Winlaw is a town with a truly unique beat.
Unincorporated in both size and sentiment, Winlaw is a small, funky community on the eastern bank of the winding Slocan River. Smack dab in the center of adventure, the tiny ‘downtown’ offers more than its fair share of fusion eateries, artisan boutiques and micro-shops with hiking, rafting, floating, rock climbing and camping opportunities all just steps away.
There are 400 creatives and homesteaders that call this special section of the Slocan Valley home. In the late 1890s, John Brown Winlaw took the Canadian Pacific Railway to the end of the line and set up the first lumber mill. The early 1900s brought the Russian Doukhobors to the region, followed swiftly by an economic boost through silver mines that dotted the area. Through the early 1970s, the region’s rural and rebellious nature drew draft-dodgers, artists and those looking for a quieter, liberated lifestyle.
Truly mid-valley, Winlaw is 49 km north-west of Nelson, 48.6 km north of Castlegar and 97 km south of Nakusp with the center of ‘town’ nestled on either side of Highway 6. Watch for the ‘Winlaw Unincorporated’ sign and drive slowly; there are surprises to catch your eye on either side of the road.
Valley View Golf Club is a stunning 9-hole course just north of Winlaw in Appledale. It is host to incredible views, a relaxed atmosphere, meticulous greens and well-manicured fairways. The adjacent Clubhouse restaurant offers a patio, WiFi, incredible pub style fare and live music nights. The Club also offers free RV parking to golfers.
Perfect for a leisurely, low impact walk or cycle, Winlaw straddles the Slocan Valley Rail Trail. This is a 50 km long non-motorized trail that follows the river’s bends and includes multiple lookouts, beaches and benches within close proximity of the community’s center.
Just minutes from the Winlaw trailhead is the Winlaw Nature Park that invites visitors to explore 22 acres of riverside parkland with restrooms, changerooms, a covered gazebo, picnic area, swimming beach, playground and winding elevated boardwalks.
An explorers paradise, Winlaw sits at the footbed of Little Slocan Lakes that offer majestic scenery, fishing and a range of opportunities to explore.
Dubbed “downtown Winlaw” by the locals, the quaint business center of the community is entirely walkable. Mama Sita’s Cafe offers affordable, locally inspired dining and is bordered by two small shopping areas. Closest is independent organic grocer Gaia Tree and the Winlaw Mini Mart offering gas, liquor and convenience foods. Just across the road is the Spicer Center with Rambling Rose’s Boutique and Spinning Fables. Both shops could rival boutiques in the hippest city. Don’t miss the ‘pop up cafe’ at the Valley Kitchen where the community gathers to sample home made treats and top notch coffee.
Winlaw boasts a range of character-rich accommodation options, like the self-contained Karibu Cabins and Valhalla Pines along the Slocan River, or the striking Paradise Valley Lodge. Serviced campsites like the Lemon Creek Pioneer Campground are also available.