Nakusp is located on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake in the Kootenay Rockies region. It is best known for its amazing hot springs that attract thousand of visitors each year. The natural hot springs which are open year-round provide relaxing opportunities to chase away the daily stresses. Fly-fishing and trolling are popular and kayaking on Arrow Lake, golfing and hiking on nearby trails, plus horseback riding, offer the outdoor enthusiast lots to see and do. And in the winter the snow provides ample opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more.
Nakusp is at the junction of Hwys 6 and 23 in the Arrow Lakes & Slocan Valley of the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, 99 km (61 mi) south of Revelstoke, 146 km (90 mi) north of Castlegar, 507 km (315 mi) west of Calgary, 755 km (470 mi) east of Vancouver. Other communities in the area to explore include: Burton, New Denver, Winlaw and Slocan.
When the glaciers of the last ice age receded from the Arrow Lakes, the Sinixt (Arrow Lakes People) were the first to inhabit this valley. They have a 10,000 year history of occupation that is verified by archaeological and historical records. For various reasons, in the last two centuries they have all but vanished from the landscape but are fighting back from the edge of extinction to once again become an integral part of their homeland.
In August 1811, Finian McDonald came up the Arrow Lakes stopping just above Revelstoke. He was the first white man on the Arrow Lakes. The first steamers to the area arrived during the 1865 Big Bend Gold Rush, and the first settlers arrived in 1890.
Nakusp’s settlement history began in 1892, when it became part of the fur trade route, as well as the jump-off point for some of the early silver, lead, and zinc mining in the Slocan Valley.
In 1882 the Nakusp Townsite was put up for sale by the Rand brothers. Twenty-five feet lots sold for as much as $30 each. The demand was fueled by the speculation that Nakusp would become a mining town if the Slocan Valley mining boom continued.
Since there were no roads or railways between the Kootenay mining areas and Vancouver, goods had to be shipped via waterways from Nakusp, up the Arrow Lakes to Revelstoke, where the main CPR line was located. For a time Nakusp became a thriving community on this shipping route.
In 1905 Nakusp had a population of 300 residents. This number steadily grew until the 1960s, when BC Hydro began studying the possibility of damming the Arrow Lakes. The Lakes were dammed in 1969, thereby raising the level of the Lake.
The Village of Nakusp was incorporated on November 24th, 1964 with Joseph Parent as its first mayor. The area around the airport was annexed in 1979 and the Brouse/Glenbank areas were annexed in 1994.