For many here in the East Kootenays, September is one of our favourite times of year. The summer crowds are a little lighter, the temperatures a little cooler, but the scenery is as gorgeous as ever – even more so some argue, as the changing leaves provide some amazing colours.
“It’s just a great time of year to come visit and enjoy the late summer season,” says Mike McPhee, from Island Lake Lodge, one of the region’s premier destinations, both summer and winter.
Here’s what’s waiting:
1. Majestic hikes: Venture into the alpine with this year’s newest addition to the hiking lineup, the Goldilocks Trail. “Goldilocks is open and people love it!” McPhee says. “It’s about a five-hour alpine loop hike with dramatic mountain views.”
A wide array of area hikes offer opportunities for all ages and experience levels, from the Lake Trail, a classic loop for kids and others who love long, leisurely walks, to the Fir Trail, winding above the steep walls of Lizard creek, an important spawning habitat for trout.
2. Beauty biking: With world-class single-track trails, Island Lake offers some beauty rides, including one of the highlights, the Lazy Lizard Trail. “It’s a great a trail for all levels of ability,” McPhee notes.
Open to both up and down traffic, trail highlights include steel-frame, wood-decked bridges (some with spans of over 6m!), elevated boardwalks, an undulating route through spectacular Old Growth forest, and spectacular viewpoints of the Lizard Range. With the uphill terminating at the lodges of Island Lake, relax with a cold drink, lunch or dinner before enjoying the descent.
3. Adventures on the water: From picturesque shoreline paddles to casting for trout, fun in and around the water is a favourite at Island Lake. For something a little more invigorating, up the adventure factor with a rafting trip down the nearby Elk and Bull rivers with a local provider!
4. Delicious Dining: Sip a summer cocktail on the patio, backdropped by the soaring Lizard Range, enjoy a post-paddle lunch in the Bear Lodge, or savour Executive Chef Keith Farkas’s fine, Rocky Mountain-inspired cuisine at Tamarack Lodge … dining in Fernie doesn’t get any better than this. You can even take home a taste of Fernie, with the recently released Island Lake Lodge: The Cookbook, from Whitecap Publishing!
5. Spa time: In case you needed any added encouragement, “September is a great time to spa,” McPhee says. Enjoy a hike into the alpine or a thrilling ride down the mountain, then relax and rejuvenate at one of the finest spas in Fernie. In fact, the Fernie Day Spa’s summer special includes Ladies Day every Wednesday – the opportunity to book a manicure and pedicure combination for just $110 – a $50 savings! Or, book two or more different treatments for yourself on the same day and receive 15 per cent off.
To learn more about the late summer offerings, visit islandlakecatskiing.com