June is a wonderful time to visit Nelson. Nestled on a magnificent expanse of glacier-fed lakeshore in the Selkirk Mountains, midway between Calgary, AB, and Vancouver, BC, Nelson provides a breathtaking landscape that attracts outdoor adventurers of every age and taste.
Renowned for its eclectic arts scene, diverse restaurants and boutique shopping Nelson boasts year-round recreational activities. In winter, Whitewater Ski Resort and the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges feature some of Canada’s best powder alpine skiing, snowboarding and nordic skiing. In the spring and summer, Nelson becomes a mecca for cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, golf, rafting, and much more.
Where to stay? HI-Nelson, Dancing Bear Inn of course!
HI-Nelson, Dancing Bear Inn offers simple, comfortable accommodation in the heart of downtown Nelson, a short walk from all that this charming town has to offer. Whether you stay in our newly renovated dormitories, a private room, or a “boutique” family room, HI-Nelson will be a great home base to meet other travellers from around the world and launch your Kootenay adventure. Plus HI-Nelson has a special offer running throughout June:
FREE NIGHT! From June 1, 2013 - June 31, 2013, stay for 2 nights and get the 3rd night free!
- This promotion is applicable to dorm beds and private rooms.
- All 3 nights must be consecutive.
- Entire stay must be paid for in full at check-in.
- This promotion cannot be combined with other offers and specials.
- Non-refundable and non-transferable.
What is there to do in Nelson?
For the Adventurer
- Enjoy an incredible white water rafting experience, while taking in the scenic beauty of the Slocan and Salmo Rivers. HI-Nelson can arrange your entire trip, pickup and drop off included, at the hostel.
- Directly across the lake from Nelson, and a short walk from the hostel, is Pulpit Rock. A short but aerobic hike leads up through the forest to this popular destination, where hikers are rewarded with a commanding view overlooking Nelson and the West Arm of Kootenay Lake. Also, nearby Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park encompasses close to 80,000 acres of some of the most scenic country found anywhere in Canada, comprising a picturesque mosaic of high peaks, snowfields, cirques, and colourful lake basins ideal for hiking and fishing.
- Mountain Biking – explore Nelson’s extensive network of mountain bike trails. Bike storage is available at the hostel and rentals are available from several local bike shops.
- Experience Kootenay Lake firsthand by renting a kayak, canoe, powerboat from Captain Erik’s watersports.
For the History Buff
- Touchstones Museum of Art and History is located in an elegant, turreted heritage building. The museum's permanent collection illustrates the history of settlement of both Nelson and the region, while the Art Gallery showcases the talents of local artists.
- After 30 years, Nelson is still known to many visitors as the setting of Roxanne, an award winning movie starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. A self-guided “Roxanne walking tour” will highlight many of the locations featured in the film.
- Nelson features more heritage architecture per capita than any other city in BC. Learn more about the architecture of Nelson's more than 350 heritage buildings with a self-guided walking tour of the downtown core, and a driving tour through some of the city's residential neighbourhoods
- Streetcar #23: Take a ride on a piece of Nelson's heritage that spends the summer moving back and forth along the waterfront. Streetcar #23, which plied the streets of Nelson until the streetcar system was replaced by buses in 1949, is now fully restored and carries passengers between several stations along the waterfront. Ask the volunteer conductor to share some stories about the streetcar and its fascinating history.
For the Romantic
- About 45 minutes drive from Nelson, overlooking Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains, Ainsworth Hot Springs is a spa for the whole family. The hot pool has its own horseshoe-shaped cave, where temperature and humidity are highest. There are also some secret hot springs near Nelson, which you’ll have to ask about at the hostel's front desk.
- Take a waterfall hike along the shores of Kootenay Lake. Fletcher Falls is a small, but powerful waterfall, a fine elongated sandy beach and a wilderness hiking trail. Fletcher Falls is best known as a marine wilderness campground site created for boaters and canoers who are exploring on Kootenay Lake. The recreation trail leading to the 50 foot waterfall is an easy grade, downhill trail following along an old access road and then onto a single track hiking trail. It is considered an easy hike downhill following alongside a creek leading to the falls.
- Grab some picnic food from the Kootenay Co-op, a natural foods store only one block from the hostel, then head next door to BC Wine Guys, which offers a selection of BC VQA wines unmatched anywhere else in Canada.
- If you are feeling like some extra pampering at the end of a leisurely day, enjoy a massage at HI-Nelson from our in-house masseuse, Shelley.
For the Foodie
For a town of only 10,000, Nelson has an inordinate number of high quality restaurants, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, and locally produced food for sale.
- Stick around 'til August to experience Hills Garlic Festival where vendors from all over the Kootenays, the BC Interior, and farther afield gather to sell the bounty of their harvests: vegetables, herbs, arts and crafts, and, of course, GARLIC! The festival attracts about 6000 people of all ages with lively music, great food, children's entertainment, and old fashioned community fun.
- Culinary conspiracy, just a few blocks from the hostel on Baker Street, brings a little piece of foodie’s paradise to the heart of the West Kootenays. They carry a wide selection of the finest specialty foods from around the world and around the corner. Come in and browse or shop for a mouth watering array of spices, sauces, vinegars, oils and more.
- For fine dining at its best, focused on local, sustainable cuisine, look no further than All Seasons Café, a back-alley bistro in the heart of Nelson, which has been hailed as "British Columbia's best restaurant east of Vancouver" by Frommers.
For the Arts, Culture, and Music Buff
Nelson has also been named the "best art town" in Canada by author John Villani in his book The 100 Best Art Towns in America, in recognition of its thriving artistic scene.
- The Craft Connection: an arts and crafts co-operative that has been in business for more than 25 years. Staffed by the artists themselves, the gallery features the work of potters, weavers, sculptors, metal workers, textile artists, jewellers and many more. Downstairs, "Gallery 378" features the work of local painters and graphic artist
- Visit Nelson’s historic Capitol Theatre, offering music and theatre since 1927. On the schedule for June are performances of Cabaret, and a Ziggy Marley concert.
- Take the short drive north to Balfour for the world’s longest free ferry ride to Kooteney Bay and Crawford Bay, which hosts a colony of artisans. Watch blacksmithing, broom-making, weaving, glass-blowing, jewelers, leatherwork, and copper enameling.
- On June 28th, don’t miss Market-fest in downtown Nelson, featuring music and dance performances, and over local 100 vendors with hand-made, home-grown or prepared goods and food.
- July and August boast a series of exciting music festivals in Nelson and the nearby town of Kaslo. Stick around until August and enjoy the stunning vistas, great acoustics and superb musicians that together create the Kaslo Jazz Festival. The unique floating stage rests just offshore a little, sandy beach on Kootenay Lake. USA Today has named it one of the 10 best places to “get in tune, be outdoors.”
For the Hippie-at-Heart
The region has become known for its healthy choices—nutritious eating, sustainable practices, and locally made products.
- Every Saturday morning in the summer, guests can take the short walk (2 minutes) from the hostel to an open-air farmer’s market in Cottonwood Falls Park, featuring live music, regional produce, eggs, sweet and savoury foods, and a variety of unique, locally produced products, including hand-made paintings, prints, cards, all natural body products, clothing, cupcakes, cookies, crepes, herbs, veggies, flowers, garden stepping stones, essential oils, porcelain, many different types of jewelry, fruits, gluten-free baked goods, syrups, pet treats, silver, sausages and lots more.
- Every Wednesday in June, Nelson’s main street shuts down for an all-day farmer’s market and craft fair, sponsored by the West Kootenay Eco-Society.
- There is no better way to experience the Kootenay hippie vibe than with a trip to the nearby Slocan valley, where unspoiled beauty is home to dozens of organic farms and local artisans. The town of New Denver, at the north end of the valley, is a great vantage point from which to experience the incredible beauty of Slocan lake and Valhalla Provincial park.