Top 5 Fernie Outdoor {Non-Ski} Activities:

With a reputation for having the best powder in the Rockies, Fernie is well-known as a great all-around ski holiday destination, for powder hounds and families alike.

Perhaps less widely known by some, Fernie offers many other first-class outdoor activities, outside of its ski season.  From downhill biking to relaxing on the beach at Koocanusa, Fernie offers opportunities for outdoor activities to suit a wide range of interests.

1. Fly Fishing  

In Fernie, the fishing season runs from June 15th until March 30th, with the Elk River (home to Cutthroat Trout and healthy populations of monster Bull Trout) and all tributaries being closed annually from April 1st to June 15th for spawning season.

You will need a Basic License, and a Classified II Waters License to fish around Fernie, which can be purchased by the day, week, or annually. Licenses can be purchased online, here:

B.C. Recreational Freshwater Fishing Licence – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)

But, in our humble opinion, the best Fernie fishing experience by far, is a guided fishing experience. Having guides’ expertise is invaluable, giving you access to the top spots, which vary throughout the season.

In addition to Cat Skiing, Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA) offers professionally guided fly-fishing tours, tailored to every age and ability of angler.

guided Trips with Fernie Wilderness Adventures (fwaflyfishing.com)

2. Downhill Biking

Fernie Alpine Resort offers some of the best lift-accessed mountain biking in Canada, with trails for all skill levels, from beginner, to challenging, and technical single-track trails for advanced riders. And, new last summer, the resort offers an uphill bike route for Enduro / E-Bike Riding in the bike park.

Mountain biking lessons, full gear rentals, and packages are offered through the resort and stores in Town. It is recommended that you pre-book at least 24 hours in advance at Guest Services: (250) 423–2435.

Mountain Biking – Fernie Alpine Resort (skifernie.com)

3. Hiking

Guided, lift-accessed hiking tours are another outdoor activity offered at Fernie Alpine Resort. The views are unmatched, sure to have you reaching for your camera at every turn. From family-friendly hikes (The Lost Boys Lookout and Lost Boys Loop trails are easy hikes from the top of Timber Chair!) to advanced, all-day adventures, the resort offers activities for a variety of abilities, lush with a variety of native plants and wildlife.

Off-resort, the mountain ranges of Fernie and the surrounding area (Lizard Range, Three Bears, Mr. Fernie, Three Sisters, Mt. Procter, Mt. Hosmer, Castle Mountain, and Morrisey Ridge) offer a wide variety of countless hiking adventures, ranging from family-friendly to difficult. To name a few:

Family Friendly:

Fairy Creek Falls: Follow Fairy Creek to a picturesque waterfall at the base of Mount Proctor. Great in mid-late Spring (full flow!) as well as the heat of summer (think: misty cool-off).   4 km return (90 min – 2 hours) and 68 m elevation, this is a family-friendly hike. Trailhead: Park at Fernie Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Information Centre (102 Commerce Road on Highway #3).  

Mount Fernie Provincial Park: Lush forests and winding trails around the perimeter of the campground at Mt. Fernie Provincial Park are great for a morning or afternoon nature hike, with the option to extend your hike to the trails beyond, such as Ben Emmett and Happy Gilmar.

Challenging:

Heiko’s Trail: One of the most epic hikes in Fernie… We mean bucket-list material, in part due to the enormous Bisaro Cave you’ll see along the 21 km trial, along with waterfalls, cliff falls, big mountain passes, canyons, mountain meadows, wildlife, and more.

Mount Fernie Ridge: The renowned trapezoid face of Mr. Fernie attracts more-experienced hikers to this popular half-day hike, complete with chutes, dense forest, switchbacks, and topped off with a rocky scramble. Well-worth it, even if only for the view!

Three Sisters: Ascend the middle peak of the Three Sisters (Mt. Trinity) to the highest peak visible from Fernie BC, and to say the view is rewarding, is an understatement. The 1671 ft elevation gain makes this one an all-day adventure, so pack accordingly!

4. River Rafting

For the thrill-seekers, Fernie offers white water rafting trips, over Class 2, 3, and 4 rapids, all while surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Elk River Canyon is more suited to adventure seekers in search for Class 4 rapids, while the rugged and remote Bull River is a nice option in Spring and early summer, when the Elk is too high to safely raft.

Rafting the Elk is characterized by towering canyon walls, offering opportunities to go cliff jumping, and spot wildlife such as bald eagles and mountain goats.

The glacial blue water of the Bull, surrounded by dense forests and towering snow-capped mountains, offers its own unique experience of Fernie. The Bull’s Class 2 to 3+ rapids are generally better-suited for families, although by summer’s end the Elk becomes very family-friendly as well.

There are a few outfits offering guided raft trips in Fernie, including Canyon Raft Company (Fernie Whitewater Rafting Trips at Canyon Raft Company) and Mountain High Adventures (Mountain High Adventures • Year round adventure destination (raftfernie.com)).

Whether you are in search of those Class 4 rapids, or looking for a scenic float or SUP in town, experiencing Fernie from the river is a unique and rewarding experience!

5. Lakes Nearby

In addition to exploring rivers, there are a couple of lakes, in particular, just a short drive from Fernie.

Lake Koocanusa: At just 35 minutes from FMH’s door, this stunning, turquoise 145 km lake retreat, is entirely day-trip friendly. (although campsites are available for booking)

Whether you fancy wake-surfing in the calm, warm (up to 25C!) waters, swimming, exploring the lake’s cliffs, inlets, and sandy beaches, by canoe or kayak, or simply kicking back on a sandy beach, Lake Koocanusa offers amazing opportunities in bunches.

Surveyors Lake: A swift 30-minute drive south-west of Fernie, and alongside Lake Koocanusa, Surveyors Lake is another fantastic way to keep cool during the hot summer months in Fernie, while enjoying outdoor activities!

Surveyors is located in the well-kept Kikomun Creek BC Provincial Park, which boasts a large campground for tenting and RV’s. Unlike Koocanusa, Surveyors is a non-motorized lake, attractive to those looking for quiet, tree-lined, warm water, sandy beaches, a large dock, (well-suited for leaping!) and the prospect of spotting Surveyors’ renowned (and endangered) Western Painted Turtles, sunning themselves on fallen logs around the lake’s perimeter! Turtle Haven Rentals (Turtle Haven Rentals – Home | Facebook), located on the Lake, has kayaks, pedal-boats and SUP boards for additional activities / means of searching for the turtles!

Whatever outdoor activities you decide to spend your time in Fernie doing, you may find yourself mentally planning your next trip out to Fernie before your first has even come to an end!  

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