Summer Adventures in Fernie

When the snow begins to melt, streams begin to flow and the fresh tracks on the ski hill melt away to the arrival of spring, Fernie has an entirely new assortment of activities at your leisure.

The only challenging part is deciding which of them to do first.

If you’ve remembered to bring your hiking boots, mountain bikes and swimsuits on your visit to Fernie, there is enough summer activity to make you wish you had just a moment to be bored. Or, it might just make you wish you never had to leave.

Hiking is one of the most challenging and rewarding of activities that Fernie offers. Any of the mountains surrounding town are worth summiting; Mount Fernie, Three Sisters and Mount Hosmer all have well-used trails and staggering views from the top of the valley below.

If you are looking for a difficult climb head towards Fort Steele and along Mause Creek Rd. where the hike up Fisher Peak will take you to 9,336 feet. Just 40 minutes from town, Fisher Peak is one of the most sought-after summits in the Kootenays. The trail gains 4,400 vertical feet over eight kilometres.

Crystal-blue Nichols Lake sits in a basin below, and once you’ve seen the vastness of the Rocky Mountains from so high an elevation, a small hike just never seems the same.

Another great daylong or overnight hike is the infamous Heiko’s Trail. Named after one of Fernie’s true trailblazers, Heiko Socher, the 21-kilometre hike leads behind three mountains and incredible meadows, ending up at Island Lake Lodge. Grab a beer on the patio after your hike while resting below the Lizard Range; a perfect end to a big day.

A great alternative to hiking is mountain biking. With over 50 trails to ride around town you might spend all summer biking and never make the same run twice.

There are introductory bike camps available through Fernie Bike Guides, or you can tackle the trails on your own. There is also lift-assisted biking at Fernie Alpine Resort. Bike races run throughout the summer for those more ambitious folk, including the Porky Blue Race in July. Or you can hop on and just start pedaling; you’re guaranteed to end up someplace advantageous.

For those who like to remain on flat ground, golfing is an additional alternative. Whether you desire 18 holes at the scenic Fernie Golf and Country Club or are aiming for baskets at the disc golf course at James White Park, either is a good excuse to have an ice cold drink and spend time outside.

For those hot summer days, where you are too hot and find yourself wishing there was snow, purchase a blow-up tube or mini-boat and head down to the Elk River for a river float. A favourite among locals, the Elk River provides a fresh alternative to those scorching July weekends. With some mild waves and a casual cruise downstream, the Elk River is a great afternoon delight.

Just be sure to have knowledge of the river before you begin your paddle. Yearly flooding can create log and rock hazards that have high consequences to anyone ill prepared.

Another, perhaps drier river activity is fly-fishing, which usually opens on June 15. Make your way to any one of the hundreds of locations along the Elk River for a quiet casting. Perfect for any rainy or sunny day, you can also hop in with Fernie Fly Fishing, Fernie Wilderness Adventures or Elk River Guiding Co. for a personalized fishing experience. 

Lastly, if all you seek is a little rest and relaxation, the Fernie Fix and the Arts Station hosts Wednesday Night Concert Series near the Art Station on 1st Ave. Live music and entertainment, as well as street vendors and fresh drinks make for a great mid-week break. And don’t forget Wapiti Music Festival, scheduled for August 7 to 8 at the Annex Park.

Whatever your reason for visiting this little mountain town at the peak of a beautiful B.C. summer, here is hoping you find yourself with a wide variety of things to do. Whether the adventure you choose, the important thing is that it is an adventure.