Balfour sits on the west bank of beautiful Kootenay Lake with the Selkirk mountain range as its backdrop. Back in 1889 it was staked as a townsite by Charles Busk, an Englishman who envisioned Balfour becoming a centre for farming. It never did become an agricultural community but instead has survived through the years primarily as a popular resort for fishermen. Today, the area has a population of 1200 and more than 60 businesses operate from within the community.
Balfour is located on Highway 3A, 35 km (22 mi) northeast of Nelson, and is the western terminal of the Kootenay Lake ferry, connecting with Kootenay Bay across the lake.
Buchanan Lookout with an elevation of 6,263 feet (1,909 metres) has spectacular views, lovely flowers in season, and a 2 km (1.3 mi) loop trail below the lookout that provides access to viewpoints on the rock bluffs. Buchanan Lookout was the first fire lookout constructed in British Columbia (1920) and the sixth to be registered in Canada. Interpretive displays on fire lookouts are also located in the present tower, a 14' x 14' cab built in 1965.
Balfour Golf Course is a prestigious, 18-hole, Les Furber-designed facility complete with a driving range, putting green, a full fleet of rental carts, and a new clubhouse. Players will find the front nine carved neatly through a forested region with sand and water hazards strategically placed; while the back nine uses the mountains to provide elevation from tee to green and a breathtaking view across Kootenay Lake to the Purcell Mountains.
Located on the grounds of the Kootenay Lakeview Lodge is Eagleview Golf Centre. Eagleview boasts a unique and challenging 9-hole Par 3 course as well as an undulating real grass 18-hole putting course. This is golf for the fun at heart with everyone able to play together and have a great day. Reasonable rates, onsite rentals, and no reservations required.
Take a free 40-minute ferry ride across Kootenay Lake, the largest inland lake in BC. It's 156 km (97 mi) long and ranges from 2 km (1.24 mi) to 6 km (3.72 mi) wide, and the water is some of the cleanest and clearest on the planet.
Imagine cruising in a boat, taking in all of the spectacular scenery that Kootenay Lake has to offer. From the beautiful sunrise and sunset, to the amazing snow-capped mountains, you can see it all. Just by spending one day on the lake you could enjoy these sights plus a whole lot more - soaring ospreys, bald eagles, great blue herons, Canada geese and many species of ducks on the wing on this pristine lake.
Both Ski Canada Magazine and Powder Magazine have raved about ski conditions at the Whitewater Ski Resort, known for its champagne powder, spectacular scenery, and laid-back ambience.
There's nothing better than cross-country skiing on the spectacular Balfour Golf Course. Near the Whitewater Ski Resort is the Apex-Busk area.
For the more adventurous, Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, located in Meadow Creek at the north end of Kootenay Lake, offers the exhilaration of backcountry skiing and virgin powder on every run.
Fishermen from all over the world come to Kootenay Lake for their chance at catching ‘the fish of a lifetime'. Gerrard rainbow trout have been caught weighing up to 35 lbs in Kootenay Lake. Also, great numbers of Dolly Varden (bull trout) live here. They have been weighed in at up to 29 lbs.
If you get a chance, go fishing during the winter. If you don't have the equipment or knowledge for winter fishing, there are a few guides/outfitters who can take you out.
The many parks near Balfour offer a variety of hiking trails with spectacular views. Watch out for bears near some trails.
Balfour and District Business & Historic Association