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The East Shore

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Boswell: Population 275 | Elevation 556m ~ 1824ft

Crawford Bay: Population 350 | Elevation 566m ~ 1857ft

Gray Creek: Population 125 | Elevation 585m ~ 1919ft

Riondel: Population 250 | Elevation 576m ~ 1889ft

The east shore of the West Kootenay is a region of southeastern British Columbia that borders the Kootenay Lake in the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges. The east shore is accessible by Highway 3A north from Creston, or by a free ferry from Balfour on the west shore. The east shore is home to several small communities, such as Boswell, Crawford Bay, Riondel and Kootenay Bay, that offer a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. Some of the highlights of the east shore include:

-The Pilot Bay Lighthouse Trail, a short hike to a historic lighthouse built in 1904.

-The Pebble Beach Trail, a scenic trail that leads to a pebbled cove ideal for swimming and picnicking.

-The Lockhart Creek Trail, a longer hike that passes through an old growth forest and reaches Baker Lake in the Purcell Range.

-The Artisan Village of Crawford Bay, where visitors can watch local artisans create pottery, weaving, ironwork, brooms and more.

-The Kokanee Springs Golf Resort, a championship golf course with stunning views of the lake and mountains.

-The Kootenay Lake Ferry, the longest free ferry ride in the world that connects Kootenay Bay with Balfour on the west shore.

The east shore of the West Kootenay is a region that offers natural beauty, cultural diversity and outdoor adventure for travelers who want to explore a less crowded and more relaxed part of British Columbia.

Kootenay Lake Ferry

The Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free ferry in the world. The departure/arrival locations are in Balfour, BC on the west side of Kootenay Lake, and in Kootenay Bay on the east side of the lake. As the ferry crosses time zones in the middle of the lake, be sure to be aware of the time changes. There is another little tricky aspect of the times to note as The East Shore (Kootenay Bay) does not recognize the time change. It goes by Pacific Time in the summer and Mountain Time in the winter. An easy little trick to remember in reference to Nelson is: Same in the summer, different in the winter.

The view from the ferry on every side is gorgeous, so have your cameras ready for the 40-minute sailing. In the heart of the summer season, there is a second ferry added to facilitate the higher demand in service.

There is a small cafe on board of the year-'round vessel, The Osprey.

It is about a 30 minute drive from Nelson to the Balfour terminal and about an hour drive from the Kootenay Bay terminal to Creston.

The schedule of sailings is located here.


Kootenay Lake Chamber of Commerce

Box 120 - Crawford Bay, BC - V0B 1E0


Crawford Bay Visitor Centre

16101 Hwy BC-3A - Crawford Bay, BC - V0B 1E0


Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK)

(Creston Office)

531B-16 Avenue S - Creston, BC - V0B 1G5

Phone: (250) 428-5717


Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 1:00 pm

Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK)

(Nelson Office)

Box 590 - 202 Lakeside Drive - Nelson, BC - V1L 5R4

Phone: (250) 352-6665

Toll Free: (800) 268-7325


Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

(Closed from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm daily)

Crawford Bay Demographics Information

Artisans of Crawford Bay

Crawford Bay is a very artistic community. For a detailed look into the local artisans, check out their website here.


Crawford Bay Elementary School (K-12)

16159 Walkley Road - Crawford Bay, BC - V0B 1E0

Phone: (250) 227-9218



East Shore Community Health Centre

15985 Highway 3A - Crawford Bay, BC - V0B 1E0

Phone: (250) 227-9006

Kootenay Lake Hospital

3 View St - Nelson, BC - V1L 2V1

Phone: (250) 352-3111

(Roughly 90 minutes with the ferry.)

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

1200 Hospital Bench - Trail, BC - V1R 4M1

Phone: (250) 368-3311

Toll Free: (866) 368-3314

Patient Care Quality Office: (877) 442-2001

(Roughly 2hr 15min from Crawford Bay)


West Kootenay Regional Airport

Hall Road, just off of Highway 3A

Castlegar, BC - V1N 4M5

(250) 365-5151

(The airport is about an hour 45 min from Crawford Bay.)


Trail Regional Airport

Airport Operations

9019 BC-22A - Trail, BC - V1R 4W6

Phone: (250) 367-0029

(Roughly 2hr 15min from Crawford Bay)

Flights and Reservations

Pacific Coastal Airlines

4980 Cowley Crescent - Richmond, BC - V7B 1C1

Phone: (800) 663-2872

Approximate driving distance from Crawford Bay to...

Creston, BC - 76km / 47mi

Nelson, BC - 47km / 29mi (Plus 40 min ferry ride)

Castlegar, BC - 90km / 56mi (Plus 40 min ferry ride)

Kaslo, BC - 49km / 31mi (Plus 40 min ferry ride)

Kelowna, BC - 392km / 244mi (Plus 40 min ferry ride)

Vanvouver, BC - 703km / 437mi (Plus 40 min ferry ride)

Cranbrook, BC - 181km / 112mi

Calgary, AB - 573km / 356mi

Seattle, WA - 818km / 509mi

Spokane, WA - 297km / 184mi

Sandpoint, ID - 181km / 112mi

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