The Best Canadian Mountain Towns: Nelson, British Columbia

I’d like to head up north for some outdoor fun. What are the best Canadian mountain towns for active, adventurous travelers?

Aug 2, 2012
Outside Magazine
Nelson British Columbia

Nelson via Shutterstock    Photo: Nelson Hanus


Take a walk past Nelson's Victorian homes and impeccable 19th-century storefronts, and you'll feel like you've stepped into a movie set. But this artsy former mining and lumber hamlet on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, about 30 miles north of the U.S. border, is 100-percent real. Shaded by Toad Mountain, Nelson is a haven for hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers and paddlers. You'll find the best vantage point for getting a look at the town and your outdoor opportunities the top of a short (about a mile and a quarter) but vigorous climb through the trees to Pulpit Rock. The trailhead is only a few minutes outside of Nelson proper.

STAY: Like many of Nelson’s buildings, the Hume Hotel looks plucked from the Gold Rush days of the 1800s (rates start at $110).

Filed To: Adventure Adviser

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