The town of Rossland, British Columbia is called the gateway to the Kootenays. Rossland is a small Canadian town of less than 4,000 permanent residents. Although most tourists flock to Rossland in the winter for skiing and snowboarding, there are other activities year round. Summer is a great time to visit this area if you live somewhere that you want to escape the summer heat as the temperature stays mostly in the 60s (fahrenheit) or around 17 Celsius.
The Kootenays (or Kootenay Rockies) is the area west of Banff National Park, but to the east of the Okanagan Valley. Rossland is one of the first towns you will come to in the Kootenays if you are coming from the west coast of Canada. The Kootenays extend from Rossland to the east past Fernie, and all the way north to Kinbasket Lake. This region is considered some of Canada’s most impressive mountain scenery, and the drives in this region in the summertime are breathtaking. And if you want to get really specific on where Rossland is located, it is in the West Kootenay area in the Monashee Mountains, sitting at an elevation of 3,356 feet.
WHAT TO DO
Wondering what to do with kids in Rossland? Everything I did in Rossland was with my children, so recommendations below are also kid-friendly.
Nancy Green Lake – A great stop if you are driving in from Kelowna. About 20 minutes outside of Rossland. Just a nice lake. There is a guy there who rents paddle boards out of his van.
Kootenay Columbia Viewpoint – Only about 5 minutes drive from the main street in Rossland. A short moderate trail with a good lookout to see the Kootenays.
There’s also Thin Air Disc Golf near The Josie Hotel, that is touted to be the best 18 hole disc golf course in the Kootenays.
Red Mountain Resort – In the winter it claims to have the best powder for skiing without having to go heliskiing. In the summer, it is a stunning place for hiking up the wildflower covered mountain.
The Rossland Museum and Discovery Center was good fun. My kids enjoyed the tour – playing inside an old train car, mining for silver, dressing up inside the museum, etc. I highly recommend this if you are traveling with children. If you are not traveling with children, I still recommend it as it was a highly informative tour about the area.
Madhu Wellness Collective is a place you can grab a yoga class.
For children ages 10 and up, there’s Owl Mountain Ranch for horseback riding. But we didn’t get a chance to do this because it was raining and also an hour drive away. The location is smack dab on the US border, south of Christina Lake, near Kettle River.
And of course, I have to talk about biking. Rossland is called the Mountain Biking Capital of Canada and claims to be one of North America’s top mountain biking destinations. The entire town is surrounded by well maintained extensive trail networks.
For adults there are a plethora of mountain biking trails. However, if you have kids, Rossland is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bike. I could not find anywhere in town or nearby to rent children’s bikes, so if you plan to bike in Rossland with children, you need to bring their bikes.
As far as where to bike, I hear that the legendary Seven Summits is epic and avid bikers should also check out Red Mountain, Whiskey Trails, Dewdney and Deer Park Hill. If you can score a bike, Rossland offers cross country trails, freeride, downhill trails and of course, just biking around downtown Rossland. (If your vacation focus is on mountain biking for kids, I recommend Whistler, BC.)
In the winter, Rossland has one of the world’s largest skiing operations with Big Red Cats and also Red Mountain Resort with Grey Mountain. Red Mountain has 3,850 acres of skiing, making it in the top 10 largest in North America. And Big Red Cats has 19,300 acres of powder on 8 mountains. The three resort areas combined comprise the biggest ski resort area in western Canada. Rossland is also part of the Powder Highway, which is a circular path to 8 ski resort towns in the area, along with numerous heli-ski and cat-ski outfits. Consistently reliable deep powder make this region of Canada a top destination for winter sports to experience what they call ‘powder in paradise’.
Nelson is only an hour drive northeast of Rossland. You can plan a vacation to both cities, or do a day trip to Nelson, BC. Read about Nelson for more ideas for things to do in this area of the Kootenays.
GREAT STAYS IN THE KOOTENAYS
Where to stay in Rossland? I highly recommend the gorgeous new Josie hotel if you are in Rossland. The Josie is the best hotel in Rossland. The service is spectacular, everyone was very happy and friendly. The rooms were perfect in modern ski lodge decor and the food at the restaurant was excellent. They also have a spa and fitness center. And the best part about the Josie Hotel is that it is right at the base of Red Mountain, so you have easy access for hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter.
If you want to be right in the heart of downtown to walk to everything, Prestige Mountain Resort is also a good choice. They have decent food and great views out the back of the mountains.
WHERE TO EAT
Although there are more restaurants in the area, below are the best restaurants in Rossland.
The Velvet Restaurant & Lounge – Serves craft food in a stunning setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is by far the best restaurant in Rossland.
Alpine Grind Coffehouse – Great stop for breakfast, tea or coffee
Seven Summit Coffee Company – A great place to take in a pretty view while you grab a cup of coffee or bag of beans. I don’t think they have any food, it’s mostly just a coffee and tea shop.
Fuel Gastropub – Right on the main street. Looks like an old gas station converted into a restaurant. Great for lunch.
The Flying Steamshovel Gastropub – A local favorite for lunch, dinner or just grabbing drinks.
Mountain Nugget Chocolate – A yummy chocolaterie to grab dessert on the main street in Rossland.
*Opinions are all my own. I am not being compensated by businesses, hotels or services to promote them. No affiliate links. Just sharing my travels of the world with the world.
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If you feel like I missed something amazing in Rossland that travelers need to know about, please add it the comments below and I will check it out next time I am in the Kootenays. Thanks so much for reading!