Hikes in Fernie
When the powder melts and the carved-out trails emerge from below the snow, Fernie becomes the ultimate hub for hiking adventures, making it an epic stop for anyone wanting to dust off their boots and immerse in quintessential Canadian scenery. While Banff, Waterton, or Jasper may top everyone’s list of where to head for hiking adventures in the Canadian Rockies, Fernie is the unsung hero when it comes to unforgettable views. If you’re looking for a quieter mountain town, Fernie is your go-to choice!
Plus, outside of the hikes in Fernie, you’ll find other summer-fused adventures: floating down The Elk River, swimming in Silver Spring Lakes, Maiden Lake or Surveyors Lake, boating, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, and the list goes on. However, not only is Fernie a summer wonderland, it’s actually more well-known for its ski slopes. This is definitely a fun town to visit year-round!
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Fernie
Fernie boasts hiking trails that cater to all ages and fitness levels. Those seeking gentle hikes in Fernie will want to flock to Mount Fernie Provincial Park for a scenic forest setting or simply stay downtown. Meanwhile, two hours north of Fernie, you’ll find epic backcountry trails in Elk Lakes Provincial Park—nestled within the Canadian Rockies. Fernie Alpine Resort also offers hikes ranging across the spectrum of difficulty. So, when it comes to hiking in Fernie, it’s easy to see that you’ve got a ton of options.
- Lizard Lake Trail
- Fir Trail
- Mount Proctor Trail
- Three Sisters Trail
- Silver Springs Lakes
- Mount Baldy
- Fernie Rail Trail
- Castle Mountain Trail
- Spineback Trail
- Fairy Creek Waterfall Trail
The Lizard Lake Trail is a challenging 6.8 km out-and-back route that sees you ascending 529 m of elevation as you make your way through the subalpine terrain to Lizard Lake (which has no lizards). This trail may be overgrown in areas, but it’s a popular enough route that you’ll be able to distinguish the trail. Don’t forget to bring bear spray along as grizzly bears have been known to frequent this trail.
Gather your entire family for the short 2.4 km Fernie Trail loop that circumnavigates Island Lake. Revel in the woodland scenery and mountains flanking the area as you meander, gaining little elevation.
If you’re looking to fuse epic with challenging, the Mount Proctor Trail is your go-to choice. Embark on a steep incline towards the summit, where unreal views overlooking the Fernie area, as well as Three Sisters peak and Mount Fernie, await. This lollipop route boasts a 1,428 m elevation gain, making it a great choice for more experienced hikers.
The Three Sisters Trail is another incredibly challenging but undeniably rewarding trail that leads you through alpine meadows and rocky terrain to a beautiful view of peaks stretching deep into the horizon, including Mount Fernie, Mount Proctor, and Mount Bisaro. This 21.1 km trail is a long one, so be sure to prepare yourself for a full day in the wild!
The Silver Spring Lakes hike is an out-and-back route that winds through forest and along intimidating cliff faces towards the shimmering waters of the lakes. The route around the lake traverses mixed terrain while unveiling views that embody the essence of summer. You can make this hike longer by continuing past the second lake towards two smaller lakes. This is an excellent hike for a hot summer’s day!
Mount Baldy is a great hike near Fernie that grants hikers lovely views sprawling across the valley cradled by mountains from your hilltop perch. This is a fun trail for experienced and casual hikers alike as the elevation gain may be challenging fitness-wise, but the terrain is easy to navigate.
The Fernie Rail Trail winds through a stretch of old-growth forest in Mount Fernie Provincial Park. Every so often, the trees will break, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the peaks lining the backdrop behind the trees. It’s essential to check for trail closure before taking on this 6.9 km hike!
The 7.7 km Castle Mountain Trail leads to an incredible view of the city sprawled below, backed by a line of snow-capped peaks. However, this area boasts a network of trails, so come prepared with a GPS or map to locate the correct trailhead.
Head from the stunning Island Lake up to the alpine terrain of the Lizard Mountain Range on the 7.2 km Spineback Trail! At the top, admire the peaks lining your sightline and the green valley cloaking the landscape below. It’s essential to check for closures on this trail before you go!
The Fairy Creek Waterfall Trail is a fun, family-friendly route that leads you into the forest toward a stunning waterfall. Only 4.5 km long and with only some minor elevation changes, this hike is a great choice for most skill levels. It’s best to do this hike in the spring when water levels are high!
When Is The Best Time To Hike in Fernie?
If you want more options, it’s best to hike in Fernie between late spring and early autumn (May to October is usually the sweet spot!). However, you can find some great winter walks in Mount Fernie Provincial Park. If you’re hiking an open trail in the winter, check to make sure it’s not in an avalanche zone. Do note that some areas may be subject to closure, making it essential to look up this information before you go.
Best Regions for Hiking in Fernie
The Fernie area offers a range of regions that make for fantastic hiking: Mount Fernie Provincial Park, Elk Lakes Provincial Park, Fernie Alpine Resort, hikes around Island Lake Lodge, and more in and around the town of Fernie. For easier hikes, head to Mount Fernie Provincial Park, and for more difficult ones, consider Elk Lake Provincial Park. You’ll find hikes all over the spectrum at Fernie Alpine Resort and the trails carved around Island Lake Lodge.
Other Outdoor Activities in Fernie
Fernie is the epitome of a year-round outdoorsy town. In winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Fernie Alpine Resort for powdery bliss. There’s also snowshoeing, ice fishing, and other unreal ways to keep yourself entertained when snow blankets the land. When green grass takes over the landscape, adventurers enjoy swimming in Silver Spring Lakes, Maiden Lake, Surveyors Lake, or rafting down Elk River. Not only that, but mountain bikers will love the trails here, especially at Fernie Alpine Resort. The activities here are endless!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fernie known for?
Fernie is known for the consistent 9 m of snow it gets every winter, making it the ultimate skiing destination.
Does Fernie have a lot of bears?
Yes, when you go on any hike in the area, be sure to brush up on bear safety tips before you go and pack bear spray! Some trails are subject to unexpected closures if there’s a known bear in the area.
Where is Fernie located in BC?
Fernie sits in the Elk Valley Valley area of the East Kootenays and 70.0 km west of the Alberta border.
Find other amazing hiking regions in British Columbia
Best Hikes in Fernie
Lizard Lake Trail
The Lizard Lake Trail is a 6.8 km out-and-back hiking route near Fernie, BC, that climbs uphill through the subalpine terrain to reach the stunning shores of the unsurprisingly lizardless lake. Although fairly overgrown, this trail is also well-trodden and distinctive enough to make navigation easy, even for casual hikers. Remember to bring bear spray and travel in groups as grizzly bear sightings are frequent along this trail.
Mount Proctor Trail
The Mount Proctor Trail is a challenging 15.6 km loop route in Fernie, BC, that will take hikers on a steep uphill climb to the summit. This route is physically demanding and climbs along some exposed sections of the trail, making it more suitable for experienced hikers than beginners. From the summit, you will be able to enjoy fantastic views overlooking the Fernie area, including a sightline over the valley and the beautiful Three Sisters Peak to the northwest and Mount Fernie to the southwest.
Mount Baldy is an 8.4 km hiking route near Fernie, BC, that will provide hikers with some fantastic views overlooking the valley. You will have a sightline over Island Lake below and the surrounding mountain peaks from your hilltop perch. This is an excellent trail for both experienced and casual hikers due to the combination of moderate elevation gain and easy-to-navigate terrain.
Mount Fernie Trail
The Mount Fernie Trail is a 7.6 km out-and-back hiking route that will take you along a forested route up the mountain to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Elk Valley. This steep trail is well-maintained for most of the route, with the last portion being a bit more rugged and requiring some light scrambling. Although challenging, this hike is a great option for casual hikers looking to build up their experience for longer and more difficult routes.
Three Sisters Trail
The Three Sisters Trail is a 21.1 km out-and-back hiking route near Fernie, BC, that will take you through beautiful alpine meadows and over rocky terrain to reach the summit. This challenging trail will provide phenomenal views over the mountainous terrain, including nearby peaks such as Mount Bisaro, Mount Proctor, and Mount Fernie. This is a tough climb, so make sure to come prepared with all the necessary equipment for a day in the mountains.
Mount Hosmer Trail
The Mount Hosmer Trail is a 10.5 km out-and-back hiking route near Fernie that will both challenge your resolve and reward it with spectacular views overlooking Elk Valley and the surrounding mountain peaks. The trail climbs steeply uphill and does not offer much in terms of flat terrain to catch your breath; however, it is manageable for experienced and casual hikers who take their time. Bring bear spray and travel in groups as grizzly bears are known to frequent the area.
The Montane Trail is a 5.0 km out-and-back trail used for several outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing. The route traverses some easy terrain and doesn’t have much strenuous elevation gain, making it a great trail for hikers of all skill levels. You can expect to enjoy a peaceful forest atmosphere and views through the trees of the surrounding mountain peaks along the trail.
- Technical Difficulty
- Physical Difficulty
The Fir Trail is a 2.4 km circuit hiking route near Fernie, BC, that will take hikers on a scenic loop around the waters of Island Lake. With reasonably level terrain, beautiful views of the woodland landscape and surrounding mountains, and the chance to see wildlife, this is a great family-friendly hike that everyone can enjoy. Due to the frequency of bear sightings in the area, it is best to familiarize yourself with bear-safe hiking practices when setting out on this trail.
Lazy Lizard Trail
The Lazy Lizard Trail is a 16.9 km hiking route just outside of Fernie, BC, that will take you through a range of terrain, including beautiful cedar forests, bridged creek crossings, and a scenic subalpine valley. Along the trail, you will be able to take in beautiful mountain views that include the rugged Lizard Range and the majestic peak of nearby Mount Fernie. Make sure to check for closures as animal activity in the area often dictates trail use.
Fairy Creek Waterfall Trail
The Fairy Creek Waterfall Trail is a 4.5 km out-and-back hiking route that will take you through the forest to visit the cascading waterfall. While there are some minor elevation changes, the route is family-friendly and can be enjoyed by hikers of most skill levels. Time this hike for the spring when water levels are at their highest.
The hike to Matheson Falls is a 1.3 km out-and-back hiking route that will take you along a short, forested path to reach a beautiful cascading waterfall that flows into a small pool of water below. While the trail is short, it does feature some elevation changes and requires a small amount of climbing, meaning that this route will not be accessible for all hikers. The trailhead is located on private property, so treat the area with respect for the owners that allow the public to access the beautiful waterfall.
The Tamarack Trail is an 8.5 km out-and-back hiking route near Fernie, BC, that climbs steeply uphill to reach several scenic viewpoints overlooking the valley and Island Lake nestled within it. The route utilizes a series of switchbacks to alleviate some of the strain of climbing uphill; however, the trail is still physically demanding. Make sure to wear proper hiking footwear and bring plenty of water for this hike.
The Cabin Trail is a 7.7 km out-and-back hiking route outside of Fernie, BC, that climbs into the Lizard Mountain Range to reach the Thunder Meadows Cabin. Hikers will need to use their route-finding abilities to pick up and stay on the trail, so this route is geared towards experienced hikers rather than beginners. Along the trail, you will have a spectacular view across the alpine terrain of the valley, including the majestic sight of Mount Fernie, the Three Sisters, and Mount Proctor directly to the north.
Coal Creek Heritage Trail
The Coal Creek Heritage Trail is an 18.3 km hiking and mountain bike route in Fernie, BC, that travels alongside Coal Creek and offers scenic views of the surrounding valley landscape. Along the hike, you will have the opportunity to visit the remnants of the old Coal Creek town and take in some majestic mountain views. Make sure to share the trail as this is a multi-use route, and you will likely encounter passing mountain bikers.
Fernie Rail Trail
The Fernie Rail Trail is a 6.9 km out-and-back hiking trail found just west of Mount Fernie Provincial Park and offers the opportunity to hike through a beautiful stretch of old-growth forest. The trail runs parallel to Mount Fernie Park Road and is a beautiful forest setting with intermittent views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Make sure to check for any trail closures before setting out for your hike.
Castle Mountain Trail
The Castle Mountain Trail is a 7.7 km out-and-back hiking route in Fernie that will take hikers through the forest to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the city and Elk Valley. This trail is part of a dense network of hiking and mountain bike routes that can make navigation confusing or difficult. Make sure to bring a good trail map or GPS to locate the trailhead.
Gorby Trail Loop
The Gorby Trail Loop is a 5.5 km hiking route through Mount Fernie Provincial Park made up of several different trails to form a continuous loop through the woodland landscape. Along the trail, hikers will pass through beautiful stretches of the forest landscape and cross over several creeks as they make their way along the easy terrain. This is a great trail for hikers of all skill levels.
The Spineback Trail is a 7.2 km out-and-back hiking route near Fernie, BC, that will take you from the charming shores of Island Lake up to the alpine terrain of the Lizard Mountain Range. From here, you will have a fabulous view overlooking the lush green valley with Mount Fernie and the Three Sisters standing proudly behind. Access to this trail is often restricted due to animal activity, so make sure to check for any trail closures before setting out on your hike.
The Goldilocks Loop is a 9.7 km lollipop hiking route near Fernie, BC, that sets out from the Island Lake Lodge and climbs uphill through the picturesque alpine terrain to a small trail loop in the Lizard Mountain Range. Along the trail, you will experience breathtaking views that stretch out across the valley and include the majestic Mount Fernie and Three Sisters Mountain to the north. Make sure to check for any trail closures before setting out on this hike.
Elk Rim Trail
The Elk Rim Trail is a 19.8 km hiking route southwest of Fernie, BC, that follows along the edge of the water at the confluence of the Elk and Kootenay Rivers. The trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate, making it an extended option for casual and experienced hikers. Keep an eye out for passing mountain bikes as this is a multi-use trail.
Other Activities in Fernie
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