Active + Adventure

Great Summer Mountain Towns

by Sarah Tuff

Nelson, British Columbia

The hills are alive with: Hippies

Get elevated: Even if the August Shambhala Music Festival didn't promise "four ecstatic nights and five dreamy days" in this corner of the Kootenay Mountains, the funky Canadian hideout of Nelson (population 10,000) provides plenty of hints about its countercultural citizens. After all, the town brims with alternative-healing, hemp, and acupuncture shops; organic co-ops; and hydroponic supplies (for growing plants without soil). The setting is trippy, too: Storybook buildings slope down pine-covered hillsides toward stunning Kootenay Lake, while the Selkirk and Kootenay mountains frame the skyline. From July through September, local shopkeepers and artists team up to host parties for Artwalk. And then there's the Shambhala itself, a kinder, gentler Burning Man for the Great White North. Reenter civilization at Blaylock's Mansion, a pre–World War II estate with seven antique-filled rooms, 13 acres of gardens, organic breakfasts, and a spa. It's far-out.

Peak time: August 9 through 12 for the Shambhala Music Festival

Shambhala Music Festival
Tel: 250 352 7623

Blaylock's Mansion
Tel: 888 788 3613
Doubles from $185

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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