Pilot Bay Provincial Park is located on Kootenay Lake approximately
84 km (52 miles) north of Creston.
To get here from Creston, travel north on Hwy 3A to the Kootenay
Bay Ferry Terminal, once you're at the terminal, take Pilot Bay
Road to the south and travel approximately 3.5 km (2 miles) to the
entrance to Pilot Bay Provincial Park. If you are coming from Nelson,
travel about 35 km (22 miles) north on Hwy 3A to the Inland Ferry
Terminal at Balfour. From here take the free Kootenay Lake Ferry
to Kootenay Bay, approximately a 35 minute trip. From here, just
after departing the ferry, take the first right, Pilot Bay Road,
and travel about 3.5 km (2 miles) to the entrance of the park.
Sections of the Park
When you arrive here, you'll notice that two sections of the park
are separated by Pilot Bay Road. On the west side of the road, you'll
find a 400 metre (.25 mile) long trail that takes you to the site
of the old historic Pilot Bay Lighthouse. On the east side, you'll
find another trail substantially longer that takes you eventually
to a "T" junction - one way to Sawmill Point, the other
way to Boomer's Landing.
The trail to Pilot Bay Lighthouse is open to the public all year
long and takes you from the parking lot to the historic lighthouse
in around 20 minutes. The lighthouse, which was built in 1904, operated
up until 1993. Here you can find a platform where there is a spectacular
view of Kootenay Lake towards Balfour and some pit-toilets.
The walking trail that takes you to Sawmill Point is a lot longer
at approximately 2 km (1.3 miles) long. Once at the "T"
junction, Boomer's Landing, where you can find a beach of rounded
stones and larger rocks offering a great view of Kootenay Lake,
is around another 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away.
Unfortunately there isn't a vehicle-accessible campground at Pilot
Bay Provincial Park, but there are a few walk-in/wilderness-style
campsites at Sawmill Point. There are no facilities provided here
and drinking water must be packed in but there are some pit-toilets
available. This campground and park area is user-maintained so you
must pack out what you pack in. Dogs and other animals must also
be on a leash.
Moorage on Kootenay Lake
For boaters, the moorage found at Pilot Bay is probably the best
and safest found on Kootenay Lake; this is especially true when
the odd sudden wind storm happens.
If you would like to hike into Pilot Bay or view the historic lighthouse,
but prefer to camp in an RV or vehicle-accessible campground, the
nearest ones are either at Crawford
Bay or Riondel.
Just remember if you are enjoying the provincial parks and the countryside
around British Columbia, please remember this is bear country. Try
to avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning times unless you
feel comfortable with bears around and take the usual precautions.
There is also the possibilities of encounters with wolves or cougars
so please play it safe.