Salmo is a village of 1,100 people (2016) in the West Kootenays region of interior southeast British Columbia. Known as "the Hub of the Kootenays", the village is about 30 minutes from Trail, Castlegar, and Nelson.
Salmo is the eastern terminus of the Salmo-Creston highway, which is part of the Crowsnest Highway, constructed in the 1960s as a shortcut to avoid the long route north to Nelson and crossing Kootenay Lake by ferry between Balfour and Kootenay Bay.
Originally known as Salmon Siding (named for the original name of the Salmo River, i.e. the Salmon River), the village was founded as a small mining town near the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway during a gold rush in 1896. The name of the town was changed to Salmo to avoid confusion with other places with similar names. Before the dams on the Columbia River were built, the Salmo River was teeming with large salmon giving the river and the townsite its original name.
Salmo is at the junction of Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) and Highway 6, the main route through southern British Columbia.
Salmo is about a 30-minute drive from the communities of Castlegar, Nelson, and Trail. It is about 650 km (400 mi) east of Vancouver and 190 km (120 mi) west of Cranbrook. It is also just north of the USA/Canada border crossing at Nelway, BC, and Metaline Falls, Washington, and is about 200 km (120 mi) north of Spokane. A private vehicle is the most common and most convenient way to reach Salmo.
- Salmo Museum, at the corner of Fourth Street & Railway Avenue, ☏ . Jun-Oct: daily 10AM-4PM; Nov-May: M 1–3PM, Tu Th 10AM–noon and 1–3PM, F 10AM–noon. Maps, reference books, business records, miscellaneous documents and photographs related to the mining history of Ymir, Sheep Creek, Pend O’Reille, Erie and miscellaneous mines, community newspapers, manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, minute books and ephemera relating to businesses, people and community activities in Salmo and satellite communities.
- Stone Murals. Six flagstone murals depicting Salmo’s mining history. The “rock project” began in 1990 when quarry owner Iris Lamb was looking for a way to rejuvenate stone sales.
- World’s Largest Penny. It stands 8 ft (2.4 m) tall. It was dedicated on July 1, 1995, in honour of Penny Power, who started a campaign to collect hoarded pennies and donate them to the government of Canada to reduce the national debt. You can see this penny on Highway 6 North.
- World’s Oldest Phone Booth, 110 Motel Avenue. A long standing local attraction, the phone booth is made from a hollowed out cedar tree from the Trout Lake area. It was placed in 1977. Local residents and employees of the Ministry of Forests counted the rings and averaged the age of the tree to be 465 years old. The booth is located under covered shelter at the Sal-Crest Motel.
- 1 Salmo Ski Club, Salmo Ski Club Rd (At the end of Salmo Ski Club Rd, just south of Salmo on Hwy 3/6.), ☏ .
- Nelson-Salmo Great Northern Rail Trail. The trail covers approximately 48 km (30 mi) between Salmo and Nelson and is a part of the TransCanada Trail system. It is a multi-use recreation trail for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. The trail’s gravel surface improves north of Ymir, where motor vehicles are prohibited.
- 2 Shambhala, Salmo River Ranch. The largest electronic music festival in Canada, Shambhala swells Salmo's population from 1,200 to over 10,000 for four days during the first week of August. $450 general admission, includes tent camping.
- Stagleap Provincial Park (34 km west of Creston on Hwy #3). A 1,133-ha park at the summit of the highest all weather highway pass in BC and one of the highest paved highways in Canada. The park has a key role in protecting habitat for internationally endangered mountain caribou. A remnant herd of approximately 40 migrate back and forth across the international border and is heavily dependent on the park to facilitate this movement. The park provides important habitat for the vulnerable Southern Selkirk population of grizzly bear. This is one of the most accessible backcountry skiing destinations in the region and has consistently excellent snow conditions for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Hiking the high alpine areas, such as Ripple Ridge and Cornice Ridge, is also very popular in the summer months. Dogs are not permitted in from Nov to Apr. The Beargrass Trail is a short alpine walk above Bridal Lake, offering commanding views of the Southern Selkirk Mountains into the United States. Canoeing, cycling, fishing in Bridal Lake for rainbow trout, hiking. No camping.
- Shop-Easy, 303 Main St. Daily 8AM-8PM. Supermarket.
- Salmo Municipal Campground, KP Park (between Sayward and Riverside Avenue). KP Park had a children’s playground, baseball diamonds, a small BMX bike skills track, gazebo and picnic areas. Washroom and hot shower facilities. Open from mid May to early September. Occupancy is on a first-come, first-serve basis with a user fee of $15 per night per sleeping unit (e.g. tent, trailer, motor home, etc.) From Highway 6 (Railway Avenue), turn onto 2nd Street, travel for two blocks and you will see the campground and park on your right. The camp host will collect fees and be available to answer questions.
- Rocking River Campground, 7802 Highway 3, ☏ . 10 acre campground 8 km south of Salmo on the Salmo River. Spacious campsites. Pets welcome.
- Reno Motel, 123 Railway Avenue, ☏ . Parking in front of your room, outdoor seating, communal BBQ area & seating. Non-smoking rooms. Pets welcome. $89, with full kitchen $99.
- Sal-Crest Motel, 110 Motel Avenue, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms and units with kitchenettes or full kitchens. All rooms have a microwave, fridge and coffee maker. It is not affiliated with any booking site, for contact them by phone or email for availability, rates and to make a reservation.
|Routes through Salmo|
|Osoyoos ← Castlegar ←||W E||→ Creston → Cranbrook|
|Rossland ← Trail ←||W E||→ END|
|Vernon ← Nelson ←||N S||→ → becomes → ENDS at W E|