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33 FUN Things to do in Fernie, BC (2024 Guide!)

33 FUN Things to do in Fernie, BC (2024 Guide!)

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Fernie is a hidden gem nested in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful little mountain towns I’ve come across in Canada!

Fernie is actually the only town in all of BC that is completely surrounded by the Rockies. That means incredible mountain views wherever you look – even if you’re just wandering through the cute downtown area to explore some of the boutique shops or pop into a great restaurant or coffee shop.

To get here, you’ll need to head to the southeast corner of BC near the Alberta border. In fact, it’s only a 3-hour drive from Calgary!

Fernie is gaining popularity as an alternative to other well-known destinations like BanffLake Louise, and Canmore. However, it hasn’t lost that small-town charm.

While winter is a prime time to visit, Fernie is a true all-season destination. The scenery around here looks like something off of a postcard – whether it’s dusted with snow or not!

Summer means camping, whitewater rafting, golf with a mountain view, and of course, delicious ice cream. In the colder months, Fernie is a winter wonderland with an incredible ski resort and hiking or snowshoeing to frozen waterfalls, As you can tell, we haven’t run out of things to do in Fernie whenever we visit!

To help you plan your visit to Fernie, we’ve compiled a list of 33 things you can do here. Whether you pick only a few off the list or return several times to try them all, I hope you’ll enjoy Fernie as much as we did!

Things to do in Fernie, BC

1. Hit the slopes at the Fernie Alpine Resort

Bailey skis at Fernie Alpine Resort
Down I go!
Fernie Alpine Resort during winter in Canada
It’s a huge mountain!

Fernie is a destination that truly shines in the winter and if you’re here when there’s snow on the ground, the Fernie Alpine Resort should be your first stop!

Fernie gets an incredible 30 feet (9 meters) of snow from November to April every year. That makes for amazing skiing and snowboarding conditions.

I visited Fernie in December and headed straight to the resort for some skiing. This is a HUGE resort with more than 2,500 acres of skiing terrain, 10 chairlifts, 142 runs, and a 3,550-foot (1,082-meter) vertical rise. This winter playground is known for having the most snow, the most runs, and the biggest vertical in the Rocky Mountains!

Now if you’re wondering how could it get better, well I have news for you. Canadian winters can be brutally cold, but Fernie actually has an average winter temp of -5 °C (23 °F). That makes it warmer than other skiing destinations like Banff in the winter and Jasper in the winter which can be much colder.

The Fernie Alpine Resort is great for all levels too. I tend to stick to the green and blue runs, but there are plenty of black and double black options along with backcountry runs in the trees and alpine bowls.

My favorite run starts from the White Pass chairlift heading down Currie Powder onto Gilmar Trail and then down Diamond Back. It’s blue the entire way but a really fun run!

Lift tickets at Fernie Alpine Resort start at $124 CAD for adults, $99 CAD for seniors, $93 CAD for youths, and $50 CAD for children. However, prices are more expensive on weekends and peak holiday periods. You can also get discounts if you book online in advance, so I highly recommend doing that if you can.

2. Have a beer at Fernie Brewing Company

Bailey enjoys a beer at Fernie Brewing Company
Two beers at Fernie Brewing Company, BC

I can’t resist a great craft beer and Fernie has a fantastic local brewery. I’ve actually been a fan of Fernie Brewing Co for a while – long before I visited in person. Their beer is that good!

You’ll find the brewery on the outskirts of town not far from the Fernie Visitor Center. The tasting room is huge and has those mountain views Fernie is famous for. If you’re here in the summer, grab a spot on the patio – there’s even a “dog parking” area where your furry friend can hang out nearby.

All their beers, ales, and lagers use Rocky Mountain water, barley, malt, and hops, along with some unique flavors for seasonal and specialty brews. I’m a huge fan of their Grapefruit IPA. They always have 12 beers on tap, so you’ll definitely find something you like.

The tasting room is open from 12-7 pm Sunday to Wednesday and from 12-8 pm Thursday to Saturday.

3. Visit Mount Fernie Provincial Park 

Camping at Mount Fernie Provincial Park 
Camping is the best way to enjoy the park!

Not far from Fernie (about 5 minutes from town) is Mount Fernie Provincial Park. If you’re looking for a scenic spot to hike or camp, this is one of my favorites.

The park itself is around the base of Mount Fernie (of course!), surrounded by forest, and has a creek that flows right through it ending in a waterfall.

The huge network of trails is popular for hiking and mountain biking. The Old Growth Trail is a personal favorite – the mountain views along the way make the uphill parts worth it! It’s a 4.8 km (3 miles) out-and-back trail that should take about 1 hour and 40 mins to complete. The towering old trees along here are hundreds of years old and will make you feel small!

Just a note that if you’re camping or hiking around here, you’ll need to be aware of wildlife. Deer, elk, and black bears are common, so good to have some bear spray on hand and ensure you stay on marked trails and don’t hike in the dark.

If you really want to take your time to explore the park, we recommend spending the night at one of the many campsites. You can make a reservation on the BC Parks website up to two months in advance, or simply rent a campsite on the day, on a first-come-first-served basis. It’s super affordable as well, at only $30 CAD per party per night.

We loved the camping sites because of all the facilities there. We had access to washrooms, showers, firepits, and picnic tables. Many a roasted marshmallow was eaten, I promise!

Related Read: If you’re looking for an awesome biking trail, head to Kimberley, BC to check out the train corridor that was converted to a paved trail.

4. Go white water rafting 

Bailey white water rafting in Fernie, BC
So much fun!

For one of the adventurous activities in BC, take in the views from the water and get your adrenaline rush in with a rafting trip! Fernie has some of the most scenic white-water rafting tours in BC.

I never miss the chance to go whitewater rafting, and Canyon Raft Company is my pick when I’m in Fernie. What’s nice is that they offer two levels of tours depending on the adventure you’re looking for – either “River Mild” or “River Wild”. Both tours have professional guides along and will take you down either the Elk River or the Bull River.

We personally preferred the River Mild tour, which was the more scenic option, and is good for beginners. This tour takes you along the Upper Elk River, where you can take in stunning views of Mount Hosmer. It lasts for about half a day and is a great mix of calmer waters and Grade 3 rapids, which let you get a little taste of adrenaline without being too demanding.

If you have some white-water rafting experience under your belt, the River Wild tour is a full-day experience. You’ll navigate the Class 4 rapids of the Lower Elk River and Bull River through rugged canyon landscapes. You can even go for a swim or go cliff jumping to amp up the adrenaline. 

The River Mild tour costs $100 CAD and the River Wild tour is $175 CAD. Kids can join in too at a reduced rate. The price includes everything you’ll need to make this the experience of a lifetime – we got all the gear we needed, great guides, and even had a tasty lunch by the river! 

5. Play a round of golf 

A hole at Fernie Golf Club with mountain views
Photo credit: Fernie Golf Club

The legendary Fernie Golf Club is part of the top 25 best golf courses in BC, so if you’re looking to hit the links while in town, make sure to drop in.

Everything is emerald green and perfectly maintained and you’re playing in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. You can always say you were distracted by the view if you miss a shot …. I might be guilty of that a time or two!

The 18-hole course has a nice, varied layout, sprinkled with water hazards, trees, bushes, and silica sand bunkers. Some holes are a bit more challenging, without being impossible to complete. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a veteran golfer – anyone can have fun at this golf club.  

Here, we also found out that there’s a local legend behind the golf club’s mysterious logo. Their iconic logo depicts one of the mountain sides which you can admire while playing golf, as well as the ghostly image of a horse rider, said to appear on that mountainside in the summer. Don’t worry, it’s probably just a myth… or is it? 

Prices differ depending on the day and time, so make sure you check their fee rates ahead of time. Don’t worry, all the staff here are helpful and friendly and will make sure you are having a great time no matter what. If you are lucky, you may even spot some wildlife roaming about – we spotted some foxes around here! 

Related Read: Golfers shouldn’t miss out on the nearby courses (with epic views!) in Cranbrook, BC!

6. Stay at the Island Lake Lodge 

Island Lake as seen from the Island Lake Lodge Fernie, BC
Photo credit: Island Lake Lodge
Island Lake Lodge views from a balcony of the Mountains
Photo credit: Island Lake Lodge

Island Lake Lodge is one of the best accommodations in Canada for a rustic holiday deep within the spectacular Rocky Mountains.  

Located just 10 km (6.2 miles) away from Fernie, Island Lake Lodge is especially popular during the winter. When snow is at its peak, the area becomes a worldwide renowned hub for catskiing. If you don’t know what catskiing is, it has nothing to do with real cats! Skiiers use tracked vehicles known as snowcats to go waaaaay up in the mountains to find fresh powder and steep slopes you couldn’t otherwise get to.

The lodge’s multi-day cat skiing tours are super popular – like there are even waitlists! People come from all over the world to take in these multi-day tours. The tours are pricey ranging from $2,300-$7,300 CAD depending on the length of tour and time of year you go, but it does include all accommodation, meals, and equipment.

Catskiing is only available here from December to April, but the lodge is open all year long. It is a lovely place for a retreat in summer or even just for dining, especially since the atmosphere is quite romantic. The spa is also a lovely treat, and the views you get when you dine at one of the tables in front of the lodge are straight out of a dream! 

While at the lodge, you can also try out the Island Lake Trail, on foot or by mountain bike. You’ll be walking (or biking) through alpine forests on the 5.5 km (3.4 miles) trail with some nice views of the mountains on the way.

7. Take the Elk Summer Sightseeing Chairlift up Fernie Alpine Resort 

View from the top fo the Fernie Alpine Resort Sightseeing Gondola
Photo credit: Fernie Alpine Resort

While Fernie Alpine Resort is a must-visit destination in the winter, you can visit in the summer too. You won’t be skiing, but instead, you’ll get to take in the views with a ride on The Elk Chairlift.

Hop on the lift and let yourself be carried upwards through some of the most beautiful alpine landscapes you’ll ever see. You’ll get to admire the rugged Rocky Mountains and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some of the local wildlife!  

When we got to the top of the ride, we were welcomed by some of the gorgeous views around Fernie, especially the ones marked with “FAR Out Views” signs (if you see one of those signs, it just means you’ve found your next Instagram photo background). 

The way back can be done via chairlift as well, but you can also hike down the mountain on one of the many guided trails in the area, such as the Old Growth Magical Forest trail or the Griz Face. Do keep in mind that you need to book the hikes in advance! We personally wanted to enjoy the chairlift ride one more time, but if you’re an explorer at heart, don’t miss out on these beautiful forest hikes. 

The chairlift operates between June and September and a full-day pass is $30.95 CAD for adults, $24.95 CAD for youth aged 13-17 and seniors, and $15.95 CAD for children aged 6-12. If you are traveling with your family, you can purchase the family ticket for $71.95 CAD. Make sure to check the full summer lift tickets list in advance.

Related Read: For more stunning views that don’t require any hiking, check out all the gondolas in Banff!

8. Go mountain biking 

Mountain biking at Fernie Alpine Resort
The trails are so much fun!

While most hikes can be done on foot, we definitely recommend challenging your inner adventurer to one of the many mountain biking trails in the area. There are hundreds of trails for you to choose from in Fernie’s very own bike park, ranging from beginner-friendly ones to all-mountain trails. 

While all trails will have at least a bit of incline, some higher-difficulty ones may also have steep climbs, sharp turns, and roots or rocks to bypass. They are not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure! 

For those looking to challenge themselves, the Castle Mountain Trail area features a variety of trails. I’d recommend the Hyper Ventilation or Castle Rocks trails for anyone looking for a challenge and the Montane Trails for beginner and intermediate bikers.

Combine two activities on our list by taking the Elk Chairlift up the mountain to check out the trails at the top. They even allow you to bring your bike on the lift!

If you’re looking for something a little more hardcore, you can skip the chairlift ride and test your endurance with the recently added uphill bike route! Make sure to buy a valid Uphill Enduro Bike Park access ticket, which is about $35.95 CAD for adults. It’s quite a challenge so we recommend doing it only if you are super confident in your biking skills. 

Most downhill trails are free to access, but we recommend making at least a small donation to the dedicated local groups that manage these trails. 

If you don’t have a mountain bike with you – don’t worry. Fernie has plenty of bike rental shops where you can get all the gear you need for your biking adventure. Prices may vary but you should expect to pay around $175 CAD for a full-day bike package including a helmet and additional gear like arm and leg pads.

9. Hike to Fairy Creek Falls 

Fairy Creek Falls in Fernie, BC during winter
Fairy Creek Falls in Fernie, BC, during winter!

Fairy Creek Falls is yet another example of why Fernie is one of the best places to visit in BC. This stunning waterfall is just outside of town and pretty easy to get to – no all-day hike or anything.

The falls are most spectacular in late spring/early summer when the melting snow and frequent rainfall increase the water levels. This is when Fairy Creek Falls is at its fiercest – so you’ll get that thundering waterfall that is awe-inspiring to see up close!

However, this trail can be hiked in the winter like the first time I visited. The waterfall sits frozen in time, which is really beautiful to see. It can get icy near the end of the trail, so you may want to have some ice cleats/crampons along for extra grip.

The trail to get to Fairy Creek Falls starts at the Fernie Visitor Center (the next stop on our list!) and is a relatively easy 4.5 km (3 miles) hike. This activity is perfect for the whole family and can easily be undertaken even by young children, as the terrain is quite gentle with some incline. 

10. Visit the Fernie Visitor Center

Display at Fernie visitor center
It’s cool to see and they all died of natural causes.
A stuffed bear at Fernie Visitor Center

While visitor centers don’t typically make my list of must-dos in a place, Fernie’s is an exception. The Fernie Visitor Center is filled with great information for your visit – like updated trail and weather info.

Plus the experts on hand can break down trail conditions for you – this was really helpful for our winter hikes so we knew what we were getting into.

In addition, there’s a neat taxidermy animal display to wander through. The display features local wildlife including a bear, cougar, and wolves. It’s nice to see these animals so close – but in a safe way! I think kids especially would enjoy it.

The Fernie Visitor Center is typically open Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s closed on weekends in the late fall and late spring but does open on Saturdays during ski season from December to April and is open on weekends during the summer.

11. Hike Heiko’s Trail

Heiko’s Trail Fernie, BC
What a view!

If you’re a hiking enthusiast (like me!) and up for a challenge we recommend taking on one of Fernie’s epic alpine hikes called Heiko’s Trail. It’s got everything you could imagine: waterfalls, spectacular canyons, cliffs, unique wildlife … you won’t want to put your camera down! 

I’ll warn you that this is NOT an easy hike and it’s quite long too. Heiko’s Trail (previously called Mountain Lakes Trail) is 20 km (12.5 miles) one way and takes around 8-10 hours. This trail was created back in the early 2000s by famous Fernie resident Heiko Socher who wanted a trail through this beautiful area and one didn’t exist.

The trail is almost completely uphill for the first 2 km (1.2 miles) including ladders and bridges. Then you’ll pass by Bisaro Cave which is a HUGE cave you can walk through and Bisaro Canyon – which you can cross over thanks to steel bridges that were flown in here by helicopter!

You’ll also pass through wildflower meadows (peak wildflower time is in August), rocky terrain, and with an elevation gain of almost 4,000 feet (1,200 meters), you know there are some epic views along the way!

Because this is a difficult hike, it’s not super popular. If you’re looking for a remote hike where you won’t meet a ton of other hikers – this is it. This does mean you could encounter more wildlife though – definitely make sure you have bear spray and take other normal hiking precautions including bringing along tons of water to drink. Some people choose to split the hike up by camping partway through – but that is at your own risk. There are no formal campsites.

The hike starts around Hartley Lake Road and ends at Island Lake Lodge. I recommend having two vehicles for this hike so you can leave one at the lodge for when you finish the hike. I also would advise doing your research on this hike ahead of time – make sure you have a map and you can also use the Trailforks website or app to track your progress on the route to ensure you don’t get lost.

NOTE: Make sure you check trail conditions before setting out. Typically this hike is doable from late June to early September, but some years the snowfall has made the trail impassable until late July.

12. Walk the Ancient Cottonwood Trail 

Fernie is most well-known for its impressive natural landscapes and the Ancient Cottonwood Trail is no exception. This is an adventure through the world’s oldest grove of cottonwood trees!

The start of the 2 km (1.2 mile) trail is located a 10–15-minute drive away from Fernie. Once you drive across the bridge over Elk River, you’ll cross some railway tracks and find the parking area. 

You’ll start the trail by going through some of the newer, lush green forests in the area, and then walk over a few bridges that lead into the areas with the largest trees. Their emerald-green canopies reach up to 165 feet (50 meters) above the ground, making for dizzying, awe-inspiring scenery. 

The trail is open all year round (if the weather allows it), but we recommend hiking it during summer when you can enjoy the greenery in its most beautiful form.   

The trail itself is easy to undertake, making it perfectly suited even for beginner hikers. However, we noticed that there were quite a lot of overgrown areas, which makes this trail not very wheelchair/stroller friendly if that’s what you’re looking for.  

Along the way, we also found many signs which tell stories about the local flora and fauna. They also talk about the ecosystems and the importance of preserving them as they are. Make sure to give them a quick read! 

Related Read: One of my favorite trails through giant old trees is Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. It’s so majestic!

13. Drink amazing cocktails at Fernie Distillers

Drinking a cocktail at Fernie Distillery
The cocktails are strong so don’t plan to drive afterwards!

After all that hiking, reward yourself with a drink at Fernie Distillers. The craft cocktails here are amazing – although I’ll warn you they are strong!

The distillery is right in town and we popped in before dinner one night. The cocktails were so strong, I was definitely a little tipsy before heading off to our supper reservation!

My favorite cocktail was the Bathtub Time Machine followed by the Fort Steele-Aged Saphire. They have a huge selection though, so it’s hard to choose. There are also straight spirits that you can taste individually if that’s more your thing.

If you happen to be here over the weekend, Fernie Distillers offers tours including tastings at 1 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The 1-hour tours are $25 CAD per person and can be booked online. You’ll get a real behind-the-scenes look at how these delicious drinks are made!

Fernie Distillers is open Wednesday to Saturday from 4-10 pm and Sunday and Monday from 2-8 pm. They are closed on Tuesdays.

14. Hike to Montane Hut

Views from the Montane Hut
The views from the Montane Hut!

For a worthwhile hike that isn’t too hard and has some incredible views, I loved the hike up the Montane Hut! We did this hike in the winter and we didn’t even need crampons or snowshoes.

The trail is 4 km (2.5 miles) each way and should take about 4 hours total – depending on how long you spend at the top. I will say that the trail is not the easiest to follow if you’ve never hiked it before though. We stopped at the visitor center to grab a map and directions which were SO helpful.

If you aren’t able to pop into the visitor center for help, this online map shows the way. You’ll want to take either the blue (preferred) or purple trails leading to the hut. You’ll start your hike from the parking lot on Coal Creek Road and then set off for the Montane Warming Hut from there.

Once you’re at the top, the sweeping views over the valley are incredible. It’s so peaceful and gives you a chance to appreciate the natural beauty on display.

15. Wander the many art galleries and local street art

Looking at Street art in Fernie
Just some of the street art at the old salon!

It isn’t all about the great outdoors in Fernie, there’s actually a cool little art community here too. I recommend checking out the Fernie Art Walk while you’re in town.

You can pick up a map from the visitor center or follow along from your phone on this online map. You’ll see murals, sculptures, art galleries, and even painted dumpsters!

It’s a self-guided tour that can take as long as you would like it to. I’d plan for at least a couple of hours so you can pop into the galleries and explore. I typically stick around the downtown area – make sure you visit the “All Kinds of Beauty” mural while you’re there!

This is a completely free tour, although you may end up buying a piece or two along the way. There’s a great selection at Fernie Arts Co-op with work from more than 40 artists on display!

16. Hike up Mount Fernie 

View of the mountains up Mount Fernie in Fernie, BC
Get amongst nature

Just like the name suggests, this mountain is one of the most iconic sights in Fernie!

The hike to the top of Mount Fernie is considered quite difficult as it’s steep with rocky terrain near the top. A roundtrip hike takes anywhere from 3.5-5 hours as you complete the 8 km (5 mile) trek. Make sure you come prepared with proper hiking boots or even hiking poles to tackle this one!  

This spectacular trail starts at Canyon Trail Road, where there’s parking for those that drive here from Fernie (which can be done via Cedar Avenue). Once on the trail, you’ll pass through dense, lush green forests all the way to rocky terrains sculpted by avalanches over time.

About three-quarters of the way up, there is a well-known bench where you’ll want to take a break and enjoy the view! It was the perfect spot for us to take a short rest and some stunning photos of the Three Sisters peaks. The bench also marks the beginning of the most challenging part of the climb, so lots of people finish their journey here and turn back. 

The hike can be done all year round, but in mid-winter, we recommend finishing the hike at the bench (which is most likely covered in snow) and turning around.  

For those of you who love nature and grand landscapes, and don’t shy away from a challenge, this hike is the perfect activity. Do you dare venture to the top? 

17. Shop on Mainstreet (2nd Ave)

A lady walks 2nd Ave

Fernie has one of the nicest main streets I’ve found!

As you wander down 2nd Avenue, you’ll see the gold and rose-tinted brick and sandstone buildings. That combined with mountain views, the charming atmosphere of a mountain town, and some shopping … well count me in!

I like starting at one end of 2nd Ave around 2nd Street and walking the entire avenue until 9th Street. Then crossing the street and covering the other side!

There are plenty of boutique shops to browse and coffee shops to try if you’re looking for a caffeine fix. I like doing this walk in the morning with a coffee in hand from Freshies Cafe or Rooftop Coffee Roasters.

You might even get a bit of history as you wander down 2nd Ave – look for soot and smoke remnants on some of the brick buildings. This is leftover from a massive fire that devastated the community back in 1908.

18. Cross country skiing at the Nordic Center

Cross country skiing in Canada
It’s a great workout in winter

There are cross country skiing trails all around Fernie, so it’s a fantastic activity to try during a winter visit. There are four different areas with trails that are groomed and maintained by The Fernie Nordic Society. And many of them are free to use!

The trails range from 4-25 km (2.5-15.5 miles) in length and the variety has trails well suited to both beginners and experienced skiers. Some of the most popular trails include the Fernie Alpine Resort, Montane Trails (my personal favorite), Fernie RV Resorts, and Dyke.

If you’ve never cross country skied before, I’d recommend the Elk Valley Nordic Center. There’s a huge variety of trails in sheltered forest areas and even a new warming hut! It costs $15 CAD or $25 CAD for a family to use these trails. You’ll need cash to leave in a box at one of the trailheads or purchase a pass online.

If you need skis, head to Gear Hub Sports and you can get skis, poles, and boots for $30 CAD for the day. There are discounts for multi-day rentals if you want to try a few different trails.

19. Play disc golf at Lizard’s Range Disc Golf Course 

If you’re looking for a fun activity, Lizard’s Range Disc Golf Course is open all year long! It was one of our favorite pastimes while in Fernie. 

Disc golf is very easy to get the hang of, as the rules are very similar to real golf. The game uses plastic discs (basically small frisbees) instead of golf balls, and you need to throw them into metal baskets in as few throws as possible. The course at Lizard’s Range is made to be beginner-friendly, although the Cottonwood trees surrounding the course did pose a bit of a challenge for us. 

You won’t need to pay for entry or make any reservations, but you do need to bring your own discs. Luckily, nearby shops like Gearhub or Edge of the World sell them so just stop by, get yourself some, and let the fun begin! Although the course is open throughout the day, we recommend going earlier – we found that it tends to get quite busy in the afternoons and evenings.   

The course is about 4,800 ft (1.4 km) long and contains 18 “holes” that require lots of skill and accuracy to get in just one throw. Challenge your friends and see who gets to the final hole first! 

20. Go fly fishing 

Fly fishing in Fernie, BC
Fly fishing in Fernie, BC

The Elk River is famous for its large variety of fish. Consider joining one of the many fly fishing day trips organized in the area if you want to experience the best the river has to offer. 

For a price usually between $800-1,000 CAD (depending on the tour you choose), you can get full-day access as well as a guided fly-fishing adventure on the waters of the Elk River, the Bull River, and others. The price includes a gourmet lunch to have on the river, as well as the necessary equipment (plus some spares). This tour is perfect if you are an experienced fishing enthusiast, but anyone can enjoy this experience. You’ll just need to purchase a fishing license first.

Not only will you feel the joy of catching unique fish native to the area on your own, but you’ll do so while admiring the stunning river scenery, surrounded by lush green forests and rugged mountain ranges. 

Related Read: Fishing on the Columbia River is also one of the best things to do in Golden, BC!

21. Step back in time at the Fernie Museum

Fernie Museum
Wandering the Fernie Museum

If you happen to get a rainy day in Fernie or need to warm up from the cold, pop into the Fernie Museum. There are two floors of exhibits to explore outlining Fernie’s history.

The first floor has a permanent exhibit showcasing life in Fernie over the past 140 years. This is where you can learn more about that 1908 fire if you’ve noticed the smoke and soot on old downtown buildings! The second floor has rotating exhibits that change frequently, so you’ll see something new here every time you come.

The museum is small, but we enjoyed wandering through it. It’s amazing to learn about Fernie’s history and the events that have tested this small community over the years.

The museum is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 to 4 pm and costs $5 CAD to visit.

22. Eat the best burger in Fernie at The Brickhouse 

While in Fernie, you cannot miss out on having a burger at The Brickhouse. Not only are their burgers some of the best we’ve ever had, but the atmosphere inside is just so lovely and warm. If you want to spoil yourself for the evening, this is the perfect place for you! 

The Brickhouse doesn’t just have great food, but it is also a bit of a local attraction. It was built inside one of Fernie’s most beautiful heritage buildings, a red brick building that used to be the home of the Imperial Bank of Canada. Nowadays, it’s been restored and redecorated and has become a local hub for great food, drinks, and music. 

A personal favorite here was definitely the Brie Burger, which had the perfect balance of sweet and savory – the maple glazed bacon was just amazing, and the brie turned this into a real melt-in-your-mouth goodness. I also tried the mussels which were simply delicious, especially paired with a glass of local BC wine.  

We also loved that the owners of this place are super friendly and dedicated to making sure everyone has a memorable experience while dining here. They even host weekly events such as wine evenings on Wednesdays or the legendary Brickhouse Jam Night on Thursdays. You really cannot miss this gem while visiting Fernie. 

23. Eat all the tacos and tequila at Nevados

Daniel with Tacos at Nevados in Fernie, BC
It’s so good!
Bailey with a taco at Nevados in Fernie BC

If you can’t tell already, Fernie is a small town full of delicious food! If you’re a fan of Mexican food like us, make sure to pop into Nevados.

We actually discovered this gem by chance while just wandering by. They serve a huge range of Mexican cuisine tapas-style. That means you can order lots of dishes and try a ton of great food. It turns out they are a local favorite and after tasting the tacos, we immediately knew why!

Daniel and I ordered tacos galore – fish tacos, pulled pork tacos, and the drunken beef tacos as part of their ” La Familia Taco” deal for $45 CAD. That’s 9 tacos! We also tried the ceviche which was delicious and the mussels were really good too.

24. Walk around Maiden Lake 

Another must-see while in the area is the scenic Maiden Lake, a small pool of water surrounded by the tall peaks of Mount Trinity and Mount Proctor. You’ll easily find it on the north side of Fernie, about a 20-minute walk from downtown.

The lake also happens to be one of the stops along the Main Loop Trail – one of the recreational trails around Fernie. You can choose one of these if you want to see what the town has to offer and find a trail that’s flat and easy to do even if you bring children or strollers with you.  

We found some great picnic spots around the lake which ended up being the perfect spot for having lunch with a view. You can also walk on the small rocky beach next to the lake, look for native wildlife around (especially birds!), or admire the fish swimming close to the shore.  

If you are looking for a little more action, you can also rent out some inflatable kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from local gear shops. If you come by in winter, there’s a high chance that the lake is fully frozen, which makes it perfect for some ice skating. 

25. Enjoy coffee with a view from Rooftop Coffee Roasters

Rooftop Coffee Roasters
Mmm coffee! Photo credit: Rooftop Coffee Roasters

Starting the day with a coffee is absolutely a must for me and luckily, there are some great brews to be found in Fernie. Whether you’re grabbing a coffee before your day or after a busy morning skiing, hiking, or shopping, Rooftop Coffee Roasters is my local favorite.

This is a family business that started at home (on a rooftop!) and has since evolved into a local staple with its famous light-roast coffees.

I almost always order a classic cappuccino because they do them so well here. I’m craving one already! If it’s a summer day, I’ll go for one of their iced lattes to cool off. There are also plenty of treats like croissants and danishes, so you may not be able to resist adding one to your order.

They are located right on 2nd Ave in the heart of Fernie and they have indoor and outdoor seating. You can even pick up a bag of coffee to take home.

Related Read: More of our favorite cafes can be found in Ucluelet, BC if you’re planning to explore Vancouver Island!

26. Enjoy a walk along the river at James White Park 

James White Park is the best place for a day retreat in Fernie. This is the largest park in Fernie and there’s so much to do here, whether you’re looking for fun activities to do with friends and family or just want some peace and quiet. 

In the park, you can find many recreational spots such as ball fields, tennis courts, the disc golf course I mentioned earlier, as well as dedicated areas for dogs.  

Through the park, you can also take on the Montview Hiking Trail, which follows the Elk River until it connects to a larger trail network. The trail is not usually very busy and is very easy to hike, while the atmosphere is nice and serene.

27. Do the self-guided Fernie Historic Walking Tour

Walking around Fernie Historic Area
Go and explore the beautiful architecture!

Part of what makes Fernie so interesting for me is all the local history this mountain town has. You can get a feel for this on the self-guided Fernie Historic Walking Tour.

To do this, you’ll need to grab a map from the visitor center or Fernie Museum or you can find an online copy inside the current Fernie and Elk Valley Cultural Guide.

The tour will take you to 12 stops around town starting at the old CPR Station. You’ll see the old architecture around town including the courthouse and Imperial Bank as well as find out more about some of the defining events that have really shaped what Fernie has become.

Plan for about 45 minutes to an hour for this walk and I highly recommend grabbing a coffee or iced latte to enjoy along the way.

28. Get ice cream at Happy Cow Ice Cream Inc. 

Happy Cow Fernie ice cream
Photo credit: Happy Cow Fernie
Happy Cow Icecream in Fernie
Photo credit: Happy Cow Fernie

Whether you’ve spent the day hiking or skiing, there’s never a bad time for ice cream in my books! Luckily you can chill with a yummy, frozen treat at Happy Cow Ice Cream Inc at any time of year.

This place located in the heart of Fernie has the nicest, most welcoming staff, that will help accommodate you even if you have dietary restrictions. 

Here, they serve a large variety of ice cream flavors at affordable prices, making it the perfect stop for a dessert or quick snack. One scoop is only $4 CAD (or $2.50 CAD for a kids’ size scoop) and it is normally served in a regular cone or cup. However, we recommend upgrading to a waffle cone – they are freshly made on the day, super tasty and sweet, and only $1.50 CAD extra! 

They change their flavors every day so you may find new things to try if you go there a second time. We personally tried and loved the lemon cheesecake, the raspberry sorbet, as well as the rhubarb and strawberry crumble, but nobody is stopping you from trying every single one of them!  

29. Visit the Beanpod Chocolate, Gelato, and Coffee

Browsing at Beanpod Chocolate
Looking at the old machinery and the chocolate!

We’ve covered my love of ice cream and chocolate isn’t far behind! What’s so cool is that Fernie has its own chocolatier at Beanpod Chocolate, Gelato and Coffee. The name basically lists all my favorite things!

This is one of the oldest chocolate companies in Canada that still makes chocolate the old-fashioned way from cocoa beans to chocolate bars. Organic beans are sourced directly from farmers and the chocolate has no preservatives or additives.

I love that you can even see the machines they use to make the chocolate through the glass windows! This is a highlight for kids too. Some of the equipment is over a century old.

When Daniel and I popped in, we wanted to pick up a few chocolate bars for our hike up to Montane Hut. A medium-sized chocolate bar is around $9.50 CAD which is a bit pricey, but worth it for the quality and taste.

We tried four different bars and the “Salted Dark” and “Raspberry” were my favorites. They are so many to try though, we will definitely be back. It’s a great hiking treat!

30. Spoil yourself at Spa 901

The pool at Spa 901 Fernie, BC
Photo credit: Spa 901 Fernie, BC
Spa 901 Fernie BC
Photo credit: Spa 901 Fernie, BC

For some well-deserved pampering, our pick is Spa 901. They are one of the top-rated day spas in Fernie and have an amazing hot pool. While we haven’t been in the pool yet, it’s on my list for our next visit!

Spa 901 has every spa service you could possibly want – everything from massages to manicures. They even have “pamper packages” so you can be completely spoiled!

If the hot pool is calling your name, you can take a dip for free if you spend $120 CAD or more on spa services. Or the pool is $19 CAD on its own. You’ll need to reserve a time to relax in the pool ahead of time though.

Related Read: For one of the best natural hot springs in BC, take the drive to Radium Hot Springs, BC!

31. Eat at Yamagoya Sushi   

Yamagoya Sushi  in Fernie, BC
So good!

If you want to treat yourself to some of the best sushi you’ll ever have, you cannot miss out on dining at Yamagoya Sushi.  

At this restaurant, you can try out authentic Japanese food like gyoza (fried dumplings), miso soup and of course sushi and sashimi – everything sounded so tasty we wanted to try them all! Eventually, I settled for their Fernie Sushi Roll, which was so good, especially because of the kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) inside.

The Gomae salad (with spinach and asparagus) worked great as a side, especially with a glass of Japanese whiskey. After all, if you go authentic, you might as well go all the way, right? 

If you come to Yamagoya restaurant, it won’t take long to figure out why it has been voted Best Dining Experience in Fernie every single year since its establishment. It’s the perfect place for a nice dinner date or hanging out with friends and family. Larger groups (8-12 people) can also reserve a private tatami room, which makes for a very intimate, authentic dining experience.  

Related Read: For more good eats check out the best restaurants in Invermere!

32. Go snowshoeing 

Snowshoeing in Canada

Fernie gets A LOT of snow – some winters they get 37 feet (11 meters) of the white stuff! This makes snowshoeing a fun and practical way to get around on some of the trails.

Rent a pair of snowshoes from The Guides Hut or Gear Hub and take on one of the trails in the area.

A great beginner trail is the short trek to Fairy Creek Falls from the visitor center. You can also snowshoe up to Montane Hut – although I find the snow compact enough along there that snowshoes aren’t necessary.

A route that you’ll definitely need snowshoes (and stamina!) for is the Swine Flu Trail. The trail starts from the visitor center and is a loop trail that goes high above the valley for some great views. It takes around 4 hours to snowshoe this one and it climbs up 1,100 feet (340 meters) in elevation, so I’d only recommend this 7.5 km (4.5 mile) trail for experienced hikers.

33. Go fatbiking

Fat biking in the Montane are in Fernie
Fat biking up to Montane Hut!

Biking in the winter is totally possible in Fernie if you’re on a fatbike! This is a bike with wide tires – sometimes as much as 4 inches – to make riding over the snow a breeze. And don’t worry, if you know how to ride a bike, you’ll be just fine on a fatbike.

You can rent a fatbike from Gear Hub for $15 CAD per hour or $50 CAD for the whole day. You’ll want to make sure the snowpack is good for fatbiking and the rental shops are good at pointing you toward whatever trails are best when you’re visiting.

There are specific fat biking trails in Fernie for a variety of levels. Beginners should stick to the Montane area where you can bike up to Montane Hut. Just make sure to avoid the nicely groomed cross country skiing tracks.

Experienced cyclists can find more advanced trails in Mount Fernie Provincial Park. There are two popular loop tracks there or head to Fernie Alpine Resort to try out their groomed fatbike trails

Where to Stay in Fernie, BC

A hotel at Fernie Alpine Resort
Accommodation at Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie is an awesome place to base yourself for a little mountain vacay no matter what the season! There are plenty of options in town, but these are my top picks.

For budget travelers, the Fernie Fox Hotel is a good choice. This small motel-style hotel is located on the outskirts of town but that means it’s closer to Fernie Alpine Resort and Mt Fernie Provincial Park. The hotel rooms are basic but clean and there is also a shared kitchen and hot tub (a great bonus in winter!). The nightly rate averages around $130 CAD.

If you don’t mind spending a little more you can get yourself a really nice hotel in town. The Park Place Lodge stands out as a great hotel only a few blocks from the historic area of Fernie. The rooms are certainly more luxurious and cost around $155 CAD a night although you’re mainly paying for the location and the included breakfast. The hotel also has a gym and pool as well as a bar downstairs (The Pub Bar & Grill.)

For luxury travelers there really isn’t anything that stands out in town. In fact, your only real option is Tiny Homes by Snow Valley Lodging which are just tiny homes so you get a kitchen, washer, dryer, etc. The reviews are good but it’s not my idea of luxury. It goes for $236 CAD a night.

Instead, you’ll need to stay at the Fernie Alpine Resort at Timberline LodgesPinnacle Ridge Chalets, or Snow Creek Cabins. All of which are located at the base of the chairlifts.

For more info, read our blog about where to stay in Fernie, BC!

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.

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 and Bailey take a selfie in Fernie during winter
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this list has helped you plan your visit to Fernie! With its beautiful scenery, huge variety of activities, and amazing food, it’s easy to fall in love with this little town in the Rockies.

If you’re planning a BC holiday or road trip, make sure to browse around our other blogs on British Columbia. Whether you’re looking for mountain views, wine tastings, beaches to explore, or hidden gems to find on a cross-Canada road trip, we’ve got you covered! These are just a few of our popular blogs to check out:

FUN Things to do in Fairmont, BC

How to Spend 1, 2, or 3 Days in Banff

BEST sops on the drive from Calgary to Golden