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15 Fun Things to do in Cranbrook, BC

15 Fun Things to do in Cranbrook, BC

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Don’t leave this off your BC itinerary! Cranbrook, BC, Canada may be small in both population and area, but it packs a real punch in terms of activities and sightseeing.

Cranbrook is located in the Southeastern region of BC, the gateway to the Kootenay region.

Whether you are going in the summer to hit the beaches, or the winter to hit the slopes, Cranbrook has it all. Check out our top 15 fun things to do in Cranbrook, BC.  

15 Things to do in Cranbrook, BC

1. Visit Fort Steele Heritage Village  

fort-steele-heritage-village-in-cranbrook, BC
Fort Steele is a must-visit just on the outskirts of Cranbrook, Bc!

Ready to hit gold? Take a step back into the 1800s at Fort Steele Heritage Town and experience the excitement of the gold rush.  

Once a booming gold town, it is now a protected heritage site where you can find out what it was like to live here through their list of entertainment.

Witness live theatre and street shows, watch blacksmithing demonstrations, take pictures in the photography studio, and go on a wagon or train ride.

There are also lots of animals to visit including their 15 Clydesdales, donkeys, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and black pigs.

Fort Steele is just a 20-minute drive from Cranbrook (17 km/11 mi) and welcomes visitors from spring through to fall. Summer is the busiest tourism season, with the most activities and demonstrations to check out.  

At just $10-25 CAD per adult and $7-20 CAD per child (depending on the time of year), Fort Steele is, well, a steal (sorry for the bad pun).

2. Go hiking  

cranbrook-community-forest-map
A map at the entrance of the Community Forest – there are tons of trails to explore here!

Hiking in and around Cranbrook is an amazing experience for avid and new hikers alike. You can choose between low-key lake walks, full-day challenges, or absolutely stunning viewpoints. There are endless opportunities but here are a few notable hikes to check out are:

  • Cooper Lake – an easy 2 km (1.24 mi) walk to the lake that should only take a little over 30 minutes each way. It’s usually not very heavily trafficked but you might spot some people fishing or camping. To get to the trailhead, stay on Lumberton/Moyie Creek through the logging area for 25 km (16 mi) then turn left on Cooper Creek Road. Follow this dirt road until you reach a dirt clearing just before Copper Creek Crossing.
  • Fisher Peak – if you have some stamina this is a rather challenging 10 km (6.2 mi) out-and-back trail that ends with a scramble. The view of the mountains from the top is pretty awesome if you’re good with heights! The trailhead is several kilometers off of a rough dirt road (once at Maus Creek Road, look for the signs for Fisher Peak Trail) so I’d recommend off-road tires and a decent amount of clearance on your vehicle.
  • Wycliffe Buttes – this trail is dog and family-friendly and offers some nice mountain views, especially considering how short the trail is at just 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) in total (out and back). Just note that on a hot day there isn’t much shade here so bring your hat, sunglasses, and water.

Another one of the most popular options is the Cranbrook Community Forest. Here, you can explore beautiful crown forest lands – over 2000 acres! If hiking isn’t your thing, you can bike or horseback ride as well. In the winter, you can try your hand and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Cranbrook Community Forest is located just outside of the city borders, making it easily accessible during your stay.  

3. Go golfing  

The Cliffhanger Hole at Greywolf Golf Course near Invermere, BC
The famous Cliffhanger Hole at Greywolf Golf Course near Invermere, BC

There are so many options in this area to golf – seven courses that are less than 30 minutes away from each other, to be exact!

So, which one to choose? Well, if you want to stay super-local, check out the Cranbrook Golf Club, right in the city center. It’s a 17-hole course in a manicured, beautiful course, surrounded by tall evergreen trees. A completely relaxing, beautiful environment to spend the day in. It’s also very affordable costing between $45-$65 CAD depending on the time of day and the season.

Wildstone Golf Course is another great option and is considered one of the most beautiful courses around. Every section of the course has sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a more challenging course, so keep focused, and don’t let those views distract you too much! The green fees here range from $62-$88 CAD.

If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, then head to Greywolf Golf Course. Rated as one of the most beautiful golf courses in Canada, it is one of the top attractions in Invermere and likely worth the drive – just look at the views (pictured above!) Weekday rates range from $119-$159 CAD and weekend rates are $139-$179 CAD.

Related Read: If you have time, why not spend a couple of days in Radium too?! There are lots of fun things to do in Radium Village. Plus, there are some great Airbnbs in Radium well worth checking out.

4. Visit St Eugene’s Mission Resort/Casino of the Rockies

St Eugene’s Mission Resort/Casino of the Rockies
The building is beautiful and also looks kind of haunted!

Golf course, spa, casino, restaurant – is there anything else you need?

St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino is managed and owned by the Ktunaxa First Nation, and is totally transformed from its former history as a residential school. Here, you can experience world-class golf, relax in the Silver Water Spa, or get a bite to eat at Kiʔsuʔk k̓ikiⱡ (pronounced like key-seeouk- keekit/th), the on-site restaurant.

If you’re feeling lucky, you can try your hand at the Casino of the Rockies. If blackjack’s your game, they make the pot even sweeter with a “King’s Bounty” of bonus money.  

For an extra special experience, consider spending a night or two here for around $200 CAD a night. Do a little gambling, enjoy dinner and drinks, and then enjoy the stars as the sun goes down in this peaceful location. St. Eugene’s is located about a 15-minute drive from Cranbrook in a somewhat remote location – perfect for relaxing!

5. Explore the Cranbrook History Centre (Canadian Museum of Rail Travel) 

A train at the Cranbrook History Centre
The old trains!

You’ll have noticed there are a ton of outdoor activities on this list – and rightfully so! Cranbrook is beautiful – but there are some great indoor activities as well.

The Cranbrook History Centre is the perfect place to visit on a rainy day, or if you’re just looking to learn a little more about the region.

Are you interested in rail travel? Historical photographs? Fossils? This History Centre has it all! There’s a reason visiting here is one of the best things to do in Cranbrook.

walking in the Cranbrook History Centre
Daniel, checking out some fossils in the Cranbrook History Centre.

There are permanent collections that preserve artifacts and records of the history of Cranbrook, the East Kootenay region, and Canadian railways.  

If you join a guided tour you can actually go through them! There are a few different tours to choose from ranging in length from 20 minutes to around 45 minutes. The 20-minute Soo-Spocane Tour only costs $12.50 CAD whereas the 45-minute Trans-Canada and Comparative Tours cost $20.25 CAD.

The History Centre offers programs to children and adults alike – paleontology field school, historical town walks, and kid’s summer camps are all ways to get into the fascinating history of this region.

The museum is open year-round, from 10 am-4 pm from June to September, and 10 am-3 pm from October to May. It is located in downtown Cranbrook and costs just under $6 CAD per adult or $16 CAD for a family of four.

6. Enjoy a day on the water  

Who doesn’t enjoy a day at the lake? We do! Luckily, Cranbrook is home to Jimsmith Lake Provincial Park. Here you can swim, relax, and have a picnic… perhaps with all the yummy food you got at the farmer’s market (check out #12 for more info!)

If you want, kayaks, paddleboards, or other rentals are available in Cranbrook City. Jimsmith Lake is just 10 minutes away from downtown Cranbrook, so it’s easy to pick up your rental equipment and head out for the day.  

Other options for a day on the water include Norbury Lakes (30 minutes away), Moyie Lake (20 minutes away), or the Kootenay River (put in your kayak at Fort Steele, 20 minutes away).  

Hope you have your sunscreen with you, as this is not an activity to pass on!

7. Bike or Ski the North Star Rails 2 Trails  

north star bike trail in Cranbrook
The perfect place for a ride! Photo Credit: North Star Rails 2 Trails

If you’re looking to spend the day outdoors – whether in the sun, snow, or rain – look no further than the North Star Rails 2 Trails. This 26-kilometer-long (16.6-mile) stretch of paved trail links Cranbrook to the neighboring city of Kimberley. It’s the perfect option to spend the day outdoors.  Once completed, you can enjoy all the best things to do in Kimberley!

You can start the trail in either city, and choose to complete the whole thing or just sections. One easy option is to start at Wycliffe Park in Cranbrook and do a 10 km (6.2 mi) loop outside of the city. This section has some great views and is fairly easy level. There are even amenities like picnic tables and washrooms nearby.

northstar-railtrails-map-cranbrook-bc
The posted maps will help you navigate the trail!

Biking, walking, running, and rollerblading are all popular choices for the trail. Some people even cross-country ski it in the winter!  

This is a very popular trail, so don’t forget to say hi to locals and tourists alike while you’re out there!

Related Read: Mountain biking is also very popular in Revelstoke, BC. Check out all the exciting things to do and see in Revelstoke and add it to your BC bucket list!

8. Visit Kimberley on a day trip

kimberley-BC-mainstreet
Kimberley is a cute little town only minutes from Cranbrook. Photo credit: olegmayorov on Deposit Photos

You’ll probably be able to stay busy in Cranbrook with this list, but if you’re looking for a day trip, check out Kimberley, BC! It’s just about 30 minutes west of Cranbrook (18 km/11.2 mi). The drive there is beautiful, and there are tons to see.

Kimberley is made for the outdoor adventurer. In summer, you can try out river rafting, fly fishing, or hiking. In winter, gear up and hit the slopes to ski or snowboard, or try cross-country skiing or snowmobiling.  

Whether you’re adventuring outdoors or not, downtown Kimberley has tons of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars to stop and relax in. After, you can check out Cominco Gardens, stroll around downtown to check out the Cuckoo Clock, or visit the Heritage Museum.

9. Drink locally brewed craft beer at The Heid Out

drinking beer at the Heid Out in Cranbrook BC
Dan and I having a couple of cheeky drinks at the Heid Out.

You know we love our craft beer! And The Heid Out – named after the owner Heidi – is the perfect place to grab a pint.  

They brew beer right on-site (Fisher Peak Brewing) so you can have some of the best local beer around. And with names like “Soggy Otter Brown Ale” or “Hell Roaring Scottish Ale,” what’s not to love?

The Heid Out also offers a full menu of locally-sourced meals, including baked brie, jaeger poutine, Thai rare ahi tuna, and a tandoori chicken sandwich… my mouth is watering just thinking of it!

This local hot spot is located conveniently right in the middle of town.

10. Eat at one of BC’s most famed Restaurants

cranbrook-firehall-restaurant
How cool is the building this restaurant is located in?!

When you think of world-class dining, what comes to mind? Paris, Tokyo, New York, and… Cranbrook? Yes! There are some extraordinary dining experiences in this city, and it’s home to some of BC’s most famed restaurants.  

While you’re here, make sure to check out Allegra Restaurant which is known for being Cranbrook’s first choice for fine dining! They serve fresh and healthy Mediterranean food in a very open and welcoming space which makes sense because once you translate the old Latin word Allegra it literally means “welcome”!

Everything on their menu is made from scratch except for the ravioli which is made in Lethbridge. There are plenty of mouthwatering appetizers, fine pasta dishes like the Housemade Arugula & Roast Pepper Rotini or the Chicken Penne Napoli, and traditional protein-forward entrees including the elevated Roasted Duck Breast with Figs or the more traditional Chicken Piccata.

Ella’s is a great Jamaican spot open all day for brunch, lunch, and dinner. It looks like an unsuspecting quick-service restaurant that is inside of the Best Western Hotel but if you’re looking for strong ethnic flavors they will deliver.

Just wait until you take a bite of the 876 Island Wings coated in an island rub – juicy and delicious!

If you want to branch out and try something new they also serve slow-roasted oxtail paired with rice and beans. For brunch, you’ll still find the Jamaican influence alongside more American-style breakfast including their incredible banana bread french toast!

eating-at-cranbrook-fiehall-restaurant
Yummmm!!!!

Another must-experience restaurant is Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap, also located right in the heart of downtown Cranbrook. As the top-rated gastropub in Cranbrook, they exclusively pour BC craft beers and put out some of the best burgers, poutines, and bowls in the city.

They also bake their own bread and buns, grind their own beef brisket, and prepare their own chicken wings, fries, and sauces in-house.  Not to mention they’re located within a historic Firehall – how cool?!

11. Walk at Elizabeth Lake Bird Sanctuary

Get your binoculars ready! Elizabeth Lake Bird Sanctuary is the perfect place to see some local wildlife, such as western painted turtles and migratory birds.  

This sanctuary is over 5.9 hectares of protected wetlands. There are multiple walking trails to explore, and picnic tables and benches to relax or have a picnic. If you go in the summer, a volunteer at the visitor center can tell you all about the area, the animals, and what to look out for.  

The sanctuary is located just at the edge of Cranbrook, so it’s within walking distance for those staying in the city center.  

12. Shop at the Cranbrook Farmers Market

cranbrook-farmers-market
There are tons of stalls to shop at the Cranbrook Farmers Market. Photo credit: Cranbrook Farmers Market

Don’t go here on an empty stomach! Just kidding. Do go and expect to fill your basket with delightful, local, and fresh produce, cheeses, bread, coffee… the list goes on.

On top of the fresh, local food options, is 20+ local artisans. This is a great place to pick out a gift for your friends and family! You’re guaranteed to find something unique here.

The Cranbrook Farmer’s Market is located near Rotary Park in downtown Cranbrook and is open every Saturday in spring, summer, and fall. Hours vary by season but it’s typically open from 10 am-1 pm.

13. Drink coffee at the Kootenay Roasting Company

coffee-house-in-cranbrook
This coffee was sooooo good! Plus, the cafe itself was adorable too.

Coffee, the true MVP of any trip, am I right? 

Maybe you’ve just spent the day at the Heritage Centre and need an afternoon pick-me-up, or you are a true coffee connoisseur. Either way, The Kootenay Roasting Company is a must-visit.

Open Monday-Saturday and located in Downtown Cranbrook, the roastery is a family-run business, operating in Cranbrook since 1999. They pride themselves on small-batch roasting, making sure each and every coffee bean is perfect.

When we visited here we were super impressed with how delicious the coffee was. Not to mention, the café itself is adorable with antiques everywhere you look.

Come on in, grab a cup. Then, take some beans home to remember your trip to Cranbrook!

14. Hit the slopes  

Fernie Alpine Resort
The Fernie Alpine Resort is one beautiful place to ski!

Hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard is a Canadian wintertime ritual. Whether you grew up on skis, or haven’t tried it before, Cranbrook is the perfect place to check it out. There are six options to choose from within only a two-hour drive.

Kimberly Alpine Resort is the closest ski hill, just 30 km (19 mi) from Cranbrook inside the Purcell Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains. It’s the local hill in the area, with 68 trails, ski and snowboard rentals, and snow school lessons – great for beginners. The resort has stunning scenery all around – 1,800 acres and 80 runs worth of gorgeous views and typically sunny weather! There are options for new and advanced skiers alike. A day here will run you about $50 CAD.

A little further out from Cranbrook are Fernie Alpine Resort, and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, each about an hour’s drive away. Fernie Resort is a very large, popular ski hill, that attracts visitors from around the world. Plus, there are lots of fun things to do in Fernie in the winter as well as plenty of places to stay in Fernie if you choose to stay the night.

Fairmont is much smaller in terms of trails, but offers the unique combination of skiing for the day and then winding down at the hot springs!

Other options for skiing and snowboarding are at Panorama Mountain Resort (one of the best things to do in Invermere), Schweitzer Mountain Resort, or Whitefish Ski Resort. All great options if you have a bit of time to drive and check them out.

We promise, hitting the slopes here is an experience you won’t forget!

Related read: Check out our blogs about other popular ski destinations in Canada including Banff, Jasper, Canmore, Vernon, and Whistler!

15. Visit Fernie

welcome to fernie sign
Welcome to Fernie!

Just an hour’s drive away from Cranbrook, Fernie makes an excellent day-trip option. Since Fernie is a world-class ski and snowboard destination, visitors from all over come to this small mountain town. This means that there are tons of things to do in Fernie!

Spend a bit of time wandering the quaint downtown, with picturesque buildings set against the dramatic mountain backdrop. If you need a break, stop into Fernie Brewing Co. or Fernie Distillers for a drink. You can also check out the Fernie Museum if you’re looking for a bit of local history.

If you’re looking for something more outdoorsy, hike a brisk 4.6 km (2.9 mi) to the stunning Fairy Creek Falls which can be enjoyed in both summer and winter. It is possible to come across black bears here so bring some mace or bear bells.

Mount Fernie Provincial Park is another for nature and activity lovers alike. They have golfing, restaurants, art galleries, mountain biking trails, and places to fish on the Elk River.

Another quaint place to go walking is Maiden Lake. It’s located right off the highway in the middle of town so it’s super convenient to visit.

Related Read: Looking for a destination over the winter holidays? Fernie is December is full of fun things to do and festive events!

Where to Stay in Cranbrook, BC

St Eugene’s Mission Resort/Casino of the Rockies
The building is beautiful and also looks kinda haunted!

There are plenty of great places to stay in Cranbrook, BC! From super affordable motels to unique resorts, Cranbrook has a huge selection when it comes to accommodation.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

End of the road B & B $ – This gorgeous family-run bed and breakfast is perfect for a quiet escape. Located 9 km (5.6 mi) from Cranbrook, this property is located in nature with hiking trails right on your doorstep. Make sure and cozy up by the fire in the shared lounge. It’s also super affordable at around $80 CAD a night, especially when you consider that a full organic breakfast is included.

Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort Best Western $$ – This Best Western Premier Collection hotel is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of Cranbrook. It is really great value considering the amenities offered including an onsite restaurant and bar serving seafood, American, and Italian cuisines as well as a swimming pool and gym. Rooms begin at $179 CAD.

St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino $$ – Already mentioned above, This is a super unique place to stay on the outskirts of Cranbrook. It has large, clean, and comfortable rooms. The property has a casino, golf course, restaurant, gym, and a pool with a sauna, steam room, and 2 hot tubs that really make this resort an attraction of its own! It can be yours for the night for around $200 CAD.

New Home on Golf Course Close to Ski Hill $$ – This holiday home rental is perfect for families or groups who all want to stay in the same place. located just outside of Cranbrook, this highly-rated home sleeps up to 6 people, and comes with a full kitchen and 2.5 bathrooms! Plus, the price is super reasonable!

You can browse the huge selection of places to stay in Cranbrook on Booking.com (great for hotels) or VRBO (the best place for epic holiday home rentals.)

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel stands beside the elephant statue in Cranbrook
Thanks for reading!

Cranbrook is not a town just to drive through but deserves to be explored in its own right. Cranbrook, BC is jam-packed with outdoor activities, great food, and historical sites that will capture your heart and build memories to last a lifetime. 

I hope this blog has helped you discover all the best things to do in Cranbrook, and will also help you have a great time!

Be sure to check out the rest of our blogs about the Columbia Valley or Canada in general. Some blogs you might like in particular include:

Easy hikes in Canmore

Fun things to do in Vancouver

The truth about Kelowna wine tours