Biking in Fernie, BC: An Overview
Photo by Nick Nault The Fernie Mountain Bike scene is a recreational pass time that has been on the rise for some time, with no signs of slowing down. From its early days in the 90s riding in the Educational Forest at the base of Castle Mountain, or the original Deadfall, Sidewinder and Eric’s Trail in Ridgemont, to the seemingly endless supply of trails surrounding this charming town on all sides, there is literally something for everyone and every level. Castle Mountain Offering some of the best views in the Valley, castle Mountain is located South West of downtown and includes some classic Fernie rides. When riding from town, you can hop onto the trail system by taking Uprooted by the old barn on Coal Creek Road, or taking the powerline to Roots. Roots and Uprooted are great trails for intermediate riders, and can be easily turned into a loop. To elongate the ride and make it more challenging, bikers can continue to climb to Castle Rocks, and take either Hyper Extension, Southern Comfort or South Castle for a long and enjoyable descent. Ridgemont Next up is Ridgemont, the quickest and easiest trails to access right from town. While many of these trails are great for the beginner to intermediate, they also offer a challenge for the more experienced rider. This trail network allows any level of rider to go for a short ride, or loop trails together and ride for hours. Well marked and super flowy, Ridgemont is a local favourite, whether looking to enjoy the mellow Kush or heading to the epic Big Money. Mount Proctor On the northeast end of town, just past the bridge heading toward the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, the trails of Mount Proctor can be found. This is a “no dogs allowed” zone, as you cross private land and cows grazing on your way up. The popular Swine Flu is located here, with a great viewpoint at its top and swooping turns throughout the descent. Other trails include Far Side, Mad Cow, TNT and rumour of a new trail on the horizon! Intermediate riding at its best. Mount Fernie Accessed either off of Burma Road or from the Mount Fernie Provincial Park, Mount Fernie offers a wide range of trails to explore, including the Fernie classic Dem Bones. These trails are great to link together for a longer ride, or head out on for a quick and challenging climb and descent. Access the impressive S-Bomb from the lower trails, or explore a littler further to the unique Project 9. Stove Trail is a great intermediate climb/descent and leads to Dem Bones or Red Sonja. Provincial Park Later in the season, when the trails have really dried out and the sun is shining, the Provincial Park is a great option. Trails for all levels, and shaded by a beautiful canopy of trees, like Ridgemont the park has trails upon trails that can be looped for long rides, short rides, easy rides or short rides! Accessed from the campground via Sherwoody trail or a little further down Island Lake Road to the bridge crossing Lizard Creek leading to Gorby, there is also opportunity to ride to Fernie Alpine Resort via this trail network. Popular trails include Verboten and Old Goat. Fernie Alpine Resort For those keen to work on their downhill skills, this is the place to go. The “Old Side” accessed via the Elk Chair is great for the moderate to intermediate downhill rider, while the “New Side” via the Timber Chair offers epic and challenging descent. Enjoy a refreshing beverage at the Lost Boys Café before heading down, and consider going from New to Old via Megasaurus – a less “epic” way to check out the Timber side. Definitely make sure to wear appropriate gear and ride a bike with suspension! Wherever your Fernie mountain bike riding takes you, it’s always a good idea to bring a trail book with you! Located at Polar Peek Books & Treasures, The Guide’s Hut, Straightline, The Ski Base, Gear Hub and the Chamber of Commerce, the Fernie Mountain Bike Guide is a great companion on any ride. Also check out the Fernie Mountain Bike Club’s website and Facebook page for additional information. Bike and Skate Park It’s clear with the Wam Bam Dirt Jump Jam, one of the biggest and most exciting events of the summer, that biking is evolving. First, we saw kids of all ages playing around on BMX bikes in the Skate Park. It became obvious to the Fernie Mountain Bike Club that there was an opportunity here, and the Dirt Jump Park was born. Each year it just gets better and better, with pump tracks, skills areas, the new beginner track, and much more. Whatever level or type of rider, spending time in either parks can really enhance your biking and of course result in a lot of fun. You might even learn something from the younger generation while there! Road Biking It’s not too often you see an abundance of road bikers in Fernie, since the trails are of abundance and up there with the best in the world. But, with events like the Highline 100 each August and sometimes a long spring melt, the road bikes hit the pavement and there are some great options. The South Country, west of Fernie is great for early-season riding, whether on a road bike or mountain bike. Highway 93 towards the US border is a popular excursion, which can be looped by taking the Baynes Lake Road to Jaffray, retuning along Highway 3. Alternatively, roads past Sparwood are also options, including Sparwood to Elkford or Corbin Road.