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Fairmont, BC (also known as Fairmont Hot Springs), is a quaint, little town located right outside of Invermere. Fairmont, while small, is still a prime destination for hot springs, beautiful accommodations, dining, golf, and skiing.
Its location right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains sets it up to be an amazing experience no matter what time of year you visit!
One of the beautiful things about spending so much time in Canada is that we were able to find some hidden gems, and areas less traveled. While Fairmont does get tourists (it is home to Canada’s largest natural mineral hot springs after all), it still tends to fly slightly under the radar.
Perhaps that’s because people aren’t sure how to fill their time in a small town like Fairmont. I mean, Fairmont is a super tiny town. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun things to do here!
We’ve spent plenty of time in quaint little Fairmont. In fact, we love this town so much we actually bought a small block of land there with plans to build a home one day soon! So, it’s safe to say we know a lot about this small mountain town, and in this blog, we’ll share all of the fun things to do in Fairmont, BC. We hope that you enjoy visiting Fairmont as much as well always do!
17 Things to do in Fairmont, BC
1. Hit the slopes
As you can guess, skiing is big in most Canadian mountain towns, and Fairmont isn’t any different.
Right in the town of Fairmont, you’ll find the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ski Area. This is a smaller ski resort when compared to its neighbors in places like Golden, Invermere, and Fernie since it only has one large chairlift. With that said, it’s much cheaper at only $54 CAD for an adult day pass.
For this reason, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Ski Area is a popular ski resort with families or those who are still learning. I mean, why pay over a hundred dollars for a lift pass at other large ski resorts when you’re going to spend most of your time on the bunny hill anyways? This is why Fairmont is perfect!
For those looking for a larger ski resort, Panorama Mountain Resort is located only 35 minutes from Fairmont and has 4 large chairlifts as well as a few smaller ones for beginners. The runs range in difficulty from green all the way to double black. Overall, it’s one of the best ski resorts in the Columbia Valley.
If you don’t mind venturing a little further, there are a couple of other nearby ski resorts to check out. In the winter in Fernie, the Fernie Alpine Resort is the place to be. Fernie Alpine Resort is Fernie’s local ski hill and one of the best in Canada. The resort is huge and home to over 2,500+ acres of skiable terrain as well as 10 chairlifts, a 1082 meter verticle rise, 140+ runs, and its longest run is over 5 kilometers.
Even closer yet, is the small town of Kimberley where one of the best things to do is also skiing and snowboarding. Kimberly Alpine Resort is located in the Purcell Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains, and it is known for its sunny weather. The resort has stunning scenery all around – 1,800 acres and 80 runs worth of gorgeous views!
Regardless of where you go, if you love skiing or snowboarding, then Fairmont is the place to visit and base yourself for your winter ski holiday.
Related read: If you want to ski at an even better ski resort be sure to head to Golden, BC in winter.
2. Visit the Fairmont Hot Springs
At the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, you’ll also find some gorgeous hot springs – perfect for a warm soak after a day of adventuring on the mountains. Although these springs are privately owned and operated by the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, they are still accessible to the public even if you aren’t staying at the resort.
Fairmont does a great job at managing these hot springs, and in my opinion, they are actually nicer than the nearby Radium Hot springs (operated by Parks Canada – more on them below.) The views are the highlight but the pool is also larger. Fairmont also offers private spas for guests who want to pay more for a private experience.
For the normal pool entrance fee, expect to pay $12 CAD for adults. Opening times to the public do vary, so be sure to check their website or call before you go.
Honestly, visiting the Fairmont Hot Springs is one of the very top things to do in Fairmont, BC – so, what are you waiting for?!
3. Visit Funtasia
Funtasia is a one-of-a-kind fun park that has activities for all ages located right in Fairmont town. Bumper cars, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and an animal pet park!
The animals are absolutely adorable! You can feed and pet horses, goats, donkeys, alpacas, and bunnies. I personally could do this activity in itself all day.
Oh, and did I mention how neat the golf course is? It is located in a forest, so the greens flow around rocks and large tree trunks. It’s super unique and offers a nice challenge.
Admission prices vary by age and activity starting at $9.50 CAD, but they offer great value packages that include multiple activities so you can save!
Chances are you’ll work up an appetite having all of that fun! If you’re visiting during their summer months (June-August) you can check out Funtasia’s Greenhouse and Garden Bistro where they offer light refreshments, salads, and smoothies made from the produce grown in their greenhouse and veggie garden.
Keep in mind that hours vary by season. They are open daily with summer hours from 10 am to 6 pm, and spring/fall hours Thursday-Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.
4. Float on the Columbia River
One of the lesser-known things to do in Fairmont,BC is the river float. The Columbia River float was the first activity I ever did after arriving in Fairmont. And wow, what an introduction! This is by far the most beautiful river float I’ve done in Canada.
The river float starts in one of two locations in Fairmont town (mentioned below) and has you drifting at a slow pace on the Columbia River through the town along the golf courses and houses. The entire way there are breathtaking views of the mountains.
The best part is that if you have your own tube or floatie, then this activity is completely free!
The river float is very relaxing and even small children can enjoy the float safely with a lifejacket and parent supervision. If you don’t have your own tube you can rent one in town at the small gas station in Fairmont.
Unfortunately, there is no river shuttle so you’ll need two cars, one parked where you end and one where you start (unless someone in your group isn’t joining you then they can just drop you off and pick you up.)
Where to start and end the river float
There are two entry points to the Columbia River float. The first is along Columbia River Road, it will give you the longest time floating in the river. To find the exact location drive until you make two sharp turns like an S bend down a steep hill. Just after this turn is the drop-off point. From here the float takes just over 2 hours in spring and up to 4 hours at the end of summer.
The second and shorter option starts near the Spruce Grove Campground along the Kootenay Highway. I’ve personally never started from here but have heard it takes under 1.5 hours in the spring and under 3 hours in the summer.
The end of the float is along River Drive. In the middle of summer, you’ll see lots of people getting off and parked here, but the location is also on the map above.
5. Go hiking
There are so many great trails located around Fairmont. The great thing is no matter what experience or difficulty level you desire, there is a hike for you!
Fairmont Creek Waterfall Hike is a very popular, easy hike that is very family-friendly. The trail is about 1 km (.6 miles), and can be combined with either Geary Lookout or Overlook Trail to create a loop if you’re looking to add a little more distance.
If you want something slightly more challenging, and considered moderate, you can take on Poet’s Trail which is about 1.8 km (1.1 miles). This trail connects the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with the townsite. While you’re hiking, be sure to enjoy the poems that are posted on the trees!
Finally, if you’re really looking for a challenge you can hike Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail which is a 25 km (16-mile) trail suitable for a half-full day adventure! It’s a long trail, but it’s also well-maintained and paved. It runs parallel to the road, so you can expect beautiful mountain and forest views.
6. Eat at Fairmont Pizza & Ice Cream Parlour
Pizza and ice cream…name a better duo, I’ll wait. But seriously, I’m mentioning it because it’s just that good. If you’re visiting Fairmont, make sure not to leave without experiencing Fairmont Pizza and Ice Cream Parlour.
They have any type of pizza you could possibly dream of! Tex Mex, Cheeseburger, Greek! And those are just the ones with normal sauce. They have a whole separate category for specialty sauce pizzas. I’m almost determined to try them all.
For those with gluten intolerance, there’s no need to skip this spot! Fairmont Pizza and Ice Cream Parlour offers gluten-free pizza and ice cream cone options.
Speaking of which, don’t forget to save room for dessert! They have a variety of cold treats you are going to want to try regardless of the season!
Fun fact: the average Canadian enjoys close to 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of ice cream every year. That’s around 85 scoops! A little cold weather certainly isn’t stopping them!
Fairmont Pizza and Ice Cream Parlour is open daily from noon to 9 pm.
7. Enjoy a beach day
On those warm days in Fairmont, the best place to hang out is at the beach! And you aren’t short of options, there are four beaches within short driving distance of Fairmont for you to choose from.
Windermere Beach is just a quick 15 minutes away. This beach is especially great for family fun if you have the kids along, aside from the beautiful beach it also has large grassy areas and a playground.
A little further north, near Invermere, is Kinsmen Beach and James Chabot Provincial Park. Both of these are located on Lake Windermere as well. Kinsmen is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. It has a water park, concession, and swim platforms with slides. If you’re looking to do more than just sunbathe, Kinsmen Beach is your spot!
Canal Flats Provincial Park is the farthest, but still just 25 minutes away (in the opposite direction of the other three). This beach is on Columbia Lake near the village of Canal Flats. There is a boat launch, picnic grounds, and it’s a great fishing location! This lake is also usually the least busy – an important thing to consider in the busy summer months.
The great thing about all of these beaches is they are all unique, and each offers something different. So whether you’re looking to just relax in the sun or go splash around at a water park, there’s going to be something nearby to fit the bill.
8. Visit Lussier Hot Springs
Lussier Hot Springs is about a 45-minute drive south of Fairmont, but I promise it’s worth the drive. You will find the springs located in the Kootney Mountains in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. This is one of the best free activities to do in Fairmont, and you can do it year-round!
Don’t forget your bathing suit, because you’re definitely going to want to take a dip! The hot springs have three rock-walled, gravel bottom pools that flow into an adjacent river. Although these walls and bottoms are somewhat man-made, the rest of the pools are not, so they look and feel like “wild hot springs.”
To get to the springs you will need to go down a well-maintained dirt road, and then travel a short hike down a maintained trail with wooden railings. Because the springs are easily accessible, this can be a great activity for the whole family.
The upper pool is usually around 47°C (118°F), but can get as low as 34°C (94°F). As the pools cascade down the spring seems to get slightly cooler. And if you want, you can jump in the river for a cold plunge to cool off!
The springs can get heavily trafficked, so I recommend trying to go early in the day during the week if possible. If you are in need of a changing room or restroom you can find them in the parking right off of the road (a 5-minute walk to the springs). Don’t expect anything fancy though, think more of out-houses and old wooden stalls. No large facility here. In fact, don’t even expect cell phone service.
Related Read: Lussier Hot Springs is one of the best stops on the drive from Calgary to Kimberley – find out what the others are!
9. Go on a tubing/wakeboarding tour
If renting your own boat sounds a little stressful you can also book this Airbnb experience with our Airbnb host named Mike. That way you can relax while someone else does all the hard work.
He has a beautiful ski boat and their experience costs only $200 per person for 4 hours of fun on Columbia Lake. The boat is much nicer than the rentals and you won’t need a designated driver or need to rent extra equipment for wakeboarding and tubing.
Because the tour is on Airbnb Experience it’s much cheaper than you’d expect to pay elsewhere. The best part? You only need two people to book the tour.
10. Head up Swansea Mountain
If you want to enjoy one of the best views of the Columbia Valley then you simply must take a drive or hike up Swansea Mountain. Located only a short drive from Fairmont, Swansea Mountain is a recreational area popular among hikers and mountain bikers who use the access road up to access a range of downhill trails.
At the bottom of the mountain, there is a small car park and recreational area with picnic tables. From here you can either park and hike up Swansea Mountain, or take your vehicle further to the summit carpark.
To reach the summit parking lot you’ll need a high clearance 2wd vehicle or a 4wd, with the latter being the recommended. From the top parking lot, you’ll still need to walk for around 15 minutes to reach the true summit via a 700-meter trail with a 105-meter elevation gain.
From the bottom parking lot, the summit is best reached on the Mount Swansea Double Peak Loop which is a 12.6-kilometer (7.8-mile) loop track with a 750-meter elevation gain that starts from the parking lot. This trail takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete with breaks and takes you to more than one amazing viewpoint of the valley.
Regardless of what way you choose to visit the Swansea Summit, this is the best way to get amazing views of the valley and one of the best things to do in Fairmont, BC.
Important: The area around Swansea Mountain is bear country so always carry bear spray and hike in groups. Also, to access the parking area and access road you must arrive from Windermere Loop Road as Westroc Road (you’ll see what I mean on Google maps) is an active mining road preventing public access.
10. Visit Invermere
Invermere is an excellent day trip from Fairmont, and as I said, it’s just a short 20-minute drive! You really won’t have trouble filling your day with activities.
A couple of my favorite things to do when visiting Invermere are grabbing a beer from Arrowhead Brewing Company (if you like IPAs, get their “I’m so Freakin Hoppy IPA” and thank me later), and experience one (or several) Taynton Bay Spirits heavenly infused liquors.
The distillery is most famous for its infused vodkas and has flavors such as Ginger Matcha Tea, Strawberry Herbal Tea, and Blueberry Rooibos. These infused vodkas are around 18% alcohol and taste great straight or mixed. They even offer a very generous free tasting that just about covers every product they sell.
You may or may not have a solid buzz after my first two suggestions, but don’t leave Invermere without checking out James Chabot Provincial Park.
Bailey and I love heading down here with a picnic lunch and getting a shady spot on the grass. We literally sit back and watch the entire day pass by while cooling down in the lake when needed. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Invermere and a must in my opinion!
The park is located right in town and is completely free to visit. There is a large carpark in the provincial park, however, on really hot days you’ll need to arrive early to get a spot. There is also a toilet block and a change room.
11. Visit Radium Hot Springs
In the Columbia Valley which Fairmont sits, the most popular attraction is the Radium Hot Springs. The springs, which are fed by natural spring water, flow into a manmade pool where visitors can relax with beautiful views.
The springs are actually in Kootenay National Park so they’re owned by Parks Canada which keeps the entrance fee low at $8 CAD for adults. This is only one of three hot springs owned by Parks Canada and although it’s my least favorite (the Banff and Miette hot springs are stunning) it’s still a great attraction near Fairmont worth checking out.
The best part though is that this is the perfect activity all year round with winter actually being the better time to visit!
To reach the springs you’ll need to drive 25 minutes to the small town of Radium. From here, head out of town towards Kootenay National Park, and the springs are on your right with the overflow carpark on your left.
Radium is actually a great place to stay in the Columbia Valley with plenty of accommodation options including some absolutely amazing Airbnbs in Radium Hot Springs you’ll really want to check out!
There are also lots of fun things to do in Radium – there’s more to this village than just the hot springs!
12. Go golfing
From Fairmont, there are over 10 golf courses within a short driving distance. This makes golf one of the most popular things to do in Fairmont in the summer months.
Of course, not all the courses are the same, and depending on why you’re here, you’ll want to pick the course right for you. Below are a few I recommend checking out:
Greywolf Golf Course: If you’ve come to Fairmont to experience a once-in-a-lifetime golfing experience then you simply must head to Greywolf Golf Course. Located only 40 minutes from Fairmont, Greywolf is a world-renowned course rated as one of the top 15 courses in Canada and the number one public course in BC! Surrounded by mountains the course is home to the “Cliffhanger Hole” which is considered one of the best in the world.
The Ridge at Copper Point: If you’re keen for a game of golf but have other commitments then consider playing 18 holes at The Ridge at Copper Point. The course is located only a short 15-minute drive from Fairmont and is only a par -62 Masters Course meaning a game can be completed in under 3 hours. Don’t be fooled by the short course though, it’s still one of the best in the valley!
Eagle Ranch Golf Course: For a breathtaking round of golf few places are as beautiful as the Eagle Ranch Golf Gorse. This par-72 course is famous for its two main landscapes that include the open fairways in the valley as well as the quiet mini canyons. The course is also only 20 minutes from Fairmont.
13. Go ziplining (Valley Zipline Adventures)
Where are all my adrenaline seekers at? This one’s for you! Valley Zipline Adventures is not for the faint-hearted, with a roue of 7 zip lines over a section of 2000 feet! While you’re high up in the air, you can take in the stunning views of the Dry Gulch Valley.
If you want to try another height-defying activity, check out the 32-foot climbing wall or the 35 Jump Tower… Basically, you can just climb up things and jump off things! It’s just like being a kid again.
Valley Zipline Adventures is about a 20-minute drive from Fairmont. The price for the Zipline experience is $84 CAD/adult. If you’re looking for something even more, Valley Zipline Adventures partners with other businesses in the area, so you can bundle your zipline experience with a Segway tour, massage, beer tasting, ATV adventure, or white-water rafting, among others. These options can be an additional $30-$100CAD on top of the zipline price, depending on what you choose.
14. Visit the Hoodoos
Hoodoos are formed from erosion and around Canada, you can see them especially near places like Drumheller in Alberta.
I’ve personally seen the Hoodoos in Drumheller and although the Hoodoos in Fairmont don’t quite compare, they’re still cool to see. The first way to see the Hoodoos is from Highway 93/95. From the road and pull-over bays, you get great views of the Hoodoos.
However, if you want to get closer then the Hoodoo trail is one of the best ways to explore them and it’s only a 3.2 kilometer (2 mile) out and back trail.
Although you can see the Hoodoos from the highway, the trail gives you another perspective and an amazing view of the valley. I’d allow around 2 hours to complete the track and spend some time at the top.
The trail starts on Westside Road off Highway 93/95.
15. Ice skate or cross country ski on Lake Windermere
If you’re in Fairmont during winter, skating or cross-country skiing on Lake Windermere is (literally) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It holds the Guinness Book of Records for the longest skating pathway in the world, so you can’t find anything else like it.
The Lake Windermere Whiteway is a 29.98-kilometer (18.6-mile) frozen trail, created back in 2006 to help connect communities during the wintertime. It has two starting points – Kinsmen Beach in Invermere and Windermere Beach – both of which are about a 25-minute drive from Fairmont.
The Whiteway is maintained by the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club, and it is groomed for cross-country and skate skiing, with another path cleared for ice skating. Access to the Whiteway is $5 CAD and rentals are available in the town of Invermere.
As one of the most popular winter activities in Fairmont, skating on this record-holding lake is something you don’t want to miss!
16. Explore Kootenay National Park
Fairmont, BC is only a short drive from one of the best national parks in Canada – Kootney National Park. There’s plenty to do and see in Kootney National Park including top-rated hikes and stunning canyons.
One of the best places to visit in Kootney National Park is Marble Canyon. This is a quick 30-minute stop that’ll have you exploring a canyon filled with bright blue water. You’ll walk along the canyon’s edges and across various bridges before looping back around to the beginning.
If you want a more challenging hike, head to the famous Floe Lake. This lake is part of the longer Rockwell Trail (typically done over 3 days.) However, experienced hikers can hike to Floe Lake and back again in just a day.
Stunning views are par-for-the-course in this corner of BC, but sometimes you just need to get a different vantage point to really enjoy it.
If you are looking for a photo-op or romantic sunset view, take a drive up the BC-93 northeast for about 40 minutes. You can pull over at the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint to take in the sweeping, panoramic views of the Mitchell and Vermillion mountain ranges. No hiking is required here, it’s a drive-up viewpoint. This is one of my favorite viewpoints near Fairmont – well worth checking out!
17. Go mountain biking
If you missed out on hitting the slopes, don’t worry, you can still have an adventure on two-wheels! Try out the endless mountain biking and trail-riding options in this region! There are over 150 mountain bike trails, and another 61 trails appropriate for e-bikes (flatter, easier rides).
Trails are grouped into networks around the region, including Panorama Mountain Resort, Swansea Mountain Recreation Site, or Lillian Lake. These areas are all within an hour of Fairmont.
Trails are coded similar to ski runs, with green, blue, black, and double black diamond coding for the level of difficulty. Make sure to do some advance planning and choose an option to your comfort and skill level.
Where to Stay in Fairmont, BC
Hotel and Rental Options in Fairmont
Fairmont Mountain Bungalows: This is a great budget-friendly option that definitely gives you the most bang for your buck! Each bungalow is a furnished cottage that features a patio with mountain views, a kitchen and dining area, and even a barbecue. They have economy, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom options available.
Mountain View Suites at Fairmont Hot Springs: For more of a mid-range budget the Mountain View Suites may be more your style. They offer rooms with pool or mountain views, and even have a water park on-site! Perfect for summer family fun.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort: If you’re willing to splurge on an accommodation that offers amazing amenities such as in-room soaker tubs, cozy fireplaces, seasonal activities like yoga or kayaking, and of course, access to the mineral hot springs, then Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is the place to stay! It’s also a small ski resort, so staying here puts you right in the center of all the action.
If you’re traveling with a group, sometimes renting a home can be more cost-effective. This beautiful home overlooking Columbia Lake Valley sleeps 8 comfortably. You are going to be 13 km (8 miles) south of Fairmont, but the views and cozy space make up for it.
You can browse all of the hotels available in Fairmont here.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
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 is relatively cheap especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
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!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $29 and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part though? It comes in pink!
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in hand so many times especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $27 and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Before you go…
Fairmont is definitely an underrated destination in my humble opinion, and it’s definitely worth the stop! I hope that this post has inspired you to check this beautiful town out, and explore all of the fun things to do in Fairmont, BC!
Thanks so much for reading our guide to the best things to do in Fairmont, BC. If you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out all our other Canada blogs or these related articles below!