Daytripping from Fernie

Culture, history, local parks and a whole lot more!

With Fernie as your home base, here are just a few of our daytripping favourites!

Silver Springs

To access Silver Springs, take a short 20-minute drive on Highway 3 toward Cranbrook. Once you reach the townsite of Elko, cross the bridge and make an immediate left-hand turn. The road will wind through town. Take the first gravel road on the left and cross the Elk River Bridge for three kilometres. There’s a pullout between the fifth and sixth kilometre marker; park here. From here you’ll climb 700 metres up to a parking area.

Proceed up a steep trail for about 10 minutes. Stay to the left and you’ll come to the area popular for cliff jumping. This popular spot can be crowded in the summer. Be safe as all activity on this lake is undertaken at your own risk. For a more serene afternoon, follow the lake trail up to the second and third lakes – excellent for fishing in the summer.

Photo by Sally Watson Amatuer Photographer of the Year contest 2018

Frank Slide

An hour’s drive east on Highway 3 into Alberta will take you to the site of one of the deadliest landslides in Canadian history.

In the early morning hours of April 29, 1903, 30 cubic metres of limestone broke free of the peak of Turtle Mountain. The massive rock moved at a rate of over 100km/h and was heard more than 200km away. The slide buried buildings including homes and businesses and covered the cemetery.

Although the total number of fatalities is unknown, the estimate ranges from 70 to 90. Only 12 bodies were recovered in the immediate aftermath, however the skeletons of six others were unearthed by a roadbuilding crew in 1924.

Opened in April of 1985, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre is open to the public year-round.

Visit Frankslide.ca for further information

Eureka, Montana

Eureka! It’s closer than you think. From Fernie, travel west on Highway 3, 20 minutes through Elko. Cross the bridge and continue until you reach Highway 93. Turn left and travel for another 25 minutes.

Pass through customs into the United States, and 10 minutes further along will find you in Eureka, Montana, where you’ll quickly see why Montana is called Big Sky Country.

This small town is packed with restaurants and friendly people. From May to September, each Wednesday there’s a Farmer’s Market, and July brings the Tobacco Valley Rodeo.

Elk Lake Provincial Park

Find Elk Lakes Provincial Park about 104km north of Sparwood. The 5,625-hectare Elk Lakes Provincial Park and adjacent 11,700-hectare Recreation Area is a delicate sub-alpine area of outstanding mountain landscapes, natural lakes and remnant glaciers.

Rugged, rock-faced peaks encompass the park. Upper Elk Lake sits at an elevation of 1,800m. Lower Elk Lake, about half the size of Upper Elk Lake, is 100m lower in elevation and about 800m to the southeast of the upper lake’s outlet. Their waters are too cold for swimming, but angling for Rocky Mountain whitefish, Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout can provide a day of enjoyment.

Surveyors Lake

Surveyor’s Lake is a 30-minute drive east from Fernie on Highway 3. Canoeing is welcome on Surveyors Lake within Kikomun Creek Provincial Park. Kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and pedal boat are rentals available, but no motorized craft are allowed. Smallmouth bass and rainbow trout can be found in Surveyor’s Lake, but be sure you have an appropriate fishing license if you plan on angling.

The beaches are sandy and the water is warm. Please do not disturb the Western Painted Turtles which can be found in abundance sunning themselves.

BC’s provincial parks and many facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to plan for future adventures here and throughout the West Coast, visit westcoasttraveller.com.

For more information visit The Free Press

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