Top 20 outdoor adventures in Fernie
This iconic BC mountain town is a four-season paradise
There are too many amazing things to do in Fernie, BC to count. But, to celebrate the new year, we decided to give it a shot. Here are 20 great activities to embrace in 2022 in this adventurous mountain town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Skier looking into the valley: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo
1. Grab a powder day at Fernie Alpine Resort, which boasts 142 runs and 3,500 vertical feet. This area is known for its incredible powder skiing and with many feet of snowfall every season, there’s a good chance that most visitors will tally at least one sweet powder day. Five bowls, plenty of beginner terrain, and epic steeps await. End the day with après at the iconic slope-side Griz Bar.
2. Cat skiing with Island Lake Catskiing or Fernie Wilderness Adventures is a unique experience taking in the very best terrain and powder snow. Leave the lift lines behind and prepare for what could be one of the best ski adventures of your life. Experience perfect run after perfect run of incredible skiing and get whisked back to the top via snowcat.
3. Backcountry ski touring is an epic and intimate activity for adventurers who want to get up close and personal with the Fernie mountains. The area has several backcountry ski-touring options, including the popular bowls between Fernie Alpine Resort and Island Lake Lodge in the Lizard Range. Be sure to check in with the local experts before setting out. The Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club maintains two permanent shelters that are available for booking.
People posing with the Griz: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo
4. Celebrate the 45th annual Griz Days. This winter carnival is a multi-day festival of fun-filled family-friendly events, activities, and entertainment in which the entire town and visitors alike participate. A guaranteed great weekend of family fun. Mark your calendars for March 4-6.
5. Get your Nordic on with a cross-country ski at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. This scenic operation located beside Mount Fernie Provincial Park offers 10km of groomed trails and a warming hut in a beautiful, sheltered forest. The views of the surrounding mountain peaks are incredible. Overall, there are more than 50km of groomed trails in 4 unique areas in Fernie that are suitable for all levels. So, gear up and have fun exploring!
6. Participate in a unique Currie Bowl Rope Drop. On big snowfall days, eager powder hounds gather at the top of one of Fernie Alpine Resort’s bowls behind a rope line until ski patrol gives the sign and the rope drops for access to some of the best gladed skiing and riding in the Rockies. So. Much. Fun.
Snowshoeing group: Photo by Henri Georgi
7. Explore the magical winter wonderland on snowshoe. If you don’t have your own set, you can rent some from the Guides Hut or Gearhub in Historic Downtown Fernie. There are multiple locations to check out, including Fernie Alpine Resort and Fernie’s vast multi-use trail system. Explore on your own or book a guided interpretive tour.
Photo: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo
8. Hit the greens on one of BC’s top 25 golf courses. This 18-hole par 70 course offers luxurious greens, moulding silica sand bunkers and varied terrain that is well-suited for beginners as well as the low handicapper. Surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, this course is a must-do.
9. Spend a fun afternoon disc golfing. The Lizard Range Disc Golf Course is located in James White Park beneath towering timbers near the Elk River. A more scenic course to try this fast-growing sport would be hard to find.
10. The Trail to Ale Challenge is a Fernie original. Here, visitors and locals alike test their mettle by attempting to bag three peaks on bike or foot within 24 hours. Once completed, head to Fernie Brewing Company to show three time-stamped selfies as evidence and claim your prize of a cold beer and a #TrailtoAleFernie sticker.
Photo: Tourism Fernie
11. Mountain biking and fat biking in Fernie are hard to match. Depending on your taste and skill level, there are hundreds of single-track trails from which to choose ringing around Fernie, including some right in town making the area a top spot for the two-wheeled dirt merchants. Many trails are accessible all year round.
Waterfall: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo
12. For an idyllic place to stroll, be sure to check out the hike to Fairy Creek Falls. This popular hiking trail is family-friendly and accessible throughout the year ending in a tranquil waterfall perfect for family photos and nature watching.
13. If you feel like getting a new perspective on the beauty of Fernie, try a half-day hike up Mount Fernie or explore the Old Growth Trail to Island Lake Lodge. If you are a more experienced hiker and have a whole day to spare, hiking Mt Proctor will reward you with fantastic view of the Fernie wilderness and town.
14. The Elk River provides many opportunities for adventure especially during the summer when whitewater rafting heats up. This fun and exhilarating activity is a great way to explore the Elk River Canyon where participants can catch a glimpse of hoodoos carved out by thousands of years of erosion and all manner of local wildlife. Mountain High Adventures and Canyon Raft Company have both been steering guests through the surf on the Elk River for over 20 years.
Rafting: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo
15. Looking for downhill mountain biking without the uphill grind? Head to the Fernie Bike Park at Fernie Alpine Resort for lift-serviced riding on 38 trails from fun flowy greens to challenging double black diamond descents.
16. Craving something a little different, and totally fun? Take your mountain bike or BMX to the Fernie Dirt Jump Park. Located right in town, this gem features large and small dirt jumps, wooden bridges and obstacles, and a pump track.
17. Every visit to Fernie should include some forest bathing. Located just 15 minutes out of town, the Ancient Cottonwood Forest is a recently discovered grove that includes some of the biggest, and oldest Black Cottonwoods in the world, interspersed with old-growth Western Red Cedars. These ancient giants are truly magical to witness.
Fall-ing for Fernie
Fernie fly fishing (photo: Jeremy Koreski)
18. Get out onto the river for some of the best trout fly fishing in North America. The season runs from mid-June to the end of March. There are incredible spots on the Elk River and the surrounding pristine lakes. Book a guided trip with one of the fly-fishing operators in town for the best experience.
19. Heiko’s Trail is one of the most epic summer and early fall hikes in Fernie. It’s a 21-km tromp with waterfalls, caves, cliff walls, big mountain passes, canyons, mountain meadows, wildlife, and more. Plan for an 8–12-hour experience that includes 1,200 metres of elevation gain over two mountain passes. This trail is typically hikable from mid-late June to mid-September. If you do hike the trail into September/October, be aware of the limited amount of daylight hours and the possibility of first snow.
Heiko’s: Tourism Fernie/Jikke Gyorki
20. Trail running on Fernie’s vast trail system is suitable for all levels. Castle mountain, for example, offers good climbs, fun mountain single track, and great views in a combination of old clear-cuts and forested ridgelines. The best spot to experience spectacular sunrises and sunsets, this multi-use trail is equally popular among hikers, bikers, and trail runners.
All-year-round bonus tip
21. Visit and explore Historic Downtown Fernie, lined with century-old heritage buildings, unique boutique shops, galleries, and a diverse dining scene to end each fabulous day.
For more information visit tourismfernie.com.
Lead photo: Scenic valley: Tourism Fernie/Vince Mo