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Kootenay Lake: The longest, scenic free ferry ride in the world

There are plenty of parks and attractions on the 104-kilometre waterway
An osprey at Kootenay Lake ready to dive for his breakfast. (Tracy Mercer)

Kootenary Lake is a massive, long, narrow lake that has long, thin western arm that stretches all the way to Nelson, B.C.

The main waterbody is 104-kilometres long and travellers can take a 35-minute ferry crossing between the Kootenay Bay and Balfour in what is described as the longest scenic free ferry crossing in the world.

Kootenay Lake Provincial Park is a popular destination. It has these main areas: Campbell Bay, Coffee Creek and Davis Creek/Lost Ledge.

Other provincial parks on Kootenay lake include Midge Creek, a water-access only park, Drewry Point, Lockhart Beach and Pilot Bay. Sports fish species in the lake include rainbow trout, kokanee and dolly varden.

All provincial parks in B.C. were closed during the COVID-19 crisis. Be sure to check this website for current conditions when planning your future trip.


See hundreds of photos and articles at as you plan your next adventure.

The MV Osprey 2000 comes in for a landing on Kootenay Lake. Courtesy Nelson Visitor Centre