The Kootenay Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in BC. However, it is one of the least inhabited lakes in BC, likely because it is underdeveloped. It largely remains in its pure natural raw state. This characteristic is part of its charm for many people who live on the lake or visit the Kootenay Lake every summer.
Highway 3A follows much of the Kootenay Lake east shore starting just before Kuskanook and ending at the Kootenay Ferry Landing at Kootenay Bay. The road also continues north of Kootenay Bay, to the town of Riondel, and a bit beyond. With every twist and turn (there are many) of the double lane road you will notice spectacular views of the lake. The trick is how do you get to the water. Much of the road passes by cliffs, trees and private residences.
Presently, there is only one Provincial Park for vehicle camping on this side of the Kootenay Lake and a couple community parks. The camping Provincial Park is Lockhart Beach and Camp Ground.
There is a camping rec site located beyond Riondel called Garland Bay. There is also a beach campground at Riondel that is run by a non-profit society.
A lovely Provincial Marine Park is located at Pilot Point near the Kootenay Ferry Landing. You can also find a few business campgrounds that make the lake more accessible.
There is also crown land (public access) along the lake but it is difficult to differentiate what is crown land and what is private land from the roadside. Identifying crown land can be done by visiting http://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/mapping-gis.html .
Fortunately, there are public lake access points along the lake that are accessible to most people but not for people who are mobility challenged. Most of these sites have not been developed and are not easy to spot from the highway. They have rugged shoreline access trails, no bathrooms or garbage cans. Please make note of where the closest bathroom is to the beach you select. People who visit these sites are encouraged to also help take care of them by packing out garbage. Please plan to bring along a garbage bag just in case there is garbage when you arrive. Nature and fellow users will be happy you helped out.
Each site has its own unique and special qualities. Some are also good for fishing from the shoreline.
Please help us keep these sites clean, by packing out any garbage you bring or find!