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The Kootenays region of BC is located in southern British Columbia, along the US border with Washington and Idaho. Travellers heading west on Crowsnest Highway 3 approach the Kootenays at Creston, just north of the British Columbia-Idaho border. From Creston, Highway 3A runs north along the east side of Kootenay Lake to Crawford Bay, where a free ferry at Kootenay Bay links with Balfour on the west side of the lake. Travellers approaching from the north may use this route or Highways 3A and 6 to link with Highway 3. So convoluted does the highway become that branches of it spin off and feed into each other in a tight knot in the Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, and Salmo loop. Travellers journeying south from the Slocan Valley on Highway 6 link with Highway 3A north of Castlegar, site of the only airport in the rugged Kootenays. Travellers heading south from the Okanagan on Highway 33 join Highway 3 at Rock Creek.
Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) leads west from Creston and east from Castlegar to Salmo. Highway 6 leads east from Vernon to Nakusp. Highway 23 leads south from Highway 1 at Revelstoke to Galena Bay via the Shelter Bay ferry. Highway 31 leads north to Kaslo from the ferry terminal at Balfour on Kootenay Lake's west side, and beyond to the ferry terminal at Galena Bay on Upper Arrow Lake. Highway 23 links Galena Bay with Nakusp to the south and Revelstoke to the north. Highway 31A leads east to Kaslo from New Denver, on the east side of Slocan Lake.