The Top Hiking Trails in Fernie, BC
The hiking trails in Fernie range from easy nature walks to grueling multi-day adventures through mountain passes and caves. This list of top hiking trails includes something for hikers of every skill level to enjoy.
Fernie is encircled by the Canadian Rocky Mountains, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. The exciting terrain on offer means the outdoor sport options are almost endless and some of the best hiking in BC occur right outside the downtown centre Fernie.
The hiking trails in Fernie range from stunning nature walks by cascading waterfalls, to climbing mountain ranges to mountain peaks. Whether you’re looking for loose shale to challenge your skills, or a great way to be active with the kids, here are the top hiking trails in Fernie:
FERNIE ALPINE RESORT
Fernie Alpine Resort is home to a plethora of hiking trails that are accessed via the resort’s mountain chairlifts. Hiking at Fernie Alpine Resort allows hikers to explore the Lizard Mountain Range and its alpine meadows and mountain summits. While frequent sightings of local wildlife do occur, so do the discoveries of ancient fossils.
Summer Road Trail
LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE; TIME: 2-4 HOURS
While technically this trail is easy to hike, the constant uphill grind will have your legs burning and heart pumping. The trail begins at the top of Elk Chair, and ends at the top of the Boomerang and Bear Chairs.
The lower trail passes through Fernie Shale, red and brown rock that often contains some brachiopod and cephalopod fossils. But geology fanatics won’t want to stop there -the Lizard Range is “overturned”, meaning the higher you go the older the rock gets. Further up the trail you’ll notice the rock turns to limestone, which is a sign of an ancient sea bed millions of years old.
You can choose to return down the same path, or hike left across the Lizard Bowl, descending a trail through more limestone and fossils.
White Pass Trail #39
LEVEL: EASY; TIME – 1.5-3 HOURS
Hike up the White Pass Trail and reach Whitepass Chair. Once here you will meet a viewpoint with rewarding views of the Currie Bowl and the majestic Polar Peak directly in front of you.
You will notice the terrain turns into loose black shale made of organic carbon. This shale is from the top layer of the Exshaw formation, which is from an extinction period 360 million years ago. Fortunately, the trail is not long and it only takes a short and easy hike to reach rewarding views and interesting rockbed.
Take the path to the Timber Chair to descend, and once there, you will notice rocks with fossils and an alpine meadow over to your left.
TRAILS FROM THE TOWN OF FERNIE
LEVEL: MODERATE; TIME 3-5 HOURS
The Castle Mountain hike passes through part of the Flathead Range of the Canadian Rockies. This trail will offer amazing views of the valley, and gives an opposite perspective than most of the other hiking trails in Fernie. Take note that this trail is shared between hikers and mountain bikers.
The trail can be accessed just off of River Road (head down Coal Creek Rd until you see a yellow bridge on your right – that’s River Road). Park at the gravel pull out and take the Roots Trail. Follow it to Hyperventilation Trail, which will then take you to Castle Mountain Trail.
Fairy Creek Falls
LEVEL: EASY; TIME: 1.5 HOURS
Hike alongside Fairy Creek all the way to a cascading waterfall. It’s a linear path that gains hardly any elevation, making it perfect for a family outing Along the way, you will find clear views of Fernie. No dogs allowed as the trail passes through a cow grazing area.
Once at the end, enjoy the waterfall’s breeze and peaceful forest setting.
The trail can be accessed from the Fernie Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Information Centre parking lot. There will be clearly marked signs marking the trail head.
Heiko’s Trail (Mountain Lakes Trail)
LEVEL: DIFFICULT; TIME 8-12 HOURS
This trail is not for the faint of heart, but for those looking for a gruelling outdoor adventure. Many like to make the Heiko’s Trail an overnight excursion, with a night of backcountry camping at the foot of Three Sisters. The trail gains 4,500 feet of elevation over 20km of terrain.
Hike through caves, alpine meadows and mountain passes and over mossy logs and pools of trickling water. This trail covers it all! The trail opens around mid-June, after the snow has melted. Peak season to venture onto this trail is July and August, when the meadow flowers will be in full bloom.
The trail starts just off of Hartley Lake Road, but ends at Island Lake Lodge, so plan your transportation accordingly. At the trailhead, only those with a 4×4 vehicle can make it past the first gravel parking lot where the trailhead is located. If you do have a 4×4, continue onwards to the second lot where the Mountain Lakes Trail actually starts.
Mount Fernie Ridge
LEVEL: MODERATE; TIME: 2.5-5 HOURS
A fantastic, diverse hiking trail that accommodates beginner hikers and families with the added option of a challenge for active individuals. The trail is a series of switchbacks through dense forest that eventually opens up to an intriguing chute. Every winter, the landscape is changed by tumbling avalanches.
Three-quarters of the way up, there is a bench located at a viewpoint. From the base of the trail to this bench i you will find beginner hikers or families with small children. It’s a relatively easy hike to reach the bench, and once there the views of Mt. Baldy are stunning.
After this point the trail gets a bit steeper, and the terrain more technical. Enroute to the peak, the trail starts to consist of loose rock, that present a challenge during the steep climb. However, once you have reached the Mt. Fernie peak, the views of Three Sisters, Mt. Hosmer, and Mt. Proctor are well worth the climb.
To access the trail, head east on Highway 3 across the bridge over the Elk River. Take a left onto Cedar Avenue, then a right onto Canyon Trail. Follow the road to the very end to the gate and park, but careful not to block the gate. Walk up the gravel road past the gate, turning right at the junction and following the road until you see the trailhead sign.
PLANNING A TRIP TO FERNIE?
Give our destination experts a call if you’d like to know more about taking a trip to Fernie! They can answer any questions you may have about the hiking trails in Fernie, or about our selection of Fernie accommodations. You can reach our Destination Experts 7 days a week at 1.877.902.1616. Additionally, you can view our Fernie vacation rentals here.