Peak travel time in Castlegar is from May to October when the weather is pleasant and travellers can best appreciate the beauty of the natural environment. Castlegar Airport is serviced by small planes that connect with flights at the larger Vancouver and Calgary airports. The best deals on cheap flights to Vancouver and Calgary are from November to January when schools are in session and those cities experience unfavourable weather.
Nestled amid the lush temperate rainforests, rocky mountain rivers and pristine lakes of Canada’s Kootenay Mountain range in south British Columbia, Castlegar is a gateway city to scenic hotspots, backpacking adventures and snow sports in the rugged Canadian wilderness. Take a day trip to one of the region’s many hot spring resorts for a soak in geothermal, heated mineral waters. Ski lodges, canoeing adventures, hiking and glacier fields are all just a few hours away from this regional centre. The backpacking trails around the city cater to every skill level, starting with easy strolls to local viewpoints. For more adventurous visitors, there are many self-guided wilderness trails through the mountains, with areas for setting up camp and cooking food over fire pits.
But it’s not all rough outdoors. Castlegar boasts a renowned golf club on a plateau that overlooks a beautiful view of the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers. The Castlegar Museum features a preserved rail system from the days of gold rushes and homesteads, with exhibits showcasing life in the early 1900s. Experience local cultural influences by taking the city suspension bridge over to Zuckerberg Island, where you will find a Russian Orthodox Chapel, the Hiroshima War Memorial Garden and a reconstructed Lake Salish Pit house, historically the customary housing of native people. Just outside the city is the Doukhobor museum, a living history site with over 1,000 artefacts where visitors witness the unique culture and settlement of early Russian religious refugees.
Castlegar is a small city and visitors can get around easily by walking or riding a bicycle. Roads around the city are very steep and only the strongest cyclists should count on being able to get out of the city by bike. The surrounding region is expansive and renting a car at the airport is the best way to experience the natural beauty of the Canadian west. Take Highway 3 from the airport to connect with hot spring resorts, provincial parks and scenic vistas.
Castlegar Airport (YCG) is just across the river from the city centre. Taxis are usually waiting at the airport when planes land. There is a flat rate for pick-up and a cost per kilometre travelled. Your driver can give you a cost estimate and fees are generally reasonable. Local hotels offer shuttles from the airport as well. Public buses connect the airport to Castlegar and the nearby cities of Nelson and Trail. Cars can be rented at airport kiosks.