The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Fernie

Fernie has something over its Powder Highway neighbors. It's the only town in BC completely surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, so if you like the idea of 360-degree alpine vistas, you're headed in the right direction. Fernie is around 3.5 hours from Calgary, so it's great for a weekend sojourn or even a longer stay away from the commotion of the big city. The town is a wonderful alternative to crowded ski destinations and offers a plethora of activities for every season, from heli-skiing to fishing. It's also a popular filming location and has appeared in movies like Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), so don't be surprised if you feel deja vu when you first arrive.


01 Explore Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie British Columbia Canada Alpine Ski Resort Mountain Slopes During Winter Day

Fernie Alpine Resort is one of eight resorts on BC's renowned Powder Highway. It is often blessed with exceptional snow conditions, so skiers and snowboarders can expect light, dry snow and deep pow. The vast terrain is suitable for all skill levels and ranges from green runs to double blacks, so whether you're an expert or a novice, there's a run for you. If you're not staying at the resort, the FernieStoke ski shuttle transports visitors from town.


02 Savor local brews and cuisine

Fernie Brewing Company is a good spot for a chilled-out break away from the slopes. Take in the view while you graze on snacks and sip on mountain-brewed craft beer (there's a non-alcoholic line too). Local eateries tend to emphasize the use of seasonal ingredients. You can carbo load at several places, including Big Bang Bagels, which serves delicious bagelwiches. When it's cold outside, Himalayan Spice Bistro will warm you right up with its spice-infused curries. And Bridge Bistro is a favorite for brunch.

03 Dive into history at Fernie Museum

Learn about the trials and tribulations, including economic adversity, faced by this mountain town over the years. Fernie suffered two disastrous fires in the early 20th century as well as a lethal mining disaster, and in 2021, it experienced damaging floods. But the people here are resilient. The museum is packed with exhibits that are a testament to their spirit. Check out the gallery space while you're there, or sign up for a guided walking tour.

04 Discover downtown Fernie

Fernie's historic downtown area is home to some charming architecture, much of which was built after a terrible fire in 1908—only City Hall survived the blaze. The town works hard to preserve its urban heritage. Look out for the chateau-style Fernie Courthouse, which is well-known in the province. The downtown area has cute boutique shops and stores like Coal Town Goods for souvenirs and gifts. Fernie has also appeared in numerous movies and TV episodes, so you might want to watch the likes of Cold Pursuit (2019) before you embark on your trip.

05 Hike to Fairy Creek Falls

This scenic, dog-friendly hike starts right by the Fernie Visitor Center. It's suitable for all ages and offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. The hike should take about 45 minutes if you go at a leisurely pace. It's an out-and-back trail, and sometimes folks leave their dogs off leash, so if you're going with the kiddos, keep them close to your side. You can do this hike in winter, but you would need appropriate footwear with ice spikes. In the summer, you can kick your shoes off entirely and dip your feet in crystal-clear water.

06 Relax at Island Lake Lodge

Island Lake Lodge recently made the news because it hosted a famous visitor, David Beckham, and his family. The lodge is renowned for backcountry skiing and cat-skiing in the Rockies and is a fabulous retreat for relaxation and adventure. Staff are incredibly friendly and enhance the luxury experience, which caters to only 36 people at a time and includes chef-prepared meals, a hot pool, cedar saunas, and massages at the spa.

07 Enjoy the arts and culture scene

The Fernie Arts Co-Op located downtown is an artist-run gallery and shop, perfect if you're looking for local art made with a variety of mediums. Whatever your budget, you're bound to find something special to take home. Handmade treasures include leatherwork, jewelry, watercolors, pottery, textiles, and artisanal soaps and candles by over 40 makers. When you're down browsing, do the Fernie Art Walk self-guided tour, which features sculptures, wall murals, cenotaphs, and dumpsters that have undergone makeovers.

08 Experience mountain biking trails

MTB fans will find lots to cheer about in this mountain bikers' paradise that's part of the Kootenay Dirt. Trails in eight different areas, including Montane, Ridegmont, Mount Proctor, and Castle Mountain, provide simple, scenic rides and challenging mountain trails. At Fernie Alpine Resort, the lift-accessed trails are among the best in the country. In addition to downhill trails, Enduro and E-Bikes can test the uphill route at the resort's Bike Park.

09 Take a scenic chairlift ride

In the summer, when the greenery emerges, and delicate flowers aren't pummeled by snowfall, you can take a chairlift ride at Fernie Alpine Resort to see the mountains and valleys from a birds-eye view. The Elk Chairlift transports adventurers to alpine terrain ideal for hiking and mountain biking, but sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination.

10 Go white water rafting

Between late May and early September, Elk River welcomes rafters, kayakers, and floaters to its waters. Spot wildlife while experiencing the gorgeous Canadian wilderness on a solo adventure or with friends and family. Take it easy or embrace the adrenaline rush—either way, you'll make memories to last a lifetime. Canyon Raft Company or Tunnel 49 can hook you up with all the necessary gear, lessons, and tours.

11 Visit Mount Fernie Provincial Park

Keen on a camping escape in nature? Mount Fernie Provincial Park's campground has potable water, showers, fire pits for BBQs, and bear-proof bins. The skies really put on a show at night, with stars in every direction. Breathe in the fresh air and wake up to the sound of a bubbling brook before heading out on the beautiful multi-use trails—look for the Lizard Creek waterfall.

12 Indulge in local chocolate and sweets

No trip to Fernie is complete without a stop at Beanpod Chocolate. This little bean-to-bar cafe sells fresh Italian roast coffee, even better gelato, and high-quality handmade chocolate bursting with unique flavors. If you're struggling to choose an ice cream flavor, try the espresso and salted caramel or the raspberry chocolate. It's sublime! The owner is super friendly, and the cafe utilizes vintage equipment.

13 Catch a Fernie Ghostriders game

Fernie residents love their ice hockey, and you might want to soak up the community spirit at a game while you're in town. The local junior 'A' ice hockey team, the Ghostriders, are named after an iconic shadow on Mount Hosmer. They play matches at Fernie Memorial Arena, a venue that also offers public ice skating slots for various age groups.

14 Explore Fernie's aquatic life at the Aquatic Centre

If you're looking for a proper pool to maintain your workout routine, Fernie Aquatic Center's 82-foot pool is exactly what you need to do laps. Warm up after with a stint in the hot tub and savor the mountain views. The family-friendly facility also has a steam room, a heated pool, a waterslide, a diving board, and a fitness zone.

15 Tee off at Fernie Golf Club

This well-maintained golf course is challenging but appealing to golfers of all skill levels. It's undoubtedly beautiful, but if you've been to some of the famously spectacular courses in the region, you may be a tad underwhelmed. When your round is over, grab a bite at the on-site restaurant staffed by cheerful waiters. During winter, the Fernie Nordic Society prepares the course for cross-country skiing, and the flat terrain is a boon for beginners.


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