There’s a little bit of Salmo’s story on almost every corner. Considered the hub of the Kootenays, located at the crossroads of Highways 3B and 6, the tale of this quiet town is chronicled in a most unique fashion. Seven elaborate stone murals paint a picture of the community’s most precious characteristics – it’s proud mining and forestry heritage, big game and big rigs, many of which roll through town en route to destinations in all directions. Designed by Charlotte Plainden, the murals were created with local stone in 1990 by students enrolled at Salmo’sKootenay Stone Masonry Training Centre.
Once known for prosperous mines and famous for groves of giant cedar trees, Salmo, though still economically dependent on extractive resources and proud of it’s lively history, is now a more diversified community. Tourists are finding this friendly, peaceful community that lies in a virtually undiscovered mecca of outdoor recreational opportunities. The surrounding evergreen forests provide habitat for an abundance of big game animals and the streams and mountain lakes harbor a myriad of trout species. The vast backcountry fairly begs exploration from hikers, hunters, skiers, and snowmobilers. For skiing in its more natural state, Salmo Ski Hill will give you a thrill. Salmo also has a 9-hole golf course. Hop on the new “Rails to Trails” bike path here and peddle all the way to Nelson. Its gentle grade and many turn of the century trestles provide some fantastic scenery along the way.
Salmo is also home to the “Oldest Phone Booth in the World.” Look for signs of old mines high on many of the hill sides where once they produced gold, silver, lead, zinc and tungsten. History buffs will enjoy the Salmo Museum for a glimpse into the villages past.
Grab a bite while in town; some of the unique local cuisine includes genuine Russian borscht.
Stagleap Provincial Park is situated east of Salmo toward Creston on Hwy 3. Big horn sheep are often seen on this scenic drive over Kootenay Pass at 1774 meters. The park has a lovely alpine lake and picnic area directly adjacent to the highway. Hiking and Nordic skiing trails are found in the area.
Just west of Salmo on Highway 3B is the Loop’s Rivers, Dams & Mines Super Side Trip. Salmo is the closest community with services (15 mi / 20 km) near the international border crossing at Nelway.