In a recent article for the Explorer RV Club, writer Josephine Matyas describes the West Kootenay region as having “a superabundance of unspoiled beauty, scenic driving routes, excellent campgrounds, and more places to soak, fish, swim, hike and just relax than you could ever manage in one visit. If you love to explore off the beaten path and get close to nature while RVing, this is your place.” She then goes on to say, “Castlegar should be visited for both its museum dedicated to the Doukhobors and its fantastic hiking opportunities with birds-eye views over the twists and curves at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers.”

There are many reasons why Castlegar is an RV dream destination that’s perfect for those travelling by motorhome, campervan, converted Sprinter van or pulling a travel trailer, fifth-wheel, pop-up camper or truck camper. Because the city is located equidistant between the metropolitan cities of Vancouver and Calgary and only a three-hour drive from Spokane, Washington, it’s an excellent place to stop and take in the sites. In this article we touch on five other points about why Castlegar is a hidden gem for RV enthusiasts and why you should include the West Kootenay region in your next road trip.

Five Reasons Why Castlegar Is An RV Dream Destination

1. There Are Plenty of Scenic Campsites To Choose From

Castlegar boasts picturesque campgrounds surrounded by lush forests, breathtaking mountain vistas and lots of water. Whether you prefer riverside spots or mountain backdrops, you’ll find the perfect setting to park your RV and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. This is a short list of some of the best campgrounds around Castlegar to choose from and for more about where to camp around the city, read our article “Best Camping Spots in Castlegar.”

  • Syringa Provincial Park – A beautiful, lakeside campground boasting many hiking trails through the surrounding Ponderosa pine forests and lots of wildlife watching opportunities. It is open from late April to late September.
  • Kootenay River RV Park – Situated on the river’s edge a 10-minute drive from downtown Castlegar, this campground boasts a lot of sunlight and trees to help you relax. Or if you prefer things more exciting, you can cast for walleye and trout a few steps away from your campsite.
  • Nancy Green Provincial Park – Nestled beside a picturesque sub-alpine lake a short drive from Castlegar, this park offers fishing, hiking, swimming, and nordic skiing in the winter
  • Pass Creek Regional District Campground – This campground offers all forms of amenities including a sandy beach, playground, volleyball court, and large-scale barbecue facilities.
  • Castlegar Golf Club & RV Park – Camp beside a championship, 18-hole golf course situated above the Columbia River that offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Castlegar Cabins and RV Rentals – A 23-acre mountainside RV park dotted with mature trees and with all the amenities you desire.

2. The Outdoor Recreation Opportunities Are Out Of This World

Because of its location at the confluence of two major rivers and at the terminus of a huge lake system, Castlegar offers every type of water recreation from fishing and paddling to  boating and swimming. In addition, our little city in the valley is surrounded by mountains which offer many other activities from hiking and skiing to mountain biking and rock climbing. Here is a short list of all that you can do in the great outdoors around Castlegar. For more ideas, visit our “Out & About” page.

  • Biking – The Captain Kangaroo mountain bike trail in Castlegar was recently rated the best on the planet according to Trailforks. There are 75+ kilometres of maintained mountain biking around the city and lots of mellower rides, including the C&W, a converted rail trail that offers beautiful views of Arrow Lake and the surrounding mountains.
  • Hiking – Whether you prefer long strolls beside the river or high alpine treks, Castlegar has it all. There are a dozen well-maintained hikes in and around the city and tons of hiking opportunities in the surrounding mountains.
  • Paddling – From mellow floats on serene lakes to exciting whitewater, Castlegar is an amazing paddling destination where you can canoe, raft, SUP, kayak and float.
  • Climbing – One of the best-kept secrets when it comes to rock climbing in British Columbia, Castlegar enjoys one of the longest seasons in the province (March to November) and there are a dozen areas that are easy to access with over 300 routes ranging from easy trad to hard sport and fun multi-pitch.
  • Fishing – Castlegar is a world-class destination when it comes to freshwater fishing. Whether your preference is fly fishing in mountain streams, casting in rivers or angling for lake lunkers, there’s something for every angler. Plus the largest Kokanee salmon on Earth was caught here.
  • Skiing – Two of the most celebrated alpine ski resorts in Canada are located within a 30-minute drive of Castlegar plus there are a dozen commercial backcountry lodges and lots of backcountry skiing that can easily be accessed from the city. For flatter fare, the Castlegar Nordic Ski Club maintains 50+ trails at the Paulson Pass.
  • Snowmobiling – The Castlegar Snowmobile Association grooms 70+ kilometres of trails in the Pass Creek area and there are innumerable backcountry riding opportunities in the mountains surrounding the city.
  • Motorcycling and ATVing – From scenic road rides to exciting ATV excursions to fun dirt bike forays, Castlegar offers it all.
  • Golfing – Castlegar boasts three golf courses that offer some of the most stunning views ever enjoyed from a fairway and there are another dozen courses within a 45-minute drive of the city.

3. There Are So Many Cultural Attractions To Take In

Castlegar’s history dates back thousands of years to when the region was inhabited by the Lakes Salish First Nations people. In fact, where the Kootenay River meets the Columbia was an important trading place as well as a fishing spot. Fur traders arrived in the late 1700s and when gold was discovered a century later, the region started to see more development. In 1891 the first successful train journey occurred between Robson, near Castlegar, and Nelson and that same year Edward Mahon moved to the region from his home in Ireland and became a successful land baron. He eventually named Castlegar after his home town across the Atlantic. In the early 1900s, Castlegar became an important hub for farming as the Doukhobors, who had escaped persecution in Russia, bought up vast tracts of fertile soil. There are many sites throughout the city in which to learn more about our rich cultural heritage including the following:

  • CPR Station Museum – Housed in a century-old station in downtown Castlegar, the railway museum accurately portrays what it would have looked like during the railway boom in the early 1900s.
  • Doukhobor Discovery Centre – This is an amazing place to learn more about the culture that has so profoundly shaped what the city is today. You’ll find ten historic buildings on site and many displays that wonderfully recreate Doukhobor life in Castlegar in the early 20th Century.
  • Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park – Alexander Zuckerberg was a Russian-born artist, teacher and engineer who built a Chapel House in the style of Russian Orthodox country architecture on the island that came to bear his name.

4. There Are All The Amenities You Require, From Wifi to Sani-Dump Stations

All the RV campgrounds in Castlegar offer Wifi, except for the provincial parks. There are also multiple sani-dump stations in the city. Here is a list of the kinds of amenities you’ll find at each overnight spot.

  • Syringa Provincial Park – 9 RV sites / 85 total sites / No Wifi / $5 Sani-Dump / Pets on leash or in dog park / Showers / No laundry / All accessible / Near water
  • Kootenay River RV Park – 45 RV sites / Wifi / Sani-Dump for guests / Pets on leash / Showers / Laundry / All accessible / This is an adults-only campground
  • Nancy Green Provincial Park – 10 total sites / No Wifi / No Sani-Dump / Pets on leash / No showers / No laundry / No accessible washrooms but some paved paths / Near water
  • Pass Creek Regional District Campground – 28 RV sites / 40 total sites / Wifi / No Sani-Dump / Pets on leash / Showers / No laundry / All accessible / Near water
  • Castlegar Golf Club & RV Park – 20 RV sites / Wifi / No Sani-Dump / Pets on leash / Showers / No laundry / Not Near water
  • Castlegar Cabins and RV Rentals – 29 RV sites / 39 total sites / Wifi / Sani-Dump for guests / Pets on leash or in dog park / Showers / Laundry / All accessible / Not near water

5. Castlegar Is Your Gateway to Adventure

Because of it’s location in the heart of the West Kootenay, Castlegar is the perfect launching pad for exciting adventures around the region. Once you’ve visited our city and taken in all that it has to offer, it’s easy to visit other locales. For example, Castlegar is located in between Rossland and Nelson, equidistant from their two world-famous ski resorts. You can stay in our city and visit them both. Or you can use Castlegar as a base to explore the Slocan Valley or the Columbia Valley area just south of the US border or the many hot springs in the region. Wherever you roam, make sure Castlegar, British Columbia, is on your must-visit list because it is an idyllic destination for RV travellers seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, and community warmth.