British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
While traveling Highway 31 north of Nelson into the heart of the Purcell Mountains, take a moment to cross to the east side of Kootenay Lake and visit the small and tranquil community of Argenta. The site is named for the silver mining company of the same name (argentums is Latin for silver). The Argenta was also the name given to a steam-powered vessel that traveled up Duncan River to Duncan Lake. The foreshore on the lake in Argenta features a lovely sandy beach.
Residents of Argenta pride themselves on a peaceful, alternative way of life, living close to nature. Organic small-scale farming is prevalent amongst the homesteaders. There is also small-scale logging and a community water-power co-op and post office. Commercial activity in Argenta is almost non-existent. Argenta became a base for American Quakers in the early 1950’s. Quakers still make up the majority of the small population.
The Earl Grey Pass Trail starts in Argenta and winds for 62 kilometers into the Purcell Wilderness Conservatory (the only park in British Columbia classified as a wilderness conservancy and therefore completely free of any mechanized activity, including helicopters). It includes several cable car crossings, has rustic campsites and is open to foot or horseback travel. After crossing the 2270 m pass, beneath peaks well in excess of 3000 meters, the trail eventually joins Jumbo Creek, 32 kilometers west of Invermere. This is the route famously traveled by former Governor General of Canada, Lord Earl Grey.
Water access camping on Kootenay Lake is an excellent option for people wanting to explore this out-of the way region of the Kootenays. There is excellent campsite at Glacier Creek Regional Park north of Argenta.
The Quaker founded Argenta Friends School, now closed, is still maintained, and access can be provided through prior contact with the school. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
To get to Argenta, travel Highway 31 north along Kootenay Lake to just south of the small community of Cooper Creek. Go east across the Duncan River on the gravel road towards Duncan Dam for 1.4 km to the turn-off for Argenta. Travel south for 5 km on the curvy Argenta Road.
Argenta Things to Do