|British Columbia, Canada. The area is approximately defined as being the area south of the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy # 1) from Revelstoke and including the valleys of Slocan Lake and Kootenay Lake and at least part of the Arrow Lake valley (Columbia River), as far south as the USA border.
Cities, Towns and Villages
In general, the West Kootenays is a little more remote and a little more difficult to get into and travel around than some of the more populated parts of the province. You will probably find that the residents of this area live here at least partly because that's what they like. Winding roads require somewhat slower travel. If locals have one complaint, especially during tourist season, it's about visitors roaring about, making excessive noise and generally making the highways unsafe and unpleasant. To fully appreciate the place, visitors need to slow down, relax and enjoy what the region has to offer. There's little interest in seeing the frantic bustle of the big city imported here by visitors in too much of a hurry.
The West Kootenays doesn't include the Columbia River and Kootenay River Valley south of Golden to Cranbrook. This is the East Kootenays. It's very nice, but it's not the West Kootenays.
The easiest way to see the Kootenays is by private vehicle. There is very limited public transit in this region. Some routes are pretty quiet so hitch-hiking could be chancy, especially late in the day and outside the main tourist season. In the summer, it's a popular destination for motorcyclists. Some hardier types will enjoy biking in the area, just be aware that the hills will give you a good workout.
The area generally has quite stunning scenery. Details are contained in the listings for many of the towns in the region.
There are many reasons to visit (or live in) the West Kootenays. The longer one stays, the more opportunities appear. In addition to the most noticable such as the various Provincial Parks, towns and local ski hills, there are many backcountry trails which really expose you to some of the wilderness that remains in this part of the province. There is a trails guidebook which is a good start, but repeated visits and contact with the locals can get you into some quite amazing destinations. Accessing many of these areas often requires a high-clearance vehicle, travel on logging roads and good maps, just to sort out where to go.
If all you want is the usual fast food, the West Kootenays has the usual compliment of fast food outlets, but it is possible to do better than that.
All of the communities in the region have at least a few good to excellent establishments serving a pretty wide selection of food. There isn't really a regional cuisine but many of the establishments cater to vegetarians and to omnivores, many take the trouble to source locally-grown produce and some have created some pretty unique menu items.
There are at least 3 brewing companies in the West Kootenays:
Given this choice, make it a point to sample some of the local brews while traveling in the region.
The region isn't well known for wineries; there just isn't the heat or the soil available here the way there is in the Okanagan. However, despite that, there are at least two wineries in the region: Columbia Gardens Vineyard & Winery  just south of Trail and Skimmerhorn Winery & Vineyard  in Creston.
There are few things (in the normal sense) to worry about when traveling in the West Kootenays. Crime is infrequent and the people are friendly and helpful. The main hazards are generally associated with the mountain environment that makes up the West Kootenays. Roads are often narrow and winding and there can be hazards from falling rocks and avalanches (in winter). There is wildlife in the area like grizzly bears, black bears, elk and mountain lions. If you venture off into the backcountry, then you must be prepared for wilderness conditions. As in most mountainous regions, weather can change quickly, the terrain is difficult and steep and it can take longer to get to your destination than you might expect.