Write-up by Ali Becker.
Use the Slocan Valley Grown Map to set out on a Slow Food Cycle. Follow this itinerary and enjoy rail trails, wandering through farmers markets and stopping by farm stands, grabbing locally roasted coffee beans from the quaint cafes, and bedding down at some of the amazing accommodations in the area – from camping and glamping to cozy, indoor accommodations and luxury stays.
The Slocan Valley Grown Map provides a handheld guide to find all the farms and farm stands, food producers, farmers markets and grocers in the area. The paper map comes in handy since outside Slocan, Silverton and New Denver there is no cell service and limited access to wifi.
Download the map to your device or pick up a paper copy at one of the local businesses or visitor centres. Find out more about what it means to live (and eat!) in Arrow Slocan…..
Slow Food Cycle – Itinerary
Itinerary runs Friday to Sunday.
The Slocan Valley Slow Food Cycle starts at the north end of Slocan Lake in the historic town of New Denver at the Friday Farmer’s Market that takes place from 9:30 am to 2 pm every week from late June until early September. It’s here that food, fibre and flower farmers come together with local artisans, community groups and food producers to line the lush green grass in the heart of the downtown to share their wares. The town comes alive with the cafes, restaurants, art galleries, food trucks, clothing stores and gift shops welcoming the increase in foot traffic.
After filling your panniers with produce, pastries and one-of-a-kind works of art, it’s worthwhile to stop by the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre to stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens that pay homage to the 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly relocated during WWII.
From here, it’s a short, smooth cycle less than 5 kilometres down the highway to sunny Silverton where the Camp Cafe serves up homemade snacks, coffee and more handmade goods from talented local artisans.
Between Silverton and Slocan stands a classic mountain climb that slowly but surely gathers 300 meters of elevation from the shores of Slocan Lake up to a stunning roadside viewpoint that overlooks the wide waters of the lake and the jagged peaks of Valhalla Provincial Park.
After soaking in the summit view, the road winds beside rocky bluffs and steep cliffs, continuing to offer spectacular scenery. Following a couple of exciting hairpin turns and some fun descending, you’ll find yourself rolling past silvery Slocan City, home of the Saturday Slocan Market.
On your way into town, you’ll roll right by the Springer Creek RV Park & Campground that plays host to the rambling Springer Creek, which cascades through the grounds creating mini waterfalls, heavenly mists and calming nature noises. Tall stands of hemlock create private camp spots that have picnic tables and fire pits and are within close proximity to hot showers, flush toilets, pit houses, bear proof garbage bins and forested trails to the creek. This is a great place to spend Friday night in Slocan.
If you’re looking to stay in the lap of luxury, continue onward into town and set yourself up at the newly renovated Slocan City Hotel. The rooms are all unique, boasting antique stained glass windows, handmade brass bathtubs and loads of historic charm. You’ll find a lounge and restaurant in the main level of the hotel.
The Grizz Food Truck near the Valley Gas Station is also a great place to indulge in some serious cycling calories. The house smoked brisket melts in your mouth and the fried chicken is world class.
Come Saturday morning, you’re walking distance to a delicious breakfast and tasty coffee at Flaca’s Bakery before roaming over to the Saturday Slocan Artisan and Farmers Market. Get there when the market opens at 10 am to ensure yourself one of Mike’s famous Luv Afair pastries.
The Slocan Market is an eclectic gathering place for friendly, talented and enthusiastic local farmers, food producers, jewellers, painters, weavers, poets, musicians, wild-crafters and everything in between. Every vendor is more than willing to share their passion and their process. The Market runs from 10 am to 2 pm every week from early June to late September. It features live, local music and a concession stand that serves up hot coffee and cold drinks. There’s even a gazebo where kids can make their own DIY crafts.
Once you’ve peeled yourself away from the Market, roll to the end of Harold Street to check out the beach, go for a swim and take in the views from the new pier.
You’re now a stones throw to the Slocan Valley Rail Trail’s (SVRT) northern most trailhead that will carry you from Slocan City southward down the entire valley on a fun, flowy double track trail that follows the serene Slocan River. The SVRT connects every community in the valley and is speckled with farm stands, food producers, cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, outhouses, picnic tables, strategically placed scenic benches and campgrounds either directly on, or within, a short riding distance of the trail.
At the crossing of Perrys Back Road, you can choose to continue on the rail trail or veer right onto this quiet, paved backroad full of rolling hills on the other side of the river. There are farm stands along this route, too.
On Saturday, when you reach Winlaw via the rail trail or via Perrys Back Road, you’ll be right next to the Karibu Park Cottages and Campgrounds. Turn at the sign along the rail trail and a short ride up the pathway will pop you up at the grounds.
Here you’ll find a beautiful gazebo, five adorable cottages, sauna and a well-maintained campground with private sites, hot showers, picnic tables, bathrooms and wifi. Karibu Park is a great place to pitch up your tent for the night or treat yourself to some time inside.
Owners Brian and Chris are welcoming, informative and accommodating. They have travelled the world and brought back some great adventure stories to share. They also maintain a great swimming spot at the turn off on the trail, providing easy access to the river on a hot summer’s day and a refreshing place to dive off the wooden platform into the crisp waters below.
Mark Sunday morning on your calendar as the best time to be in Winlaw since it’s the day the Valley Kitchen Community Cafe is open and serving locally roasted, artisan coffee and delicious, fresh baked pastries, breads and savory snacks all made in house.
The Valley Kitchen is a dynamic food centre that plays hosts to an array of community events, features a weekly pop-up food take out, is a space for local food producers to create their wares, and serves as a hub for the community on Sunday’s cafe day.
Be sure to try out their Spinach and Feta Pockets, Sally’s Sourdough, any of Brandy’s baking and of course, those tasty Luv Afair Pastries that you’ve been thinking about since you left the Saturday market in Slcoan.
From The Valley Kitchen continue southbound on the highway to check out Gaia Tree Whole Foods or Mama Sita’s Cafe before turning right onto Winlaw Bridge Road to reconnect with the rail trail, or taking the next stretch of backroad to Passmore.
Once you reach Crescent Valley, pop by the Frog Peak Cafe or Evergreen Market Foods to load up on lunch, brunch, snacks and local fare to get you through for the last 5 paved kilometres of your journey on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail.
The end of the line is a great place to reconnect with your parked car, double back to the junction to catch the bus, or pedal the Blewett Road to take the quiet wind and grind back route to Nelson.
Make your way to the start of the Slow Food Cycle in New Denver by bus (check out the BC Transit website for more info and schedules) or catch a ride with a new friend you made through KootenayRideshare.com, arrange to be dropped off and leave your car at the South Slocan Trailhead of the Slocan Valley Rail Trail.
Cycle New Denver – Silverton on Highway 6 – (5 km)
From town, it’s a smooth, short cycle down the highway to Silverton.
Cycle Silverton – Slocan on Highway 6 – (28 km)
Between Silverton and Slocan stands a classic mountain climb that slowly but surely gains 300 meters of elevation from the shores of Slocan Lake to a roadside viewpoint at the summit. From here the road descends to Slocan City.
Cycle to Winlaw on Slocan Valley Rail Trail (21km)
- The Slocan Valley Rail Trail (SVRT) is a 50 km, double track trail shared by walkers, horseback riders and cyclists that follows the Slocan River from Slocan City to South Slocan at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 3A.
- There are beautifully situated benches along the trail to stop and soak in the scenery with a few places to easily access the water for a swim. Picnic tables and outhouses placed along the way.
- Refer to the Slocan Valley Grown map to see which farm stands along the way you want to visit, we highly recommend Ravine Creek Farm.
Cycle Slocan to Perry’s Back Road on Slocan Valley Rail Trail (13 km) and then take Perry’s Back Road to Winlaw (9 km)
- Perry’s Back Road is a quiet, scenic and paved backroad that follows the Slocan River on the west side of the water.
- Refer to the Slocan Valley Grown map to see which farm stands to visit along the way.
Cycle Winlaw to Crescent Valley on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail (25 km)
- Refer again to the Slocan Valley Grown map to see which farm stands to visit along the way, we recommend Crooked Horn Farm and Confluence Farm who both have farm stands.
Cycle Winlaw to Passmore on Slocan River Road (14 km) then reconnect with the SVRT at Passmore to Crescent Valley (14km)
- Slocan River Road offers a fun and flowy paved road ride, it’s quiet, scenic and has rolling hills
- Refer to the Slocan Valley Grown map to see which farm stands to visit along the way, we recommend Hummingbird Farm which has flowers, handmade soaps and tasty, organic berries.
Cycle Crescent Valley to South Slocan Trailhead on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail (5km)
- The final 5 kilometres of the SVRT end just as they started, with a smooth, flat pavement stretch.
- Here you’ll find bathrooms, picnic tables, a parking lot and The Dam Restaurant and Bar serving up tasty pub food and local craft beer from 3 pm – 9 pm (Sundays till 8 pm) every day of the week.
Amenities by Location:
The New Denver Farmer/Artisan Market – (June – September)
Mingle with the farmers, artisans, community members and tourists who bring this historic town to life at the Friday Farmers Market.
Here you’ll find:
- Locally grown/foraged food (produce, herbs, eggs, starts, etc.) and flowers
- Locally made food (sweet and savory pasties, salads, chocolates, vegan sushi, handcrafted creamsicles, etc.)
- Local artisans (jewellers, painters, sculptors, knitters, etc.
Four charming, eco-friendly, self contained cottages sleep between three and six guests each. Conveniently located on the edge of downtown New Denver near Slocan Lake.
The lodge features nine luxury guest rooms with private bathrooms and deck. Guests can enjoy the indoor swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the Valhalla Mountains beyond.
Serves up homemade snacks, coffee and more handmade goods from talented local artisans everyday from 9 am to 4 pm (Sundays until 3 pm)
Spacious, private campsites next to Springer Creek that includes hot showers, flush toilets, outhouses, fire pits & firewood, wash stations, garbage bins. Walking distance to downtown.
Newly built upscale hotel with unique rooms, antique furniture, restaurant and lounge in the heart of downtown, right near the beach.
Spacious 2 bedroom suite including full kitchen, accessible front entry with covered deck. Each bedroom has one double bed and two twin beds. Each room is a perfect size for a small family. Fenced in private backyard is a great place to enjoy a bbq.
Open 12 pm to 7pm offering delicious slow-cooked brisket, hand-breaded fried chicken, burgers, poutine, fries, etc. Located at Mountain Valley Station.
Open 9 am to 8 pm this grocery store has local, organic produce, local eggs, local meat, nuts and seeds, dried goods, frozen foods, sundry beer, wine and liquor.
The Harold Street Cafe
Open 9 am to 7 pm serving up burgers, fries, milkshakes, sandwiches, pizza and traditional breakfasts.
Open 8 am to 4 pm serving coffee and tea, locally made baked goods with a tasty breakfast and lunch menu.
Runs 9 am to 2 pm from June to September. Find locally grown/foraged food (produce, herbs, eggs, garden starts, tinctures, etc.) and flowers, locally made food (sweet and savory pastries, salads, etc.), local artisans (jewellers, painters, poets, fibre spinners, etc.), live, local music, concession stand with coffee and tea.
Features five small, cute cottages with fully equipped kitchens, comfy beds, shower and bath, front porch seating. Walking distance to town, right off the rail trail.
Perfect for a group, this 3.5 bedroom and 2 bathroom lodge accommodates eight comfortably. There is a beautiful garden and camping space perfect for a gathering.
Open 8 am to 8 pm offering a variety of food options. Fully licensed.
Open 9 am to 6 pm. Offers local, organic produce, eggs, dairy and meat, bulk food, frozen foods, canned foods, cold drinks and snacks.
Winlaw Mini Mart & Gas Station
Open 7 am to 8 pm. Offers locally produced, frozen foods, produce and groceries, cold drinks and snacks, beer, wine and liquor, gas.
Open 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays only. Offers delicious, locally made pastries, sweet and savoury snacks, cakes, pies, etc. Serves locally roasted coffee and whole beans.
Open 8 am to 3 pm and right on the rail trail. Offers tasty coffee, in-house made muffins, energy balls and pastries, locally made snacks, cold drinks. Great breakfast and lunch menu. Outdoor patio seating.
Open 9 am to 5:30/ 6 pm. Offers local, organic produce, local eggs, meat and dairy, groceries, frozen food, bulk and sundry. Serves drip coffee.