Hikes in Invermere
Located in the heart of the Columbia Valley in southwestern British Columbia, Invermere and the surrounding district is a beautifully scenic area that seems to be tailor made for exploring the outdoors. Nestled between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains, Invermere is largely shielded from Arctic weather patterns, creating a climate that is warm in the summer and cool in the winter. This means that, no matter the season, you will always find conditions favourable for whatever activity you set out to accomplish.
A popular destination for tourists and holiday home owners from both Alberta and British Columbia, Invermere offers a wide range of activities that can be sought out year-round. From hiking, biking, and boating on the waters of Windermere Lake in the summer, to skiing and skating on the world’s longest ice skating trail; there will always be plenty of memories to create on a trip to Invermere. The town’s central location between the cities of Golden and Cranbrook makes it easily accessible and the ideal place from which you can explore the amazing terrain that can be found along the Rocky Mountain Trench.
The Most Stunning Hikes in Invermere
Regardless of your comfort level or experience with exploring the outdoors, Invermere and the surrounding area offers a wealth of hiking routes that range from a quick stroll in the park to an intense summit experience. Located just to the west of the city in the middle of the Purcell Mountains, the Panorama Mountain Resort provides a great opportunity for casual and experienced hikers to get out in the mountains while remaining in close proximity to important amenities. Back in town, you will have plenty of options for exploring the lush landscapes of the Columbia River Valley and Windermere Lake, with the added possibility of exploring the rugged Rockies just east of town. If you aren’t sure where to start, we’ve put together this list of some of our favourite hiking routes that can be found in and around the beautiful town of Invermere:
- Deja Vu/Old Coach Trail Loop: This 15.4 km trail is a conglomeration of several different routes along the Columbia River Escarpment. While out on the trail, you will have stunning views of the nearby Purcell Mountains, as well as the winding Columbia River.
- Panorama Mountain Village Trail: Hiking this route is a pleasant experience in the Purcell Mountains due to its close proximity to the amenities of the Panorama Mountain Resort. You will need to either hike up the mountain or take the chair lift to reach the trailhead; however, the beautiful subalpine views will be well worth it.
- Hoodoo Trail: This short hiking route just south of Invermere will take you to a scenic lookout atop a cliff, where you will enjoy some amazing views of the Columbia River and surrounding mountain peaks. This is a great hike for casual/beginner hikers that enjoy scenic views for little effort.
- Jumbo Pass Trail: Hiking the Jumbo Pass Trail is a fun adventure that will take you up to a charming lakeside cabin set in the alpine. A high clearance vehicle will be needed to navigate the rough road into the trailhead.
- Apple Pie Loop: This moderate-length trail is part of a strong network of hiking pathways that will see you climb up to a beautiful lookout over Windermere Lake. While you might need a GPS for navigation, the amazing backdrop of mountainous terrain makes this a worthwhile trek.
- Mount Nelson Trail: Trekking along this rough and rugged trail is recommended for experienced hikers only, due to the challenging nature of the terrain. That being said, the beautiful landscape of the Purcell Mountains and the breathtaking panoramic views from the top of the trail make this a must-do hike if you are experienced enough.
- Lower Bugaboo Falls: A short adventure just to the northwest of Invermere, the Lower Bugaboo Falls will take hikers to the location of a scenic waterfall. Parking here is fairly limited, so make sure to arrive early to secure a spot and beat the crowds.
- Conrad Kain Hut Trail: This out-and-back journey is a wonderful route that will take you uphill along some rugged terrain to reach a location with some truly awe-inspiring views of nearby peaks. Pair this one with a fun overnight stay at the hut or nearby campground.
- Mount Aeneas: Taking you uphill through Pedley Pass, this rocky and technical route will require you to bring helmets and poles to safely traverse the scree slopes along the trail. Your effort will absolutely be rewarded, as you will receive breathtaking views over nearby mountains. A 4x4 vehicle is needed for this adventure.
- Mount Swansea Double Peak Loop: A challenging and popular hiking route in the Invermere area, this trail will see you climb uphill for a commanding view overlooking Invermere and the surrounding Columbia Valley. This route features some rugged terrain and will require sturdy hiking footwear.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Invermere?
As with most mountain towns, the best time to hike in and around Invermere is during the summer, when the snow has melted, and the trail conditions are dry enough to allow you to fully explore the breathtaking landscapes that are on offer here. Where Invermere differs slightly from other areas further east is in the fact that it is sheltered from Arctic weather patterns, meaning the climate here is a bit more on the mild side. As such, spring will arrive earlier in Invermere than it will in other parts of the Rockies, slightly extending the window of favourable hiking weather to allow outdoor enthusiasts the chance to maximize their time spent exploring the wild.
Other Outdoor Activities in Invermere
With an abundance of rivers, mountains, lakes, and valleys, there is no real limit on the kind of activities that can be sought out on a trip to Invermere. Winter in the region will likely see you visiting the Panorama Mountain Resort or Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area to spend some time on the slopes. If downhill winter sports aren’t your thing, you can also test out your cross country skills or try skating the world’s longest ice skating trail - The Lake Windermere Whiteway. During the summer, activities range from hiking and cycling, to water sports on the rivers and lakes that can be found in the valley. With an abundance of outdoor recreation areas and amazing terrain, you certainly won’t be able to fit all the excitement of Invermere into one short trip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Invermere
How far is Invermere from Calgary?
While Invermere is only located 150.0 km from Calgary, the Rocky Mountains present a bit of an obstacle that extends the road distance between these two urban areas to 276.0 km. This makes for a roughly three hour drive.
What valley is Invermere in?
Invermere can be found within the Columbia Valley, the name given to a section of the Rocky Mountain Trench along the Columbia River in between Golden and Canal Flats.
What is the elevation of Invermere, BC?
Nestled within the Columbia Valley between the Rocky and Purcell mountains, the town of Invermere sits at a height of 659 m above sea level.
Best Hikes in Invermere
Panorama Mountain Village Trail
The Panorama Mountain Village Trail is a 6.4 km hiking loop at the top of Panorama Mountain Resort near Invermere, BC, that will expose you to seriously scenic views that look out over the rugged subalpine landscape. With moderate changes in elevation and relatively easy terrain, both casual and experienced hikers will be able to utilize the trail and admire the sights of the neighbouring mountains of the Purcell Range. To reach the trailhead, hikers will need to either travel up the mountain by foot or utilize the Mile 1 chairlift.
Conrad Kain Hut Trail
The Conrad Kain Hut Trail is a 9.0 km out-and-back hiking route near Invermere, BC, that climbs through beautiful forests and over steep rocky terrain to visit the Conrad Kain Hut and the Applebee Dome Campground. Along this hike, you will be blown away by the absolutely breathtaking views of the rugged peaks, spires, and glaciers that make up the surrounding alpine landscape. For an unforgettable overnight trip, try reserving a spot at the hut to spend the night up in the mountains.
Deja View/Old Coach Trail Loop
The Deja View/Old Coach Trail Loop is a 15.4 km hiking route near Invermere, BC, made up of several trails to form a multi-use circuit along the Columbia River Escarpment. Along this meandering route, you will have some phenomenal views overlooking the river and out to the majestic Purcell Mountains. As there are some steep drop-offs along the trail, hikers should be cautious when hiking near the edge of the escarpment to prevent any serious injury.
Apple Pie Loop
The Apple Pie Loop is a 7.1 km hiking route in Invermere that forms a circuit within a dense network of multi-use trails in the area. This route will have you climbing gently uphill to reach a scenic lookout with views over the valley and Windermere Lake, with the Swansea and Four Points mountains in behind. Make sure to bring a GPS or trail map to stay on the correct course during your hike.
Mount Swansea Double Peak Loop
The Mount Swansea Double Peak Loop is a challenging hiking route just outside of Invermere, BC, that will take you on an uphill climb to a scenic viewpoint at the summit. From the top of the mountain, you will be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views across the Columbia Valley and down into the city of Invermere. If you are looking for an extra challenge, try hiking this route in a counterclockwise direction up the steep south ridge trail.
The trail up to Mount Aeneas is an 8.5 km out-and-back hiking route that will lead you through the alpine terrain of Pedley Pass and up the rocky summit for some breathtaking views over the surrounding mountain peaks. Hikers should bring poles and helmets for this trek as they will need to climb up rocky scree slopes to reach the summit. Only attempt the drive into the trailhead if you have a 4x4 high clearance vehicle—regular cars are not suitable for the rough terrain.
Mount Nelson Trail
The Mount Nelson Trail is a rugged and challenging 10.6 km out-and-back hiking route that travels into the backcountry of the Purcell Mountains and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The route climbs very steeply uphill before working through a basin and up the scree towards the summit. The final approach will involve some scrambling; however, the panoramic views from the summit are definitely worth the effort.
Lower Bugaboo Falls
Lower Bugaboo Falls is a 2.6 km out-and-back hiking route northwest of Invermere that will allow hikers to experience the beauty and power of this majestic waterfall. This is a quick hike along easy terrain; however, there are some steep drop-offs along the trail, so watch your footing and keep an eye on children. Make sure to arrive early, as parking at the trailhead is limited, and the narrow trail can become quite busy during peak hours.
The Hoodoo Trail is a quick 3.2 km out-and-back hiking route south of Invermere, BC, that will take hikers to a cliffside lookout over the headwaters of the Columbia River. From this scenic vantage point, you will have views that stretch across the valley and include nearby mountains, including Fairmont Mountain and Mount De Smet, to the southeast. This trail can become icy later in the season, so make sure to bring microspikes
Jumbo Pass Trail
The Jumbo Pass Trail is an 8.0 km out-and-back hiking route west of Invermere that takes hikers up to a cabin nestled beside a small lake within some spectacular alpine terrain. From the top of the trail, you will have a spectacular sightline of the surrounding peaks and down into the valley. It is recommended to take a 4x4 high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead as the road is fairly rugged.
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