"Free Ferry" Needles by Camping_Girl
Needles Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 39 photos
Needles really isn't a town anymore; it's just a ferry loading point. The little cable-driven ferry that crosses Lower Arrow Lake here is free and takes only about 5 minutes to cross. But I have waited 2 hours to get on this ferry before, so make sure you factor the wait times into your travel time!
This ferry runs from Needles on the west side of the lake to Fauquier on the east side of the lake. If you happen to be waiting at Fauquier to load there are at least a few services on that side of the lake. There is nothing on the Needles side except for a nice picnic area and some public toilets. There is a really great restaurant in Fauquier - The Mushroom Addition Restaurant. They serve the best burgers. The place is really legendary with locals in the area.
The main reason I have created a page on a non-town is to tell you about the really amazing bike road that can be toured from Vernon, BC to Creston, BC. The route for this trip is as follows:
Take highway 6 east from Vernon to Needles. Board the free ferry to Fauquier. Continue north on hwy 6 to Nakusp, then east on hwy 6 to New Denver and Slocan. Take hwy 3A east to Nelson and then follow 3A north to Balfour and your second free ferry crossing. Once off the ferry, follow hwy 3A south to Creston, BC. Fuel is available in Vernon, Nakusp, New Denver, Slocan, Nelson, Balfour and Creston. There are many, many great places to eat in Nelson - see my Nelson page for some tips. "Granny's Place" in Creston is right along the highway going through town, downtown, and also serves great food.
At Creston, your road choice depends on whether you are continuing east to Cranbrook via hwy 3 or are looping back west to Castlegar. Either choice will not be short on scenery. Check out my "off the beaten path" tips here for some pics of these two roads.
There is an alternative route from New Denver that is shorter. At New Denver, instead of continuing south on hwy 6 to Slocan, take hwy 31A east to Kaslo. This is a really awesome bike road as well and is made even better by the fact that it was newly rebuilt and repaved in 2008! If history is an interest to you, detour the 7 km or so south to Sandon, a few miles east of New Denver. Sandon is a ghost town and is a fairly interesting detour worthy of an hour or so of your time. The road is poorly paved with plenty of loose gravel, but we have travelled it on our bike before with no problems.
At Kaslo, you may want to tour the SS Moyie, a fully restored steam wheeler that once plied the lake here. If you're hungry, check out the Treehouse Cafe on the main street in downtown Kaslo - the food here is outstanding! When you're ready to hit the road, head south on hwy 31 to Balfour and continue to Crawford Bay from here.
Note, this route will avoid Nelson but it is an easy detour from Balfour; just continue south on hwy 31 for about 35 km.
- In a nutshell:One of THE best bike roads I have ever rode!
The drive from Creston to Cranbrook via the #3 highway is another incredibly scenic piece of road, particularly the... more travel advice
The road from Nelson to Kaslo is quite heavily travelled. Just north of the turn-off for the Balfour ferry is the... more travel advice
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