Usage changes over time. I encourage you to use discretion in locating and using the locations listed.
- West Kootenays.
- NAKUSP: Halcyon Hot Springs -- No nude use.
- NAKUSP: Halfway River Hot Springs.
- NAKUSP: St. Leon Hot Springs -- No public access.
- NAKUSP: Coyote Springs / Arrowhead Campsite & RV's -- Closed. <<< Updated. (2016-5)
- NELSON: Red Sands Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-7)
- NELSON: Red Sands Beach Recreation and Preservation Society -- Dead link.
- NELSON: Painted Rock Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-7)
- KOOTENAY LAKE: General.
- KOOTENAY LAKE: Crawford Bay.
- KOOTENAY LAKE: Gray Creek. <<< Added. (2010-5)
- KOOTENAY LAKE: Powerline Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- GRAND FORKS: North Fork.
NAKUSP: Halfway River Hot
"These sylvan hot springs are located on Crown land off Highway 23 in the West Kootenay, about one hour's drive north of Nakusp and about 10km along a disused logging road. You can get specific directions at the Nakusp Chamber of Commerce. Halfway River Hot Springs is one of my favourite skinny-dipping holes because of its remote, natural location on the banks of the river, with no nearby roads or buildings. There's a pristine little campsite here, too, very rarely used. There are two pools at Halfway River, the first totally manmade, and the second snugly adapted to the boulders. At the second, you can cool off in the tumbling river just beside you, or adjust the temperature of your pool by adding a bucket of cold water. I've been tempted to put a sign out at the furthest pool --- 'Warning: skinny-dipping in progress' --- but until I do, we take our suits along in case shyer soakers show up. Only one hazard --- lots of poison ivy!" [Cherie Thiessen, Beautiful B.C. Traveller magazine, Summer 1997.]
NAKUSP: St. Leon Hot Springs --
No public access. [Photo]
"There's another hot spring called St. Leon Hot Spring on the logging road just before the one to Halfway River. You drive only about 3km, find the small pullout on right side of road, take the trail on left side, and hike straight down about 200m. The trail is very steep and not very user friendly. There are two man-made pools both and close by you can set up your tent on a small area that can hold about 4 tents. It's very a remote and undeveloped springs. When you sit in the tub watching deer go by, the feeling is incredible." [C.R., Jun 99]
Update: "St. Leon Hot Spring has been recently sold. The new owner has closed access to the public. The Information Centre in Nakusp has been redirecting naturists to Halfway Hot Springs." [Teddy van Geemen, Jul 2007]
Comment: "We have visited St. Leon a couple of times annually for the last decade. The use is almost exclusively nude and the facilities, though primitive, have been fixed up over the last year or so. Use is fairly heavy, with up to 15 people at at time occasionally, though usually only 2-4 others. There always is room for a nice dip and pleasant conversation. Some camp in a fairly level spot near the springs though most a passersby. The photo shows the small upper 'bath' and below it the kidney-shaped main pool." [R.F., May 2002]
NAKUSP: Coyote Springs /
Arrowhead Campsite & RV's -- Closed.
"Coyote Springs is the newest / oldest private hot springs location in the Kootenays. Historical Halcyon Hotel relics still scattered on the property. The best view, fishing, hiking, and pooling. The future home of the Lighthouse Learning Centre, Infinite Wisdoms Integrated Bodyworker for those in need of a tad more healing. Cabins are coming soon. We offer a TP site, RV's and camping are limited, private thermal pool, firewood, & fresh waster. Walking distance of the public pool. Classes specialized Kinesiology are going on in the Kootenays / Calgary / Edmonton. Phone ahead to register. Park pass is required for facilities." [Nakusp & District Chamber of Commerce, Aug 2004]
"Coyote Springs has a lake for nude boating, sunning and swimming, as well as hot springs pools and log cabins. email: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Phone: (250) 265-2155 Please tell Margaret & Robert you read about them here." [Bill, August 2004]
Address: Located 33km North of Nakusp, 14 km South of Galena Bay, Hwy 23, Burnham Rd. Historical Halcyon, BC Box 430, Nakusp, BC V0G 1R0 Phone/Fax: (250) 265-2155. Email: email@example.com
Comment: "I went to the Coyote Springs Hotsprings this summer. It has potential, but the day I was there in August, I was the only person staying there. It would be perfect for a group to go.Very rustic. You have to bringe EVERYTHING. The owners don't seem to be trying very hard to make a go of it." [Lake Man, Oct 2006]
Update: "I had tried to book a camping spot at Coyote springs this summer, however, I was told that they are no longer open. All phone numbers listed go to other people's private residences, and the email address gets an "undeliverable" message. This was one of my favorite spots to go to, as it is so secluded and you could literally get away from EVERYTHING. So sad that it is no longer there." [J.G., Jun 2015]
NELSON: Red Sands Beach.
[Photo] (GPS: N49 31.015 W117 15.763)
"A very picturesque beach [on the south side of Kootenay Lake] with a firm golden red sand... The water is very clear and refreshing (cold!)." [Source: Going Natural, Fall 1997]
Directions: Red Sands Beach is located on the north-east edge of the Nelson city limits. Going east, follow Highway 3A through Nelson. After 3A turns left onto Nelson Ave., turn right at Kokanee Ave. (the 5th intersection) or any street before that. Go 2 blocks and turn left on 4th Street, following it to its end. Turn right onto Sproat Drive and continue on a dirt road all the way to the end, where parking is available. On foot, continue in the same direction along a dirt path, up hill and down dale until you reach the beach. Bicyclists can more easily reach 4th Street by going east along Lakeside Park paths and then 2nd Street, which changes into Gordon Road under the Nelson Bridge. Or they can follow the directions to Painted Rock Beach, stopping about 1km along Bealby Road. [Last info: Kevin, July 2010]
Comment: "People have gotten fines for going to Red Sands in previous years, but I haven't heard of any fines last year or so far this summer. While not as popular as it once was, people are starting to show up at Red Sands again." [S.A., Jul 2006]
Comment: "Red Sands beach was ok, but it was located close to a main road and I was later told by someone that if the police do happen to come by they will ticket those who are bathing nude. Painted Rock beach is much more secluded and nicer all around." [Anonymous, Nov 1998]
Comment: "'Red Sand' is actually more 'Red quartz pebbles' so bring a nice thick towel or blanket." [Kevin, July 2010]
Sands Beach Recreation and Preservation Society.
Known locally as a tranquil, nude-optional recreation destination, the future of Red Sands Beach has been brought into question by developments in the area. Organizers are currently seeking individuals to form a Society under the Society Act of British Columbia. Please check their website for more information.
Update: Dead link. [Oct 2009]
NELSON: Painted Rock
Beach. (approx. GPS: N49
31.8 W117 14.94)
At Painted Rock Beach, just past Red Sands Beach, you will find a coloured clay that is used for bodypainting.
Directions: Going East, follow Highway 3A through Nelson. After turning onto Nelson Ave. (3A) turn right at any street and then turn left at 3rd Street (the next street). Continue east and turn right onto Gordon St. Continue south (up the mountain) and turn left onto 8th St., which becomes Bealby Point Rd. Follow this road past Red Sands (at about 1km) and all the way to the end of the road. Walk along the side (Safety First!) of the CPR tracks for about 500m." [Source: Going Natural, Fall 1997]
Update: "There have been a few of us that have been stopped by the railway police when on the tracks so please be careful!" [Anonymous, Aug 2002]
Comment: "I find that this site is more of a hangout out and meeting place for gay men. I have rarely seen women or couples there." [Mike, Oct 2009]
According to the Kootenay Lake Visitor's Guide, "the many remote shores invite soaking up sunshine while relaxing to the sound of waves gently caressing the shore, or perhaps a little fishing for supper. Ask one of the locals about the area's clothing optional beaches. The clear, sparkling clean waters make for great swimming, snorkelling and diving. It's a boater's paradise with it's expansive and uncrowded reaches, and the many miles of uninhabited shore make for great kayaking and wilderness camping." [Sep 2006 - May 2010]
KOOTENAY LAKE: Crawford Bay.
"Right on Hwy 3A between Crawford Bay and Gray Creek (about 3-5 km south of Crawford Bay) I spotted on the beach just below the road, 20+ people enjoying themselves on a clothing-optional beach. It's just a small stretch of beach, mostly rocky but big rocks that get heated up by the sun all day and are great to sit on. You can dive into the water off the rocks. The water was incredibly warm and clear. The air was 30+ even at 8:30 pm. Came back through a couple of days later and the beach again was full. The area is being invaded by the rich super homes...hope it can survive. There are a lot of craft and arts people in the area plus some Yoga retreats, all of which makes the beach happen I'm sure." [G.C., Aug 2000]
KOOTENAY LAKE: Gray Creek. (GPS: N49 33.566 W116 47.698)
"This nude beach is a favourite of locals on the east side of Kootenay Lake, British Columbia. A bit rocky, this beach has a great south exposure which ensures warm afternoon sun in the summer. There is room for about 20 vehicles at the closest place to park on the highway so come early. " [W.W., Jul 2007]
KOOTENAY LAKE: Powerline
Beach. [Map] (GPS: N49 42.061 W116 52.102)
Powerline Beach, near Riondel, receives good reviews and apparently has a fair bit of use, but the water is cold. The beach is located about 2 km north of the ferry, directly under the powerlines. [Last info, July 2002]
Comment: "The beach is indeed very nice. It has been cleaned up and cement blocks have been place at the road. Which is good—no more four wheeling down. No signs of fires or camping as well. Also good. But... there is now a 'No Trespassing' sign. Not so good. And above the beach there are survey stakes... We might not enjoy this place for very much longer!" [B.F., Apr 2010]
|Directions: On the way to Riondel from Kootenay Bay ferry, take the road which goes to the Ashram. The trail is at the low point of the road before a gravel pit, right under the power lines.
GRAND FORKS: North
An article in BCAA's Westworld magazine on Grand Forks contained the following comments on swimming: "Along the river, try Barbara Anne Park or the City Park. The locals have other favourite holes, and I'm told the nude beach is just beyond the slag heaps up the North Fork." And also: "We're told there are some favourite swimming holes the locals enjoy. While the locations of these gems were not available for publication, if you ask nicely, we're sure a resident will be happy to provide directions." [Source: Vivien Bowers, Westworld magazine, Summer 2000]
Comment: "The slag piles are not up the North Fork Rd. They are up Granby Rd on the east end of town." [Matt, Jun 2004]