Three of My Favourite Routes

When I was growing up in Fernie, there were a few iconic hiking trails that were popular to explore. I remember mostly hearing of people doing the Ridge Walk loop at Fernie Alpine Resort. At that time, you would start and finish from the base and it sounded crazy to me as a little girl, looking up at that impressive headwall. Over time, additional trails have been developed and others amended as passionate trail builders within the community expressed their creativity in the backcountry and met the demand of those living and visiting who were keen to explore and have fun, whether on two feet or two wheels. 

Living here, we often take for granted the hundreds of trails (485 according to Trail Forks) we have access to. All it takes is riding, running or hiking with a friend visiting or chatting with others on the trail to realize we have it pretty good. Here are three of my absolute favourite loops, ranging from the “I feel cruisy” to the “let’s get rad.” I hope you enjoy! 

Swine to Yeddy
Difficulty: Blue 
Distance: 10k from Trailhead 
Time: 1-2 hours

When I’m tight for time, this is my go-to… especially since it’s just down the road from me! Head north out of Fernie, after crossing the covered bridge across Fairy Creek turn left at the gate. Warm up on the double track and then connect to the Swine Flu climb. Enjoy the many, many switchbacks as you make your way up to the top where you will enjoy a stunning view and bench before the fun and flowy descent. Take More Cowbell, which will then meet up with the climb again. Take the climb until you reach Mad Cow, where you will take a left traversing across the slope with a couple of short downs. When you see a bench on your right you have arrived. This trail was built to honour one of Fernie’s beloved bikers, Ed. Try not  to smile as you turn into what feels like riding a half pipe making your way down a little valley! Once again, you will pop onto More Cowbell where you will return the way you came. 

Ben Emmet to Park Trails
Difficulty: Blue 
Distance: 12km from Provincial Park Time: 1-2 hours

This is such a wonderful cross-country loop on a hot summer’s day. It’s shaded, has just the right amount of tech, and ends with a lot of fun! Start by heading out to the Provincial Park Campsite, get onto the Ben Emmett trail and continue all the way until you reach the meadow at the base of Fernie Alpine Resort. Turn right up the Hobbits Trail Road, climbing to the base of the Boom Chair and continuing until you are at the top of Megahurtz. From here, take Megahurtz to Old Goat, and turn right onto Happy Gilmar then return to the campground via Sherwoody and Bridge View Connector. Hot Tip: For those looking to add some spice, take the New Goat option on Megahurtz then go back up Old Goat to Happy Gilmar. 

Slunt (S-Bomb) to Eric’s Trip
Difficulty: Black 
Distance: 15km 
Time: 1.5-3 hours

I do think this is my absolute favourite loop. Again, I may be biased as the Phat Bastard Trailhead is just up the hill from my house but come on! One of the best climbs to one of the best descents around… with the option for a little extra on your way home. Start by climbing Phat Bastard which is partway up Burma Road in West Fernie. Continue up Mushroom Head. As you reach the apex, take a sharp right up Lactic Ridge. This is a steep and fortunately shady climb that takes you to the Stupid Traverse. You can either continue up Lactic (will involve hiking unless you’re Nino Schurter) or traverse along and up Mocassasin, and over the Stupid Traverse which takes you to the top of Slunt. Enjoy the beautiful view looking into the Flathead, then prepare for a long descent! Stay right on Brokeback and continue the momentum until you hit Lazy Lizard. Take a left and take Lazy Lizard back to the Provincial Park. Stay left and connect to Stove Trail climbing back up to the powerline. Once at the top drop into Eric’s Trip where you’ll enjoy some jumps, berms and all-around good times. This trail spits you back onto Burma Road just below where you started. 

Consider supporting the Trail Network by purchasing a Fernie Trails Alliance annual or weekend Trail Pass! fernietrailsalliance.com

Photo by Nick Nault