Rarely, if ever, have I seen a lake so clear, so calm and so beautiful as Slocan Lake. And when I got up the courage to take a short swim, rarely have I encountered a lake as chilly as Slocan Lake. But it was nearly mid-September so what should I have expected?
Slocan Lake is the source of the Slocan River, which flows south to join the Kootenay River and then the Columbia River. The lake is 30 kilometres long and nearly three kilometres across at its widest point. Depth? Well, we didn’t verify it, but the lake is supposedly nearly 1,000 feet deep in some places.
Why is the water so clear? I suspect it’s because the lake is fed by mountain creeks and streams and there is little to no industrial development on its shores to muddy the waters. One source claims 93 per cent of the lake’s 83-kilometre shoreline is unaltered — amazing in this day and age.
We knew none of this when we visited the lake, but canoeing up the southwest shoreline we marvelled at the tranquility of the lake, the beautiful evening light, the crystal-clear waters beneath our canoe and — more than anything — the peaceful quiet so hard to find anywhere else.
If you happen to be in Slocan, do go for a paddle. You’ll be glad you did.
(See below for a few lake photos, including one of the Silver Belle, a paddlewheel boat for tourists and events.)