Routes to Explore this Winter
You’ve finally arrived in Fernie, BC! The mountains are covered in white glorious snow, and endless opportunity awaits you. Now your only problem is trying to fit it all in during your stay. Well, we’re to help. Here are our choices of routes not to miss this winter season! Each year, we try to change it up so you can also visit FernieFix.com/fix-favourites for even more options.
Nordic Skiing – Full Loop at Fernie Alpine Resort
The Nordic trail system in Fernie offers an abundance, from the beginner trails at Fernie Golf and Country Club to the undulating terrain at Montane to the fast and challenging trails at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre to the trails leading to the beautiful Island Lake Lodge. Fernie Alpine Resort has offered groomed Nordic skiing for as long as I can remember. It’s well maintained and while it starts off quite steep and challenging, you can choose to do the shorter loop made up of the Silk Trail, Manchuria Trail and back or continue along the Silk Trail loop to the beautiful viewpoint and back. In my opinion, the full loop is worth the time and effort. It’s beautiful and peaceful with the opportunity to drop in on Birch Meadows Lodge (Birchmeadowslodge.com) for Raclette Dinner – just make sure to book well in advance.
Route: Manchuria – Scandia – Silk Trails
Estimated Time: 1-2 hrs
Park in lot P4 at Fernie Alpine Resort, and walk or ski up the hill to reach the groomed trails. Continue up, until you see the Manchuria trail branch off to the right. Stay right, eventually descending to the Scandia Loop. Turn right, and complete the full loop. Continue right all the way along the Silk Trail and enjoy an exciting descent to your vehicle back in P4. Grooming status is available on Skifernie.com
Snow Shoeing – Pete’s Bench on Mount Fernie
There are so many trails available throughout the valley! This year, we thought we would take you up Mount Fernie to the iconic Pete’s Bench. This spot not only offers beautiful views of town, but a place to rest after your effort before heading down once again.
Route: Stove Trail – Mushroom Head – Red Sonja
Distance: 5.1 km
Estimated Time: 1.5-2.5 hrs
Drive or get a ride to the Fernie Provincial Park. You turn right in the campground and make your way to Stove Trail. Take a left and start the walk, gradual at first and gaining elevation as you go. Once you reach the powerline, turn right up a steep hill. At the plateau, you will turn left onto Mushroom Head. A short hike to the top, and you’ll find yourself at a lookout where Pete’s Bench is located (most likely buried in snow!). Enjoy a break and the view, before continuing along Mushroom Head, which will descend to the powerline. Here, you will see Red Sonja on your left. Take this all the way to Burma Road, where you can either have a vehicle waiting or arrange for pick up!
Fat Biking – Lazy Lizard
This sport has grown exponentially over the last few years. There’s regular trail grooming, rentals available in town, and avid bikers who travelling on two-wheels in the winter months. Lazy Lizard is an awesome trail to enjoy, especially since it leads straight to Island Lake! Book ahead for lunch, a well-deserved treat before the fun descent. Make sure to check Bikefernie.ca or the Trail Conditions and Ride Board page on Facebook for updates on trail conditions.
Route: Lazy Lizard
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Estimated Time: 2-2.5 hrs
Park at Island Lake’s lower parking lot. The trail is accessed to the right of the gate on the road. The trail meanders alongside the road, and is fairly flowy until you reach the powerline. Here, the trail gains elevation so be prepared to sweat! This is where you want to make sure the conditions are firm enough, otherwise you’re in for a workout. When you reach the powerline at the top, take a left and you’ll hit the trail again leading you to Island Lake’s road, where you’ll turn right to reach the Lodge. Enjoy!
Trail Running – Montane
Trail running is also a sport growing in popularity, even in winter! With so much snowshoeing taking place, the trails have become safer and more fun than the roads in town. Just make sure to avoid trails if they are too soft, as post holing can negatively affect any grooming done for snow biking. Montane is a great location to hit up, as it’s multi use, open to Nordic skiers, snow bikers, hikers and runners, and you can bring your dog! Just make sure to follow the signs and stay on the trail designated for multi use (the Nordic trails are not for walking or running). A great route is Montane Blue, to the hut and back.
Route: Montane Blue – Multi Use
Estimated Time: 1-1.5 hrs
From town, head to Coal Creek Road and take a right at the Montane parking log. Cross the bridge, and take a left following the Montane Blue – Multi Use signs. This loop winds up and down and around, eventually taking you to the warming hut where you will enjoy a stunning view of Fernie Alpine Resort, the Lizard Range, Mount Fernie, the Three Sisters, Mount Proctor and Hosmer Mountain… Yes, that’s right. From here, you start descending towards Cokato, and then gradually climbing your way back up before your final descent above the Montane subdivision, and back to your vehicle. Once again, make sure the conditions are firm as to avoid post holing on any grooming done for fat biking, and enjoy!