson, along the west arm of Kootenay Lake and then along upper Kootenay Lake back to Kaslo. This is a very popular route that can be accomplished in a very long single day or stretched over two to three days.
Hwy 31A from Kaslo to New Denver – 50 km
Hwy 31 A winds its way west out of Kaslo toward New Denver. Although traffic is usually light, the narrow gravel shoulders of the road require that you be very aware of traffic in both directions. This part of the highway follows the rushing waters of the Kaslo River. Built on the original Kaslo to Sandon railway bed it maintains a steady 1 or 2% grade. Along the way you will pass through Retallack, an abandoned mining town. Tucked away in the forest is the Retallack Lodge with a seasonal restaurant. Just off the entrance road to the lodge is a lovely 1.5 km walking loop through an old growth forest with ancient cedar trees. At the highway summit you come upon tiny Fish and Bear Lakes, the source of Kaslo River. Here you will find picnic sites, toilets, swimming, and a beautiful view east to the glacier-covered Valhalla Mountains. From here the remaining 20 km is primarily downhill, depositing you in the town of New Denver. If you would like to venture off the highway for part of this leg, the Galena Trail is a wonderful option. At the Sandon signpost on Hwy 31A, turn left on the dirt road leading to Sandon. Immediately watch for the entrance to the Galena Trail on your right. This trail follows an old railroad bed above Carpenter Creek. A highlight of the trip is crossing the river on a hand powered cable care, one person and one bike at a time. Just hook your bike on the side and away you go, pulling yourself across. It´s a fun ride, and it definitely beats getting wet. The trail brings you back to Hwy 31A at the entrance to New Denver.
Junction of Hwy 31A and Hwy 6 to Junction of Hwy 6 and Hwy 3A – 79 km
From New Denver follow Hwy 6 south along Slocan Lake and the Slocan River. Here the road is wider and has paved shoulders that range from modest to wide. It is also busier so watch for larger trucks and more vehicular traffic. Except for a stiff 7 km climb starting just south of Silverton, this road is good, moderate, mountain cycling passing through a number of scenic small towns with services available.
Junction of Hwy 6 and Hwy 3A to Nelson – 23 km
From this junction, turn left (east) towards Nelson, the largest centre on the route. Traveling along the Kootenay River, you will pass a number of small dams that provide electric power for the region. Take a break in Nelson and enjoy the ambiance and historical character of this unique mountain town.
Nelson to Balfour – 27 km
From Nelson, follow Hwy 3A along the West Arm of Kootenay Lake to the small town of Balfour. This is a fairly flat section of road and easy riding. From Balfour, you might want to consider a popular side trip to Pilot Point. This can be accomplished by boarding the Kootenay Lake Ferry for a free, 35 minute ride to Kootenay Bay on the east shore of Kootenay Lake. Once you leave the boat, turn right at the first road. Here you will find a small lighthouse that was originally built to help guide the sternwheelers up and down Kootenay Lake. There is also a marine part to explore as well as the ruins of kilns that once fired the bricks that built much of Kaslo.
Balfour to Kaslo – 35 km
To say we saved the best for last is an understatement. This final section of the trip boasts the most spectacular scenery of the entire loop. Enjoy great views of Kootenay Lake along the entire leg of this trip. Don´t pass Ainsworth Hot Springs without stopping for a dip in the pool and a chance to experience the caves. If you are hungry there are restaurants at Balfour, Ainsworth and the small town of Woodbury, 4 km up the road from Ainsworth. Just before reaching Kaslo, watch for the sign for Fletcher Falls on your right. A short ride takes you down to a small beach and the base of the falls.
Kaslo to Meadow Creek
Except for the first hills getting out of lower Kaslo, the road to Meadow Creek is easy to moderate. For an easier start, drive to the Brake Check pull out and start from there.
Kaslo to Meadow Creek – 80km/50 miles return; lots of climbing, rolling hills
Follow the signs for Hwy 31 north toward Meadow Creek. This very scenic road is quite narrow in spots but good riding with beaches and campsites along the way. A stop at Lost Ledge Provincial Park affords spectacular views up and down Kootenay Lake. Just past Davis Creek Provincial Park is the small hamlet of Lardeau. In the village of Meadow Creek you will find a cafe and general store. From Meadow Creek you have a number of options for exploring the area. Dirt and gravel roads in the area lead to the Duncan Dam, Duncan Lake, the Kokanee Spawning Channel, Meadow Mountain, Argenta, Johnson´s Landing and Glacier Creek Campground.