Great Rides for Every Level in Fernie

Author: 
Krista Turcasso
In: 
Outdoors

Fernie has been known as a mountain biking mecca for some time, but what many do not know is the growth of trails being developed or revised to provide opportunities to the younger cohort of riders, or those new to the sport.

The Fernie Trails Alliance along with its members, Island Lake Resort, the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club, Fernie Alpine Resort and the Fernie Mountain Bike Club, have had an integral roll in this evolvement. While they regularly maintain the many intermediate to advanced trails, they have also been improving some trails and building new trails to round out what is on offer. Mountain biking increases in popularity with each year, and we think it’s amazing how approachable it is becoming for all ages, all interests and all levels. Here are a few trails that are fantastic to ride and provide great views, for every level of rider.

Happy Trails.

Lazy Lizard – Mount Fernie Provincial Park/Island Lake
Distance – 14km out and back
Level – Green/Blue
Est. Time – 2-3 hours

This trail is beautifully built, beginning at Island Lake’s lower parking lot and meandering along side the road with wooden bridges built at every creek crossing. When it reaches the steeper terrain, you’ll encounter gentle switchbacks and reach a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Old Growth Forest and Lizard Range. The trail takes you across the powerline, where you will continue to climb until you reach a gate at Island Lake Road. Ride the extra few minutes to reach a stunning patio at the Bear Lodge with much deserved snacks and refreshments, before enjoying how this trail rides on the way down. Ridden as both a climb and descent, riders are recommended to be aware of oncoming traffic in both directions.

Montane – Castle Mountain
Distance – 7.5km + Loop
Level – Green/Blue
Est. Time – 1–2 hours

The Montane sub division is now home to a network of trails, attracting snow and mountain bikers, trail runners, Nordic skiers and hikers all year round. During the summer months, this loop is enjoyed by all ages and levels as it gently climbs and descends throughout, with beautiful viewpoints, a warming hut mid-way, and some fun technical features to try like a teeter – totter. What is cool about how this network has developed, is that riders can choose to add to the loop, making it more difficult or longer.

The trail starts at the old barn off Coal Creek Road, just off downtown Fernie. Cross the bridge, and take an immediate left. Typically this loop is ridden counter-clockwise, so follow the signs and as you go you can stay “green” or choose some “blue” options. However you decide to ride the Montane loop, fun is sure to be had by all.  

Double Creek – Fernie Alpine Resort
Distance – 3km  
Level – Green/Blue
Est. Time – .5-1 hour

When you’re up at Fernie Alpine Resort, and have either had your fill of lift-access riding or are looking for something to do while the kids are enjoying the downhill trails, Double Creek trail is a great option. A cross-country loop, with some short climbs and descents, it’s a quick loop that travels through dense forest, crossing a gravel road (used for Nordic skiing in winter) and coming back along the other side.

Access is at Parking Lot 4, just passed the recycling and garbage bins. The trail ends just above the service grounds, where you will be able to get back onto the gravel road and make your way back to where you started. It’s a quick loop, especially when you get to know the trail better. Consider doing a couple of laps if there is time

Ridgemont Loop – Cemetery Bypass – Kiddie Up – Queen V – Eric’s Trail – Broken Hip
Distance – 5km
Level – Green/Blue
Est. Time – 1-1.5 hours

With its easy access from town and fantastic views from the clear cut, Ridgemont has been a popular location for riders of all levels and ages since biking’s inception in Fernie. This quick and flowy loop has a little something for everyone. Smooth and gentle switchbacks, technical features such as boardwalks and some roots, and even a corkscrew near the end for some fun!

Cemetery Bypass begins at the entrance to the cemetery, and climbs until you reach an opening where you will continue along a gravel path, alongside the old water reservoir. Continue until you reach Kiddie Up. This will take you to Ridgemont Road, where you will turn left and see the entrance to Queen V. At the apex of this trail, take a left again and veer right on Eco Terrorist. You will get to a trail crossing, turn right onto the boardwalk section and enjoy the ride! Once back at Ridgemont Road, take a left until you see the entrance to Kid’s Stuff on your right. Follow this trail until the entrance to Eric’s, which will eventually flow into a fun descent. Back at Ridgemont Road, take a right and climb until you reach a right hand corner – Broken Hip is on your left. This trail was revised last year, and is a fun way to end your ride! It will lead you to the cemetery road, where you will turn right and climb back to where you started.

Mount Fernie Provincial Park – Gorbie – Old Goat – Happy Gilmore– Sherwoody – Gorbie
Distance – 5km
Level – Green/Blue
Est. Time – 1-2 hours

Your trip is not complete without a ride in the Provincial Park. Especially on a hot day, these trails offer a beautiful canopy providing some protection from the hot rays of the sun.

To begin this loop, pass through the Provincial Park campground, and continue on the gravel road until you see a parking area on a left near a metal bridge crossing Lizard Creek. To access Gorbie, ride across the bridge and you’ll see the wide trail begin on you left. You’ll climb this until you reach the entrance to Old Goat on your left (look for the Goat and bench – you can’t miss it!). Old Goat is a fun climb through a beautiful forest, with some bridge crossings and technical roots. Before too long, you will reach the Happy Gilmore sign, and take a left. After a few metres, you will take another left for the deserved flowy descent of Happy Gilmore! At its end, take a left and continue until you reach a trail junction, and turn left back towards Gorbie on Sherwoody. Once on Gorbie, you are back where you started and will turn right towards the bridge.