Easy to Access Views
With the entire summer ahead, make sure to set some time aside to take in the view. These three vistas promise to reward you with new memories, unique experiences and fresh perspectives.
Silver Springs Overlook
If you’ve heard of Silver Springs you’ll likely think of the iconic first lake. A popular spot in the summer, it provides cliff jumping, lake lounging and beautiful navy blue water. The overlook is a different approach, finishing with a panoramic of all three lakes and surrounding mountains, including Mount Broadwood. This trail is within the Wigwam Flats–Mount Broadwood Conservation Area managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in partnership with Ministry of Environment for wildlife protection.
Begin your adventure by driving 20 minutes west of Fernie to the town of Elko. Immediately after the bridge on Highway #3, take a left into the town of Elko, following the road through the residential area. On your left a dirt road named River Road will lead you down and onto a bridge over the Elk River. Park immediately after the bridge on the right. Hike south past the gate, following the road as it hugs the river, gaining elevation over the local sawmill and hydro dam. At 2.3km you’ll leave the gravel road and turn left (east) onto a worn trail heading uphill. At the top, take the right fork in the trail into the tall grass marked with ribbons. Continue for another km as it brings you uphill, through Douglas Fir and open meadows, then turn left onto a tiny path leading to the overlook. Arriving at the top, you’ll be standing 500ft over the third lake with gorgeous rock cliffs supporting trees and various plant life. The path leads to various viewpoints along the cliffs.
Water provides lush greenery and there’s definitely an abundance of it in the Elk Valley. If you’re looking for a short but gratifying backcountry walk, then Matheson is the way to go. Since you’ll be driving a logging road, a 4x4 is recommended especially at the beginning of spring/summer. Head onto Coal CreekRoad, following it over several bridges until you reach marker 42, indicated on a yellow sign on the right hand side. Cross the bridge shortly after the sign and park. The trail will be on your right after you cross the bridge. Passing through a forest alongside the flowing creek, this walk can have its challenges. In May with the runoff, the water levels require you to be creative… walking through knee-deep water as you navigate rocks. After the runoff has ceased, you’ll still have to do some navigating as you cross from one side of the creek to the other. After roughly 1.5km you’ll reach a small but beautiful waterfall cascading down rocks, often creating a nice swimming hole in the summer months. A beautiful spot to enjoy Mother Nature’s creation.
If you’re looking for unparalleled views of the Lizard Range and the Rockies, then add Tamarack Viewpoint to your list. Heading west out of Fernie, take the Fernie Provincial Park road. Follow the paved road through the park, continuing onto a gravel road. Located in 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness, this 8km drive up a windy road showcases 800 year old Cedartrees, wildflowers, mountain peaks through the trees and if you’re lucky, maybe even a moose! Once you arrive at the lodge, begin this 4km hike on the trail just below the Bear Lodge.
Heading east follow the signs for the Tamarack Trail, which take you through dense forests and a flowing creek. After crossing under the powerline, you’ll head back in the forest and begin walking up through a large rockslide. At the top of the rocks enjoy views of the Rockies to the west and the town of Fernie below. The trail continues, descending slightly until you reach a staircase. Take the staircase and follow the trail to the viewpoint. As you’re perched on top of the cliff, celebrate your efforts and take it all in.
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