Christina Lake was named after Christina McDonald, daughter of the fur trader Angus McDonald, who ran the Hudson's Bay Company station at Fort Colville from 1852 to 1871. In 1865, the extension of the Dewdney Trail from Rock Creek to Wild Horse Creek provided early pioneers with the first route into the Christina Lake region that didn't require travelling through American territory. The area didn't really begin to grow until the late 1880s and early 1890s when prospectors and trappers arrived. In 1896, F.A. Heinze, owner of the Trail smelter, chartered the Columbia & Western Railway. In 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railway bought out the C&W and began construction in Castlegar. The C&W railway was completed as far as Grand Forks by September of 1899, and reached Midway the following year. By the turn of the century Christina Lake had multiple townsites, with a total of at least five hotels.
By the late 1890s Cascade City was a bustling community of approximately 1,000 residents, with its own newspaper, The Cascade Record. The Cascade Water Power & Light Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 1898, and started building its dam across the Kettle River. The powerhouse at Cascade would provide electric power to Grand Forks, Phoenix and Greenwood, as well as to various local mines and smelters. Today, the magnificent gorge can be seen from the bridge on Highway 395 or by following trails that lead to closer vantage points.
Christina Lake is in south-eastern British Columbia on Hwy 3, the Crowsnest Highway, 21 km (13 mi) east of Grand Forks, 73 km (45 mi) west of Castlegar, about halfway between Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta.
Located in nearby Castlegar, the Doukhobor Discovery Centre is a reconstruction of a typical Doukhobor village as lived in from 1908 to 1938 showing all the major buildings, tools handicrafts and implements used at that time. The Doukhobor Discovery Centre will introduce you to Doukhobor culture and their unique lifestyle as it evolved in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. Over 1,000 artifacts represent the pioneering, fascinating arts and crafts, customs and religion of the people.
A large, popular beach and picnic area located at the south end of Christina Lake. There are a myriad of water activities available here, including public swimming lessons in the summer. This is the most accessible beach within the area.
In nearby Rossland, the Rossland Historical Museum Association has developed this museum and its outdoor history park along with the Le Roi mine tour for your edification and enjoyment. It is the only attraction in Canada offering the unique experience of an underground tour of a historic hard-rock gold mine.
Red Mountain Ski Resort is a forty-five minute drive from Christina Lake along a well-maintained highway corridor. Two mountains make up the ski terrain, which is accessed by three triple chairs, one double chair, and a t-bar. With over 1,200 acres, and 2,900 vertical feet, there is a lot to explore. Red Mountain is also famous for its tree and glade skiing.
Whether you prefer fly fishing, trolling, casting, or ice fishing, Christina Lake has it all. March and April are the best months for the large Rainbow Trout. These range from 5-15 pounds and are best caught trolling a plug or a bucktail fly. Kokanee fishing is best in May and June. A well-kept secret is the excellent Bass fishing at Christina Lake, with both largemouth and smallmouth bass up to 10 pounds. Bass fishing runs from May until September. Watch for the annual Fishing Derby in late May.
Christina Lake has two golf courses: Christina Lake Golf and Country Club and Cascade Par 3. The Christina Lake Golf and Country Club, an 18-hole championship course, is rated one of the best in the interior of British Columbia. The course has been open since 1986, and offers 6,615 yards of exciting and challenging golf. It is situated along the picturesque Kettle River with beautiful scenery and quiet surroundings. Not far away is the Cascade Par 3 Golf Course. This 9-hole course is the only one of its kind in the Kootenay-Boundary area. The course is fun and challenging with water hazards, sand traps, and a putting green. Its beautiful and quiet setting makes a wonderful outing for the whole family.
Both courses are located only a couple of minutes from Christina Lake. When driving from Christina Lake, turn left at the junction of Highway 3 and Highway 395 (to the U.S.) and follow the signs.
There is an excellent network of trails for hiking and biking at Christina Lake, offering opportunities for every level of rider.
Christina Lake is home to one of the finest sections of the Trans-Canada Trail, the Kettle Valley Railbed. Much of the surface has been renewed between Christina lake and Grand Forks, making this riverside ride easy and thoroughly enjoyable for families and friends. The Cascade Gorge section is unrivaled anywhere on the KVR and must be seen to appreciate the majesty of the Falls.
There is a fine selection of singletrack trails ranging from the classic Deerpoint Trail in Gladstone Park to the Spooner Creek and Dewdney Trails - all excellent for intermediate riders. There are also trails that have built-up sections, steep drops, and challenging balance sections for expert free-riders.
Hiking can be scenic and leisurely in the new community park right by the lake, or rugged and challenging while ascending nearby Old Glory or Gladstone Mountain. There are easily accessed trails throughout the district, most which offer excellent day hikes and extended trips.
Saddle up and hit the trails at Christina Lake. Either bring your own equine companion to explore the diverse terrain or opt for a guided tour with the Owl Mountian Ranch. The experienced folks at the ranch offer 1 - 4 hour rides geared to your skill level. You can also choose from their day-long rides, overnight pack trips, or wilderness adventure trips.
There are none better than Christina Lake, with its clean, clear water. The north end of the lake offers boat access beaches, just perfect for a day's boating, water skiing, or wakeboarding. Boat and equipment rentals are available at the Christina Lake Marina.
There are two boat launches: one at the Texas Point area of the lake, and one at the marina. The warm water of Christina Lake enables boaters to enjoy water sports from spring into mid-autumn.
Bird watching at Christina Lake varies considerably over the year, with spring and summer being the most rewarding seasons. The best place is in the nature park at the southeast end of the lake. The many trails throughout the park allow you to quietly approach the birds in the woods and along the shore. You can also view birds on the trail along the east side of Christina Creek, which is accessible from Highway 3. During the spring and summer, you can expect to see as many as 73 species, with another 24 during the spring and fall migrations. There are also 29 additional species of casual non-breeding birds which can be sighted at any time.