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Montane Cabin - a new hidden gem on Fernie's trail system

Cabins.  I just love them. 

Maybe it’s the part of me that just craves to drop everything and move into the woods with my family and live a simpler life. Maybe it’s the great memories of growing up spending summers at our cottage in Manitoba. So when I heard all about the new Montane warming hut from my dad, who, along with many others helped the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club build it, I knew I had to go there.

The first time was in early December, when our family was up River Road searching for a Christmas tree and we decided to try and find it. We ended up passing the trail by a long shot and added about an hour of walking down River Road with hungry and tired kids.  Jon (my husband) thought we should call it a day and try another time, but I was determined to find it. After a quick phone call to my personal GPS (my dad), we were able to find the trailhead, which happened to be only minutes from where we parked. Stoked with the extended adventure, the kids in tow in the sled and the dog bouncing through the powder snow, Montane cabin was only a short 5 minute walk down Roots Trail from River Road.

We arrived at the cabin at dusk and what a view! We were impressed! It sits on a clearing overlooking the valley with a beautiful bench and outdoor fire pit. The cabin itself is simple but great with a bench, a table, a couple of chairs, a woodstove and plenty of hooks to dry your gear. There is also an adjoining room with 2 bunk beds which will make this a great overnight option soon - a few permits are needed before bookings can start. The cabin is also well stocked with firewood and paper.

We lit a fire and had a snack, then hiked out in the dark with our headlamps. The kids thought this was amazing! It was a great finish to our day. 

Since that time, the Montane cabin has been like a magnet to me; though I often plan to go, sometimes I just end up there. I have been during the day for a quick stop to defrost my camelback, and other times for a longer stay after a night ski, refuelling and enjoying the coziness of the warm cabin. The hardest thing to do after that is to get back outside and ski back! A group of us went up for my birthday for a night ski and had a blast - one of my favorite birthdays yet!  So much fun in fact that the next day we were back with the kids and the rest of my family to roast hot dogs and Jon surprised me with a cake.

One of the big draws for me is that it is so accessible for anyone to go anytime, as well as a fun thing to do with young kids. The old barn off Coal Creek Road makes a great starting off point and you get the bonus of possibly catching a glimpse of the miniature ponies on your way by. There are many trails leading to the cabin; the nicely groomed nordic ski track is mostly gentle grades going up and takes anywhere from 20 min to an hour leaving from the old barn. There are also many multi use trails leading up to it. On any given day or night I have been up there, I have seen classic cross country skiers, skate skiers, skiers with chariots pulling kids, fat bikers (the bikes, not the people!), snowshoers and dogs. I am continually impressed by how clean the cabin is being left for the amount of people that visit it already. Everyone so far seems to be very respectful of the cabin and the surrounding trails. 

I am constantly amazed at the quality and upkeep of the many trails around Fernie, as well as all the great new trails popping up including the new Montane trail network. A big thanks to Pat Gilmar for spearheading this and adding to our wonderful community that I am so proud to call home. The Montane warming hut is a great addition to Fernie and is open for all to enjoy!

Nicole Knauf
Local Destination Expert

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