Fernie is the place to be if you’re into the outdoors. This small city is known for top notch ski slopes, but did you know there’s plenty to do here in the summer, too? From cliff jumping into pristine blue waters, to hiking with incredible Rocky Mountain views, you won’t be disappointed with all the things to do in Fernie. If you’re from Calgary, this is a great place for a weekend getaway.
Summer Things To Do in Fernie
There’s nothing better than a long-weekend getaway! We travelled 3 hours from Calgary to Fernie for a change of scenery with some good friends. The Elk River and several nearby lakes make Fernie the perfect place to keep cool during a heat wave. A weekend isn’t quite long enough to experience all that this place has to offer, but we definitely made the most of it. Here are some summer things to do in Fernie that’ll make you want to go back.
Float the Elk River
Floating the Elk River has gotta be one of the most popular summer activities around. After buying 25-dollar floaties from Canadian Tire, the four of us launched at the Fernie North Bridge nearby. It’s easy walking distance. In fact, most people park at Canadian Tire after shuttling another vehicle to the Fernie Stanford Resort (5 minute drive) where the ride ends. That’s exactly what we did. Best 25 bucks I’ve ever spent!
There are plenty of floaties, canoes, and SUPs on the river. Even so, it didn’t feel too crowded with good vibes on the water. Give yourself 1.5 – 2 hours to float, especially if you want to stop and swim. There are nice swimming spots along the way—like the Dogwood Park area.
Swim at Loon Lake
If you’re looking for a nice spot to cool down, Loon Lake isn’t a bad option. We took a 40-minute evening drive to the Loon Lake Recreation Area to escape the summer heat wave. The water was definitely refreshing. However, I’d suggest bringing a floatie or SUP, since the thick algae can dampen the experience. Though the designated swimming beach is sand and you’ll likely see a painted turtle or two. There are also many crayfish (little lake lobsters) that add to the unique experience (and they tend to mind their own business). Another option is to visit the beach near the Loon Lake Campground (you can camp here, too!).
Cliff Jump at Silver Spring Lake
Silver Spring Lakes are three deep-blue lakes near Elko, just 30-minutes south of Fernie. There’s one lake in particular that’s becoming well-known for thrilling cliff jumping. The lake waters are clear and cool, and some of the nicest swimming I’ve experienced in Western Canada. These cliffs are as low as 5 feet and as high as 60 feet from the water. Most jump from cliffs that are 25 to 30 feet high. I’ve heard this place can become packed, so arrive in the evening (or during the week) to avoid the crowds.
Lizard Range Disc Golf Course
Have you ever gone disc golfing? My first time was in Fernie. Thanks to Kevin for bringing his discs and planning this game. In my personal opinion, disc golf is way better than regular golf, but I’m still not very good at either (!). Nevertheless, the Lizard Range Disc Golf Course was a fun-filled morning in the sun. This 18-hole course is located in James White Park. Plan to spend an hour or two to do all 18 holes. If you don’t have “discs,” just bring a regular frisbee and have fun.
Camp at Mount Fernie Provincial Park
I didn’t know what to expect when I booked the weekend at Mount Fernie Provincial Park. But now I’d say this forested campground is the perfect home-base to explore the area. Less than 10 minutes from downtown Fernie, Mount Fernie Campground is conveniently located and wasn’t overly crowded for a long weekend. The Island Lake Lodge is only 20 minutes down the road, with excellent hiking options and a beautiful log lodge. The campground amenities include indoor toilets, showers, drinking water taps, and a bike washing station (many mountain biking trails nearby). After the excursions, enjoy your hammock with a good book. I’d definitely stay here again.
Hike at Island Lake Lodge
“Where should we go hiking?” I asked the campground attendant at Mount Fernie Campground. That’s how I found out about Island Lake Lodge right down the road. I spent a morning hiking Lake Trail and Spineback Trail. I’ll go back for more next time. Also, check out the restaurant options and more at Island Lake Lodge. Situated on 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness, Island Lake Lodge is an unmissable spot for outdoor adventuring in Fernie.
Lake Trail Hike
The loop around Island Lake is the perfect family-friendly hike. The 2-km trail offers impressive mountain scenery and can be completed in about an hour. If you’re rather enjoy the area on the water, consider renting a canoe for a morning or afternoon paddle.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife on the Lake Trail. When I visited, I crossed paths with a black bear sow and her cub on the path. Thankfully, they were very timid and darted into the woods. This bear country so remember to bring bear spray with you (and know how to use it).
Spineback Trail Hike
Looking for something more challenging? Spineback begins at the same spot as the Lake Trail, though it’s certainly more difficult. While there’s nothing overly technical about the Spinback Trail, it will require some effort to reach the ridge. This 7-km hike gains about 540 metres in elevation up several switchbacks. Budget about 3 to 4 hours to complete this one. It’s a great morning or afternoon option!
Read more: Hiking in Fernie, BC at the Spineback Trail
Eat Delicious Ice Cream
I’d highly recommend Happy Cow for home-made ice cream in Fernie (including dairy-free options). On the other hand, if you’re a gelato person, head downtown to the Beanpod for a delicious frozen treat. There’s mouthwatering chocolate there, too!
Map of Things To Do in Fernie
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Have you spent time in Fernie during the summer? What’s your favourite thing to do in the area? Let me know in the comments below.
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