British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
Canal Flats is nestled in the heart of the Kootenays at the southern end of Columbia Lake, the source of the Columbia River. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep and deer can be found roaming the streets and there is a public beach, arena, golf course, walking trails and parks.
Canal Flats allows access to several backcountry provincial parks, including Whiteswan and Top of the World, and is an entrance to the Kootenay River Road.
The source of the fourth largest river system in North America starts here within the Village of Canal Flats. Bubbling out of the ground from deep springs, and filling Columbia Lake with its amazing jade blue green colour, the mighty Columbia River starts its journey to the Pacific Ocean, over 2500 km.
The Columbia Trail winds 1.5 km through the wetlands with ample opportunity to view waterfowl, eagles, hawks, song birds, wildflowers, and insects. Following the Trail to its conclusion and witness the water bubbling from the ground.
Since the early 1900’s the Columbia River has experienced many changes, diversions and tribulations. Dams have flooded valley bottoms, providing valued hydro electricity to Canada and United States. The River has also been extensively used for irrigation purposes and, sadly as a means to rid communities and industry of waste. The Columbia River that meets the Pacific is a much different river than the pristine waters we experience at the headwaters.
The area around Canal Flats has been occupied for thousands of years by members of the Ktunaxa Nation. More information on the Ktunaxa and their story of creation can be found at www.ktunaxa.org/who/creation.html
In 1807 David Thompson named the area McGillivray's Portage.
Please select from the Canal Flats travel directory below to find out more details.