Kootenay Lake Ferry

Location Directions

Kootenay Lake Ferry Information


The Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free scenic ferry ride in BC, crossing Kootenay Lake multiple times daily between Balfour Terminal on the west shore and Kootenay Bay Terminal on the east shore of the lake. The 45 minute long ferry ride is well worth the voyage, with stunning views of Kootenay Lake, the Purcell mountains to the East, the Selkirk Mountains to the west, and a glance at the famous Kokanee Glacer.

In the summer months the Kootenay Lake Ferry system runs two ferries facilitating less wait times. The Ferry can be accessed from the Creston Valley travelling north for 1.5 hours along the scenic Highway 3-A along the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Alternatively, after crossing the lake travellers can explore the communities of Crawford Bay, Riondel, Grey Creek, Boswell, Sanca, Kuskanook, and Sirdar on their way south to the Creston Valley.

Please find further information below:


Ferry Schedule

*** IMPORTANT NOTICE -  Due to ongoing labour disputes, interruptions to regular ferry service may occur at any time. Ferry users are advised to check DriveBC for up to date information.

Vessel Name

Departure from
Balfour Terminal

Departure from
Kootenay Bay Terminal

  Summer

Winter 

Summer

Winter 

Osprey 2000 6:30 am 6:30 am 7:10 am 7:10 am
Osprey 2000 8:10 am 8:10 am 9:00 am 9:00 am
Osprey 2000 9:50 am 9:50 am 10:40 am 10:40 am
M.V. Balfour 10:40 am   11:30 am  
Osprey 2000 11:30 am 11:30 am 12:20 pm 12:20 pm
M.V. Balfour 12:20 am   1:10 pm  
Osprey 2000 1:10 pm 1:10 pm 2:00 pm 2:00 pm
M.V. Balfour 2:00 pm   2:50 pm  
Osprey 2000 2:50 pm 2:50 pm 3:40 pm 3:40 pm
M.V. Balfour 3:40 pm   4:30 pm  
Osprey 2000 4:30 pm 4:30 pm 5:20 pm 5:20 pm
M.V. Balfour 5:20 pm   6:10 pm  
Osprey 2000 6:10 pm 6:10 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm
Osprey 2000 7:50 pm 7:50 pm 8:40 pm 8:40 pm
Osprey 2000 9:40 pm 9:40 pm 10:20 pm 10:20 pm

 All times are Pacific Time (PST). Times in bold indicate peak ferry travel. Anticipate delays during this period. * Summer Schedule - Late June to September Labour Day.  *Winter Schedule - Week after Labour Day to late June.


Sailing Frequency & Duration

Frequency - Ferries depart every 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Duration - approximately 45 minutes depending on weather conditions.


Capacity

MV Osprey - 80 passenger car capability, 250 passenger capability.

MV Balfour - (summer only) 28 passenger car capability, 150 passenger capability


Getting to the Ferry

When travelling to the ferry, the road is sometimes not as fast as we need it to be. Give yourself lots of driving time!

Nelson to Balfour (West Shore) - Driving east from Nelson on Highway 3-A expect give yourself 45 minutes to arrive at the Balfour ferry terminal. Creston to Kootenay Bay (East Shore)  - Driving north from Creston on Highway 3-A expect to give yourself  1 hour and 30 minutes to the Kootenay Bay ferry terminal.

Locals Driving Tip - This Route inspires you to take your time. When going slowly, RVs and other large vehicles should consider pulling over onto the shoulder of the road as a courtesy to allow others heading to the ferry to pass.


Amenities & Services

Kootenay Bay Terminal - Public Washrooms, EV Charging Station, picnic tables, public beach, and cafes nearby. 

Balfour Terminal - Public Washroom, EV Charging Station, picnic tables, public beach, and many restaurants, cafes, and businesses surrounding terminal.

On Ferries - The MV Osprey has plenty of indoor and outdoor passenger seating, public washrooms, information kiosks, and cafe serving food. The MV Balfour has a smaller amount of indoor & outdoor passenger seating and public washrooms.


Summer Traffic & Peak Periods

Cars and trucks are loaded on a first-come first-served basis and for most of the year you will usually get the next ferry after you arrive. However, on busy holiday weekends and during the peak summer season, the vehicle traffic increases dramatically and ferry sailing waits are not uncommon.

When approaching the terminals look for ferry line ups along the highway and position yourself accordingly. During the peak summer season, the terminals have attendants in high-visibility vests which will direct you into specific lanes for boarding.