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30+ Best Things to do in Fernie BC

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Fernie British Columbia, then this travel guide will help you plan the best trip there.

We visited Fernie as part of our 10 day Kootenay road trip visiting towns like Nelson, Kaslo, and Invermere and Radium Hot Springs as we explored the eastern part of British Columbia.

This part of Canada is often visited by too many international tourists since they’ll typically go to Calgary or the West Coast for Vancouver, Whistler, and Vancouver Island. I think that’s a shame since this is such a beautiful part to explore on your Canada vacation!

Having lived in Vancouver for 6 years, we didn’t often come over this way (though had been to Fernie in winter for skiing before), so it was nice to explore summer in Fernie too.

Fernie is a super cute BC mountain town to the east of the province quite close to the Alberta/BC border. The town of Fernie is surrounded by the Canadian Rockies making it the perfect place for an adventurous getaway whatever the season!

Summer in Fernie is just as good as Fernie in winter and there are so many things to do in Fernie that the hard part is deciding where to start!

Fun things to do in Fernie BC

With so many things to do Fernie, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are some of the best things to do during your trip to beautiful Fernie.

fernie bc mountain town

1. Walk Around Downtown Fernie

Downtown Fernie is absolutely beautiful with mountain vistas at the end of every road.

The downtown center also includes many buildings that are more than a century old which is very old for North American buildings.

Some of the most impressive buildings in downtown Fernie are the 1911 Court House, the Imperial Bank Building, and the Fernie Heritage Library.

fairy creek falls hike fernie

2. Hike Fairy Creek Falls

One of the easy hikes in Fernie that you should do is the hike out to Fairy Creek Falls. It’s a gentle walk through the forest with minimal elevation gain and about a 5 km round trip (3.1 miles).

You’ll pass crystal clear waters in the river and plenty of wildflowers (depending on the season) before coming out to the impressive Fairy Creek Falls itself.

The hike starts from the Fernie Visitor Centre which itself is worth exploring! It’s one of the best easy Fernie hikes and is great for families too.

3. Go Hiking in Fernie to Mt Fernie

The Mount Fernie trail takes you to the summit of Mt Fernie which looks down on the town. If you have the time it’s well worth climbing to the summit to enjoy the views.

This is a more strenuous hike with a lot of elevation gain over a relatively short distance but it’s worth the effort for the views!

You’ll get incredible views while hiking in Mount Fernie Provincial Park and there are so many awesome hiking trails up here if you’re up for a long day hike, or backpacking.

AllTrails is my go-to hiking app for finding, planning, and navigating while I’m out on the trails. With offline maps on AllTrails+ you can be confident you’re still on the right track, even without mobile signal.

heikos trail to three sisters fernie hiking trails

4. Hike the Heiko / Three Sisters trail in Fernie

If you have a 4×4 definitely look into doing the Heiko to Three Sisters summit trail in Fernie.

The road to the trailhead can be tricky to navigate and the hike itself is strenuous but along the way, you’ll pass an impressive waterfall, a Bisaro Cave (Canada’s deepest cave), and incredible views.

Many camp halfway along the trail to break the hike up into two days making it a great option for backpacking near Fernie.

5. Enjoy the views from the chair at Mt Fernie Alpine Resort

Alternatively, you can save your legs by taking the Elk Chair chairlift at Fernie Alpine Resort. The chair stays open in summer so that you can enjoy the views with less effort!

Once you’ve arrived at the top of the chair, head out to the Lizard Bowl Observation Deck for even more impressive views. Then to get back down you have the choice of hiking the windy trails down the mountain, or riding the chair back down!    

silver lake springs
Enjoying a swim while watching others do some Fernie cliff jumping

6. Go Cliff Jumping at Silver Springs Lake

We spent a glorious afternoon cooling off and avoiding the heat at Silver Lake Springs near Fernie. You need to go several kilometers down an active logging road to get to there, followed by a short but steep hike up to the lake.

You’ll know when you’re at the right place to the trail to the lake as there will likely be a bunch of cars there (and there are several signs warning logging trucks to slow down).

Once at Silver Springs BC, you can choose to jump in off the rocks, or just sit back and relax while others do instead at Silver Springs Fernie.

fernie brewing bc

7. Grab a beer at Fernie Brewing

Fernie Brewing Company does delicious beers that can be found in liquor stores around Canada but when in Fernie you have to go to their taproom.

The taproom is just a couple of minutes outside of the downtown core and they have snacks and flights available for purchase. It’s the perfect place to go after a hike, mountain bike, or day of skiing!

8. Get your adrenaline hit by mountain biking in Fernie

If you love mountain biking you’re in the right place! Fernie is surrounded by incredible mountain biking trails including the lift-accessed trails at Mount Fernie Alpine Resort and the cross-country, pedal-up access trails near Mount Fernie.

There are several places in town where you can rent a bike if you didn’t bring your own and use Trailforks to find the best trail for your ability and fitness and check the Fernie mountain bike trail conditions.

Some of the most popular trails are accessed from near the Fernie Visitor Center and Fairy Creek Falls Trail and have bovine names such as Swine Flu and Mad Cow.

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9. Get Kombucha Tasters

Alpine Springs Kombucha is a Canadian craft brewery for non-alcoholic drinks. We visited their tasting room and it was super cool! They’ve got a pour-yourself kombucha setup where you can try samples of their many different flavors and purchase a growler or bottle to take away with you.

The owner used to work in water treatment and so with his scientific knowledge has been able to craft kombucha that even those who aren’t usually fans will enjoy (my husband is proof!).

You’ll find unique flavors with matcha, coconut, turmeric, and more and it’s definitely worth adding this to your list of things to do in Fernie.

surveyors lake fernie bc canada

10. Go Paddleboarding at Surveyors Lake

Surveyors Lake is around 30 minutes drive outside Fernie in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park. We ended up camping in the park overnight as we made our way to Nelson and loved it.

Surveyors Lake is known for being super deep, being home to Painted Turtles, and being a great place for paddleboarding and kayaking. You can even rent pedalos from the stand there in summer.

skiing at fernie mountain resort

11. Go Skiing in Fernie

Visiting Fernie in winter? You simply have to go skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort!

Skiing is definitely one of the best things to do in Fernie in winter. \

Fun fact: Fernie gets about almost 10 meters (!) of snow every winter and with the dry conditions, it’s a powder snow heaven.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best ski resorts in Canada and has something for all abilities though, especially for those who are more experienced. The resort has a reputation for being ‘steep and deep’ with fantastic tree skiing which is super fun on those beautiful Fernie pow days!

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12. Explore Fernie’s Cute Shops

As with many mountain towns, there is a tonne of cute and artsy boutique clothing stores and gift shops in Fernie.

We spent a good while wandering between them and even found a cheese shop which is hard enough to find in Vancouver, let alone in a remote mountain town!

There are loads of cute places for shopping in Fernie and you can find some great souvenirs, homewares or cool clothes as you wander around.

13. Find Canada’s largest ammonite fossil

Finding this fossil is a bit of an adventure but if you do find it you’re sure to have an awesome story.

This ammonite fossil is 150 million years old and is located in Fernie! You’ll need to drive on Coal Creek Road to the east of the town. As you go past the gun range look for a small trailhead on the right-hand side once you’ve crossed the creek.

The trail might be more like bushwhacking depending on the time of year you visit but you should be able to pick it out. There’s some scrambling over some large boulders and it’s about 2.5km in total from the road.

Happy exploring!

matheson falls fernie

14. Cool off at Matheson Falls

We heard about Matheson Falls by reading the Fernie guidebook in a coffee shop and though our van isn’t 4×4 enough to make it there, it sounded awesome!

As above, you’ll drive east on Coal Creek Road past marker #41. Then park up at the pullout on the left-hand side. Cross back over the road and look for the trailhead which leads you up through the forest.

After around 20 minutes you’ll arrive at a creek bed with Matheson Falls and the perfect swimming opportunity!

things to do in fernie

15. Float down the river

The Elk Valley River which runs through Fernie is ideal for floating down in mid-late summer once the river has calmed down from the rush of snowmelt. We saw a lot of people enjoying the river this way and it looked like so much fun with a group of friends!

16. Go cross country skiing

Fernie isn’t just good for downhill skiing, there is some great cross-country skiing too.

Some of the best are at Elk Valley Nordic Centre which has 10km of groomed tracks. The golf course has another 12km and Fernie Alpine Resort maintains groomed cross-country skiing too. You can rent gear and find out more about the trails through the Fernie Nordic Society.

maiden lake fernie bc

17. Enjoy a quiet morning at Maiden Lake

Maiden Lake is right in downtown Fernie just behind the Canadian Tire. Heading here in the morning before most people have woken up is my ideal way to spend the morning. Take a swim, enjoy a coffee, and enjoy some peace and quiet!

island lake lodge fernie british columbia

18. Enjoy Island Lake Lodge

Island Lake Lodge is the place to go for even more adventure. Whether it’s spring or summer this lodge is the gateway to backcountry skiing, mountain biking,g and hiking adventures.

It’s one of the top destinations in Canada (and beyond!) for cat-skiing if you’re in search of some untouched powder trails.

You can also go back to the lodge after your adventures for a spa session or relax in a hammock.

If you’re lucky you may even see a moose or two as it’s a popular hangout area for them too!

19. Discover the Fernie Art Walk

Fernie has some beautiful art on the buildings around the town. You can take a self-guided walk through the town to explore some of the pieces and learn a bit more about them.

See the virtual map here, or head to the Fernie Visitor Centre to get a paper copy.

fernie golf club bc

20. Play Golf at Fernie Golf Club

The Fernie Golf Club is a fantastic place to play golf and enjoy the beautiful outdoors in Fernie, British Columbia.

The course is known for its lush green fairways surrounded by beautiful mountain views.

It’s a great course for all skill levels, whether you are a seasoned golfer or just starting out and, after playing a round, you can relax at the clubhouse and enjoy some great food and drinks while overlooking the course.

fernie disc golf course

21. Playing Disc Golf in Fernie

In Fernie, disc golf is a fun and accessible outdoor activity perfect for everyone.

The Fernie Disc Golf Course at the Lizard’s Range Disc Golf Course, is set amid beautiful mountain scenery and is designed for both beginners and experienced players.

If you’ve never heard of disc golf, it’s kind of similar to traditional golf, but you use a frisbee-like disc instead of a ball and club. Then, you aim to get your disc into a series of baskets in the fewest throws possible.

It’s a relaxed and enjoyable way to spend a sunny afternoon with friends or family and we’ve always had fun whenever we’ve played despite not being particularly good at it.

Plus since the course is free if you’ve got your own discs, it’s one of the best things to do in Fernie for free.

elk river fly fishing fernie

22. Fly Fishing on the Elk River

The Elk River in Fernie is a paradise for people who love fly fishing.

The river’s crystal clear waters are home to many trout and so it’s a fisherman’s dream.

You can book a guided fishing trip with the Elk River Guiding company who’ll show you the best spots along the river for fishing and teach you the essential fishing skills if you’re a beginner.

fernie museum

23. The Fernie Museum

Take a step back in time at the Fernie Museum where you can learn more about Fernie’s history, the people who have lived here, and the natural surroundings.

There are interactive exhibits, plenty of interesting artifacts, and lots of old photographs. It’s a great thing to do in Fernie on a rainy day, or for a visit with kids since it’s educational too.

You’ll find the museum in the center of downtown Fernie, making it an easy stop during your day. It’s also. a great place to get some Fernie visitor information or local maps.

24. Get pampered at the Fernie Spa 901

After a day of adventure and outdoor fun, getting pampered in a spa is always welcome (for me anyway!).

The Fernie Spa 901 is an award-winning spa with a wide range of treatments, from massages and facials to body scrubs and manicures.

It’s such a nice way to enjoy a relaxing day or half-day and is one of the more unique things. todo in Fernie in a town filled with adventure lovers.

25. Snowshoeing in Fernie

Snowshoeing in Fernie is a fantastic winter activity.

You’ll find plenty of trails for snowshoeing near Fernie and can choose between those that go through forests or those with more wide-open mountain views.

The town’s multi-use trail spans over five mountain areas and includes trails at the beautiful Island Lake Lodge and Fernie Alpine Resort.

Rentals and guided tours are available for all levels of experience, making it easy for everyone to enjoy this snowy adventure.

montane trail fernie

26. Hiking to Montane Hut in Fernie

The hike to Montane Hut is a rewarding adventure with incredible views.

This trail is perfect for families or visitors to Fernie looking for an easy-moderate hike.

The trail takes you up to Montane Hut which is a cozy, sheltered space that’s a great spot to take a break, enjoy a snack (or two), and enjoy the views before heading back down the hill.

fernie distillers fernie bc

27. Fernie Distillers

For a taste of local spirits, visit Fernie Distillers. This family-run distillery crafts unique and high-quality spirits, from gin to vodka, using local ingredients.

The tasting room is stylish and inviting, making it a great spot to unwind, learn about the distillation process, and try something new that’s crafted with care and passion.

It’s easily the best place to go in Fernie for cocktails!

ancient cottonwood trail fernie bc

28. Hiking the Ancient Cottonwood Trail in Fernie

Fernie’s Ancient Cottonwood Trail is a magical hike through one of the oldest cottonwood forests in the world.

It’s an easy, well-marked trail that takes you through towering trees that are hundreds of years old, offering a peaceful and pretty hiking experience in Fernie’s beautiful wilderness.

The trail is dotted with informative signs that tell the story of these ancient trees which adds something extra to your walk and this trail can be hiked all year round. Though expect some snow in winter!

fernie dirt jump park

29. Fernie Dirt Jump Park

The Fernie Dirt Jump Park is a fantastic spot for bikers in central Fernie.

The park has a pretty good range of dirt jumps and trails designed for mountain biking and whether you’re an experienced biker or just getting started, in a relatively safe environment.

The jumps vary in size and difficulty, so you can start small and work your way up as you gain confidence.

The park is well-maintained and is a popular spot for locals and visitors to gather, ride, and enjoy the outdoor biking culture at one of the best Fernie attractions.

30. Take a tour with Fernie Wilderness Adventures

Fernie Wilderness Adventures run tours out into the stunning landscapes surrounding Fernie, British Columbia.

Imagine gliding down pristine, untouched snowy slopes or casting a line into a crystal-clear mountain stream – that’s the kind of unparalleled natural experience that Fernie Wilderness Adventures specializes in.

Whether you’re interested in winter activities like cat skiing and snowboarding or summer excursions like fly fishing and hiking, this company offers expert-guided tours that make the wild terrain accessible and enjoyable.

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breakfast at Big Bang Bagels

Best Restaurants in Fernie

There are some awesome restaurants in Fernie and these Fernie restaurants are the ones we were able to try this time around.

  • Big Bang Bagels: When we arrived in Fernie in the evening I knew this place was where we’d go for breakfast the following morning. They do awesome bagels packed full of tasty ingredients and are perfect for breakfast.
  • The Old Elevator: We don’t usually get Chinese food but this place had great reviews. We’re glad we went as the food was delicious and the portions huge!
  • Yamagoya Sushi: If you’re craving some sushi in Fernie then Yamagoya Fernie is the place to go.
  • Lunch Box: When it comes to lunch in Fernie, The Lunch Box is a great option for healthy, filling food.
things to do in fernie (1 of 5)
view from our hotel in Fernie

Where to Stay in Fernie

There are some great hotels in Fernie including those below.

  • Riverside RockiesDirectCa: We stayed in one of these apartments and it had everything we needed for one night. There was a fridge, powerful A/C, and bathroom in the studio we booked.
  • Lizard Creek Lodge: Stay in the heart of adventure when staying here! Given its location, it’s often considered as a hiking hotel Fernie.
  • Snow Valley Lodging: This cute Fernie accommodation is in the center of downtown Fernie and includes a hot tub and BBQ facilities. You can also get free bike rentals here and it’s considered one of the best Fernie hotels.
  • Campgrounds in Fernie: There are some great campgrounds in Fernie including Mt Fernie Provincial Park, and Fernie RV Resort which are a short drive from downtown Fernie.

How to get to Fernie BC

Fernie is in the Elk Valley region of the East Kootenays. It’s pretty close to Calgary and so is popular as a weekend destination for Albertans. Here are some distances and timings from other popular towns to Fernie.

  • Golden to Fernie: The drive is about 3.5 hours or, 324 km via BC-95 S, BC-93/BC-95, and BC-3 E.
  • Calgary to Fernie: a 3-hour drive or, 288.4 km via AB-2 S and Crowsnest Hwy.
  • Banff to Fernie: a 4-hour drive or, 356 km via BC-93 S and BC-93/BC-95.
visiting fernie mountain resort in summer

FAQs on what to do in Fernie BC

Is Fernie BC worth visiting?

Yes, Fernie is definitely worth visiting. It is a beautiful mountain town known for its stunning natural scenery and outdoor recreational activities.

Does Fernie get busy?

Yes, Fernie can get busy, especially during the peak ski season in the winter and during the summer months when outdoor activities are most popular. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals but it doesn’t get as busy as ski resorts near Vancouver.

What does Fernie have to offer?

Fernie has skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing, a local arts scene, unique shops, and great dining options.

What is Fernie BC known for?

Fernie is known for its world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, including skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking, hiking, and fly fishing in the summer. The town is set against the beautiful backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, offering stunning views and a welcoming, laid-back vibe.

Final thoughts on the best things to do Fernie BC

When it comes to a trip to Fernie Canada, there is no bad time to visit this mountain town. Whether you decide to visit in summer and enjoy things to do in Fernie Canada like hiking and biking in the Rocky Mountains, or come to Fernie in winter to enjoy skiing and cross country skiing or snowboarding in the mountains around the town, you’re in for a treat.

If you’re staying longer in this area, be sure to check out the best things to do in Nelson BC, what tot o do in Kaslo BC, these fun ideas for Invermere activities and Radium Hot Springs attractions, or what to do in Fairmont Hot Springs BC.

Fernie is also a fun getaway from Calgary, and you could also head to Canmore in winter to find more places to ski and winter activities in Lake Louise or Banff National Park too.

Canada Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Canada travel insurance?

100% YES! — You should have travel insurance for all your trips. Though Canada has “free” healthcare, it’s only for residents. If you’re just visiting, you’ll need travel insurance should you need medical care. It also helps you claim for delayed flights or lost/stolen baggage. We use SafetyWing for our travel insurance!

Is it safe to rent a car in Canada?

Yes — Renting a car is a good idea in most of Canada as public transit isn’t the best!

Car hire is usually quite reasonable, especially compared to some other countries and they’ll all be automatic so you shouldn’t have a problem driving it if you’re used to manual transmission.

I personally use a mix of DiscoverCars and RentalCars to find the best deal that works for me when I rent a car. I used them in Norway, Italy, and Canada when we first moved, and have never had an issue. For RV rental I recommend Outdoorsy.

What’s the best way to pay/exchange money for Canada?

Wise (formerly Transferwise!) — I use my Wise card everywhere these days. I fill it with a certain currency and then I can spend it in countries across the world, online and even for direct debits. Wise has the best currency exchange rates (and they’ll even tell you when you can get it cheaper elsewhere!). When you pay in another currency through chip and pin or tap/wireless, they’ll automatically convert it for you – it’s easy! This link gets you a fee-free transfer.

Do I need a visa for Canada?

Many countries do not need a visa to travel to Canada — However, you may need an ETA which costs $7 (you need this if you’re from the UK). You can buy them online and they usually take a few hours to come through though it can take longer. Only ever buy from this official website otherwise you’ll end up paying more money necessarily. If you want to move to Canada, check out my guide to the Working Holiday Visa which is how we first moved there! Always check the official Canadian Immigration website to see whether you need a visa to travel there.

Will my phone work in Canada?

It depends — Some American and European companies work in Canada for a certain amount of data or time but many will not work at all. Getting a Canadian SIM card will help you get around with Google Maps and stay in touch with people back home. There isn’t much free WIFI in Canada so you can’t really rely on that, especially if you’re heading outside of major cities.

Where can I book my Canada accommodation?

I always check Booking.com for hotels or Hostel World for hostels. If I’m looking for something for a bigger group of people, or a bit more unique (cosy cabins, luxury beach houses) then I use VRBO.

When we first moved to Canada we used Trusted Housesitters to get free accommodation!

What’s the best site to buy Canada flights?

I only ever use Skyscanner to find cheap flights no matter where I’m travelling!

Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Hannah

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