Castlegar: A Hidden Gem in British Columbia

Nestled in the heart of the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Castlegar is a small city that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. With its stunning mountain vistas, pristine lakes, and lush forests, Castlegar is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're looking for hiking trails, fishing spots, or skiing destinations, Castlegar has something for everyone. In this article, we'll explore some of the top attractions and natural wonders in Castlegar, as well as its rich history and cultural heritage.

Attractions and Natural Wonders

Syringa Provincial Park

Located just a few kilometers south of Castlegar, Syringa Provincial Park is a popular destination for camping, hiking, and boating. The park features over 200 campsites, as well as a boat launch, a sandy beach, and several hiking trails. Visitors can also enjoy fishing for rainbow trout, kokanee, and bass in the park's pristine lake.

Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park

Situated in the middle of the Columbia River, Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park is a unique attraction that offers a glimpse into Castlegar's rich history. The island was once home to a thriving sawmill and a bustling community of workers and their families. Today, visitors can explore the island's historic buildings, including a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, and a church.

Kootenay Gallery of Art, History, and Science

Located in downtown Castlegar, the Kootenay Gallery of Art, History, and Science is a must-visit destination for art lovers and history buffs. The gallery features a rotating collection of contemporary art, as well as exhibits on the history and culture of the West Kootenay region. Visitors can also attend workshops, lectures, and other events at the gallery.

Millennium Park

Situated on the banks of the Columbia River, Millennium Park is a popular spot for picnicking, swimming, and fishing. The park features a sandy beach, a playground, and several picnic areas. Visitors can also enjoy a leisurely stroll along the park's scenic riverfront trail.

Castlegar Sculpturewalk

Every year, Castlegar hosts an outdoor sculpture exhibition that showcases the work of local and international artists. The Castlegar Sculpturewalk features over 30 sculptures that are displayed throughout the city's downtown core. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the sculptures and vote for their favorite piece.

Red Mountain Resort

Located just a short drive from Castlegar, Red Mountain Resort is a world-class ski destination that offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in North America. The resort features over 4,200 acres of skiable terrain, as well as several terrain parks and a halfpipe. Visitors can also enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the surrounding area.

History of Castlegar

Castlegar was founded in the late 19th century as a small settlement on the banks of the Columbia River. The community grew rapidly in the early 20th century, thanks to the construction of a railway line that connected Castlegar to other towns and cities in the region. In 1946, Castlegar was officially incorporated as a city.

The person who is credited with starting the community of Castlegar is Edward Mahon. Mahon was a surveyor who arrived in the area in the late 19th century and recognized the potential for a settlement on the banks of the Columbia River. He named the community after Castlegar, a town in Ireland where he had previously lived.


Castlegar may be a small city, but it offers a wealth of attractions and natural wonders that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or just a relaxing getaway, Castlegar has something for everyone. So why not plan your next vacation in this hidden gem of British Columbia?


  • HelloBC: Castlegar:
  • Castlegar Sculpturewalk:
  • Kootenay Gallery of Art, History, and Science:
  • Red Mountain Resort:
  • Syringa Provincial Park:
  • Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park: