The 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness at Island Lake provides countless hiking opportunities.
Whether you are interested in a 30-minute walk or a full day hike, Island Lake has what you need. We have the best maintained and most diverse hiking trails in the valley. Want to learn about flora and fauna? Guided interpretive hikes are available, check out our page in related links.
Island Lake Hiking Trails are open from mid June 12 to early October. This spectacular valley is privately owned by Island Lake Resort and offers lodging, dining, spa services, guided hiking and more.
Trail map for Island Lake Lodge can be found at the lodge, at their downtown office or under related documents on this page
Lake Trail (2 km/ 1 hr) Fir Trail extension (+3km/ 1hr)
Access: From the trailhead below the Bear Lodge, head down the trail to the lake and follow the signs. Highlights: Allows for a gentle hike around Island Lake following lunch or dinner or when your time is limited. The Fir Trail wanders through the legendary Old Growth Forest of the upper Cedar Valley.
Lizard Lake (route) (3 hours round trip)
Access: The trailhead is in The Mount Fernie Provincial Park, approximately 0.5 km from the Island Lake Lodge property boundary and gate. No trail exists above and beyond the lake itself. Lizard Lake is a relatively short hike that leads to a lake found just below the peaks of the Lizard Range. A gradual climb, Lizard Lake is great for all levels.
Rail Trail (3 km/ .75-1.5 hr /Elevation gain 50m) Old Growth Trail (4km/ .75-1.5hr/Elevation gain 250m)
Rating: Easy- Moderate
Access: The Rail Trail starts at the base parking area, 30m past the Island Lake gate and finishes at the Old Growth Trailhead. The Old Growth Trail then tours through ancient cedars, finishing at the lodge. Highlights: Historical railway, lumber mill sites and old growth cedar trees. These trails are steeped in the Elk Valley’s history.
Big White Peak (route) (6 hours round trip)
Access: Via Spineback Trail. Just prior to reaching the crest of the Spineback, leave the trail heading west across the alpine bowl. Big White is found in the back of the second basin through a steep scree-slope leading to the widest and least steep access point. This is the only access to the Lizard Ranges’ ridge crest above Island Lake Lodge. Hiring a guide is highly recommended.
Tamarack Trail (8 km/5 hr/Elevation gain 640m)
Rating: Moderate to Advanced
Access: From the trailhead below the Bear Lodge head east following signs for the Tamarack Trail. Highlights: The trail winds its way up the south-west slopes of Mount Fernie through beautiful stands of mature Larch, with an option part way to go to the stunning viewpoint. The trail continues up through open, grassy slopes to the dramatic rock crags of Mount Fernie.
SpineBack Trail (3.5 km/ 3-4 hr/Elevation gain 530m)
Access: Via the Lake Trail and Fir Trail toward the west end of Island Lake. Once you reach the marked junction, follow the Spineback signs. Highlights: Paralleling the beautiful Spineback Ridge, the trail winds up through sub-alpine meadows, reaching the crest of the ridge and its bench. Continue another 0.5 km up to a second bench nestled between the 3 Bears’ peaks.
Mount Baldy Loop (10.5 km/4-6 hr/Elevation gain 530m)
Access: From the trailhead below the Bear Lodge head west following signs for the Mount Baldy Trail. From the summit, the trail traverses the Mount Baldy ridge, continuing west. Highlights: The Baldy Trail switchbacks its way to the north summit of Mount Baldy where hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the entire Island Lake area.
NOTE the below two trails, lead outside of Island Lake property
Cabin Ridge Route (4-6 hrs one way)
Accessed off of the Island Lake road or off of the Old Growth Trail, Cabin Ridge Trail leads to Thunder Meadows Cabin - a popular spot for backcountry enthusiasts. Whether you are looking to camp overnight during the warm summer months or ski some fresh lines during the winter, booking the cabin is always a good idea. Contact The Guide’s Hut in downtown Fernie
Mountain Lakes Trail (Heiko's Trail) (22 km/8-12 hr/Elevation gain 4500m)
Access: The trail starts 2 km down a cart track, 3 km north-west of Hartley Lake on the Hartley Creek Road, with a rewarding finish at Island Lake Lodge. Highlights: Waterfalls, caves, snowfields, big mountain passes, and the option of making it an overnight trip. A full day excursion or overnight wilderness camping hike, The Mountain Lake Trail is best done in larger groups starting early in the day. A high level of fitness and route finding skills are required and hiring a professional guide is strongly recommended.
Description: An initial short hike through the forest and then a steep hike up a headwall past waterfalls and the Bisaro Mountain Cave. After gaining the headwall it is a moderate hike up the alpine meadows under the south face of Mount Bisaro to the west ridge of Three Sisters Mountain. A steep descent down to Fairy Creek Meadows is followed by another climb to Windy Pass on the northern flank of Mount Fernie. Another long descent and traverse along the west flank of Mount Fernie ends at the top of Tamarack Trail overlooking Cedar Valley. The final 4 kilometres is a steep descent down to Island Lake Lodge.
At certain times during the summer, lodge facilities may be unavailable or restricted due to private functions and events. Please visit the online calendar to determine services available on the date you plan to visit. Hiking trails are always open.