Explore Nelson, Kaslo and the Slocan Valley BC

Nordic Getaway

By Vince Hempsall

Nelson & Kaslo BC

Nordic Skiing in Nelson BC

Start your day at the iconic Oso Negro Café in Nelson where you’ll be served coffee roasted a few blocks away and breakfast buns featuring the delicious Antoinette’s sauce that is also made locally. Options are to drive north on Hwy 3A/ 31A for 70 kilometres to explore the Kaslo Trails or from Nelson drive south on Hwy 6 for 10 kilometres to the Nelson Nordic Ski trails.  

Heading south of Nelson, the first parking area on the west side of the highway is for the easier Apex trails, which wind their way around frozen wetlands and through stands of conifer. There is a shelter at the start of the trails with tables and a wood stove. Just past the Apex parking lot is a second lot on the east side of the highway where skiers park to access the Busk area with trails that are more suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers. The most challenging of them is Clearwater, which involves an initial steep climb and then winds its way through the forest and over Qua Creek for 15 kilometres to its apex. Return the way you came and stop in at the Clearwater warming A-frame before descending back to the parking lot. 

Slocan Valley Rail Trail

After a morning at the Nelson Nordic Trails, follow Hwy 6 back north and then turn east on Hwy 3A and drive the 30 kilometres to the traffic lights at the Slocan Junction. Turn North onto Hwy 6 and after five minutes you’ll reach the Frog Peak Café, a perfect place to stop for lunch. This funky, fun eatery is open until 3pm everyday and specializes in all-day eggs Benedict and delicious paninis. While you wait for your order, explore the eclectic artwork and have your photo taken with the Sasquatch.  

The Café is located on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail so once you step out the door you can immediately work off your hearty meal along the shores of the Slocan River.

Valhalla Hills

Alternatively, you can get back in your car and travel the 100 kilometres north, admiring the stunning mountainous scenery of Valhalla Provincial Park, until you reach Valhalla Hills between the community of Hills and the Summit Lake downhill ski area and about 25 kilometres south of Nakusp. There are six main ski and snowshoeing areas between Sandon and Nakusp but Valhalla Hills offers the most groomed terrain and is ideal for both skate and classic skiing. More experienced skiers can enjoy the challenging climbs and descents of the appropriately named “Roller Coaster” loop while novices can do the gentler “Chickadee” and “Polar Express” trails. 

Once your ski day is done, grab a slice of pizza at Arrow and Anchor in Nakusp and drive the 14 kilometres to the community-owned Nakusp Hot Springs for a soak. Alternatively, treat yourself to a more decadent experience by continuing up Hwy 6 for 35 kilometres to spend the night at Halcyon Hot Springs and Resort where you’ll find multiple soaking pools and the renowned Kingfisher Restaurant, which offers delicious meals (we recommend the braised rabbit lasagne), an extensive wine menu and one of the best views in the region.