Snowshoe Adventures for All Levels
If you’re looking to take a break from the hill, or perhaps feel the need to work up a sweat or see Fernie from a fresh, mountainside viewpoint, hitting the trails on snowshoes is a great option. From the untouched, hard grinds to the popularly used easier routes, The Fernie Mountain Bike Guide offers a multitude of options for navigating the snow-covered mountains. Here are this year’s picks—for more choices or to do your own exploring, pick up a guide at any of the sports stores in Fernie or purchase one online at www.ferniefix.com.
Mount Fernie – Hedonsim/Stove Trail or Dem Bones
Difficulty Level – Difficult
Time – 2-4 hours
Are you looking for steeper, longer terrain? This is a great option, accessed just past the Fernie Provincial Park campground. On your right hand side, after descending a small hill once passed the campsite, you’ll see a trail head. Follow this about 100 feet, and take a sharp left up Hedonsim. The trail is quiet steep to begin but mellows out as it makes its way to the powerline. Once on the powerline, turn right and follow it down a hill, around a banked right turn, and begin up a hill. Before cresting this hill, you will see the top of Stove Trail on your right. Alternatively, continue to the top of the hill, continue a few feet and choose Dem Bones. Both trails lead back to the Provincial Park campground, making it a fun yet challenging loop.
Ridgemont – Cemetery Bypass/Eric’s Trail/Eco Terrorist
Difficulty Level – Moderate
Time – 1-3 hours
This trail network is so close to town and offers a variety of options, which is why we include an option each and every year in our snowshoe picks! This year we went with a popular loop, starting with the Cemetery Bypass trail accessed at the entrance to St. Mary’s Cemetery. From here continue up What’s Up Doc (there are three entry options, all leading to the same location) and once at the top, turn right down Ridgemont Road and take your first trail entrance on the left (where the road begins to bend right). This is the midway access to Eric’s Trail, and after meandering through dense trees you’ll hit the trail, and take a right. From here it progressively becomes steeper, fortunately, not for long. At the top, stay left and make your way back to Ridgemont Road where you’ll turn right and walk for about 100 feet until you see the Eccoterrorist trail head on your left. Take this trail (be cautious as the snow will be covering a multitude of boardwalks), following it until you reach Sidewinder (again, a couple of options) where you will stay left until you reach Ridgemont Road and where you first popped up at the top of What’s Up Doc. Follow the way you came up, making your way back to Cemetery Bypass and eventually St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Island Lake – Rail Trail/Old Growth Trail
Difficulty Level – Moderate
Time – 2-3 hours
The majestic Old Growth Forest en route to Island Lake is definitely worth the hike. Starting from the lower Island Lake parking lot, the Rail Trail is accessed just off of the groomed cross-country track as it makes its way alongside the road. Near the top, it crosses the road and comes out onto the midway parking lot and the Old Growth Trail head. Here the terrain becomes steeper and the views of the Lizard Range amazing, passing a lookout to Cabin Bowl and finishing at the Lake, where you can take either way around to the Lodge. To complete the experience, reserve lunch (Friday through Sunday) or perhaps a spa treatment, and enjoy a cat ride down.
Fernie Alpine Resort – Double Creek Trail
Difficulty Level – Easy
Time – 1-2 hours
It’s not uncommon to bring both your skis and snowshoes or cross-country skis to the hill to get a real bang for your visit! Park in parking lot 4 and take the steep trail used to access the cross-country trails; you will see snow-shoe signs for the trail on your left near the top, taking you onto the Double Creek Trail which runs alongside the cross-country track. It crosses the groomed track about midway and begins on the opposite side, where you return in the opposite direction and pop out near the maintenance shed, a quick walk across the road back to your vehicle.
For rentals, get in touch with Ferne Alpine Resort’s Rental Shop (250-423-4655), The Gear Hub (250-423-555), The Guide’s Hut (250-423-3650) or The Quest (250-423-9252). If you interested in a guided tour, try out Wild Nature Tours (250-423-3322) or Mountain Pursuits (250-423-3700).