The moment the morning rays tickle the ridgetop of Mount Fernie it is calling out to be climbed. It's virtually impossible to miss its majestic trapezoid stature that faces the city of Fernie.
Rebuilt by Fernie’s renowned Heiko Socher replacing the older Mocassin Trail. This is a relatively quick but challenging half-day hike. The trailhead is easily accessed from town by vehicle or on foot. The views back into town and beyond into the backcountry make the Mount Fernie Ridge hike well worth the effort!
Level: Intermediate to Difficult
Distance: 4 km to the peak
Elevation Gain: 910m (3000ft)
Hiking time: 2.5-5 hrs round trip
Don't forget to pick up a Fernie Trail Map before your hike. TrailForks users can track their progress and location along this hike, if they have GPS on their mobile device, using the Trailforks app, and the route for Mount Fernie Ridge.
This trail starts off switch-backing through dense forest then eventually leading to spectacular views of chutes where winter avalanches have shaped the landscape. There is a bench about three-quarters of the way up the hike offering stunning views of the Three Sisters peaks. This is often the finishing point for many beginner hikers or hikers with children as the terrain past this point gets steeper and more challenging.
From the bench, the route becomes increasingly steeper and less shaded by the trees. You'll traverse several chutes where you'll get your first glimpse of Fernie from high up. As you approach the peak the trail will become loose, dry, and rocky. Use caution in this area as the trail can be slippery if wet and fairly exposed. There is a small bench at the ridge top to rest your weary legs whilst you soak take in the unique views of the valley, ski resort, and wilderness backcountry behind the ridge.
It is possible to continue onto connects to Windy Pass and the famous Heiko's Trail via Rocky Road. This will be an additional 4km one way.
Fun Fact: This punchy climb forms part of the first of three legs on the Annual Elk Valley Ultra 50km Race. If your thighs are burning on the way up, know that the elite Ultra trail runners will summit in 40-45min and still have an additional 44km to run until the finish line.
Head east on Hwy 3 from Fernie continue past Tim Hortons and cross the bridge over the Elk River. Take your first left onto Cedar Avenue, before you cross the 2nd smaller bridge over Fairy Creek. Proceed up Cedar Avenue and take your first right onto Canyon Trail, follow to the end by the gate and park. This road is occasionally used by construction and hydro crews so please ensure you are not blocking the gate. To access the Mt Fernie Ridge Hike trailhead walk up the gravel road past the gate, when you reach the junction of another gravel road, head right on that road for a very short distance and watch for the official trailhead on the left.
There are no water refill points along this trail. Depending on winter snowfall, this trail is normally good to hike between early July until early to early November. As a guideline, if snow is visible in the chutes from town then it will be challenging to reach the ridge top. If you need more trail information please reach out to our Visitor Information Centre
As with any trip into the backcountry be well prepared for changes in the weather. And remember that you are travelling in an area where wildlife is abundant. Be aware of your surrounding, follow the proper safety protocols and respect the environment.