This is the second part of my blog covering my recent visit to Fernie, BC (read Part 1 here). The first part of my blog covered the authentic mountain town atmosphere and summer activities at Fernie Alpine Resort. Now we venture off into the forest to discover more fun, food, and adventure that this Kootenay Rockies’ town has to offer.
Tucked back in its own little world but only 10kms/6.2mi from Fernie, Island Lake Lodge is an exquisite retreat set in enchanting surroundings. Arriving at the lodge, I felt like I’d stepped into a fairy tale and half expected Goldilocks to come out and greet me. Turns out the 3 Bears actually do live here as they are three named peaks in the Island Lake Resort tenure.
The impressive log buildings that make up the resort house the lodging and dining areas for visiting guests. In the winter, the resort operates a boutique cat skiing getaway in its private tenure along the Cedar Valley. In the summer and early fall, it converts to a cozy Bed & Breakfast providing accommodation options for Fernie visitors, hiking and fly fishing experiences, and gourmet dining available daily for both lunch and dinner.
Imagining that the interior of the lodges were no less beautiful than the outside, we were keen to get in for a look but first; it was time for a hike. We inspected the Island Lake trail map and decided on the Tamarack Trail to the lookout point, about a 4km/2.5mi hike. Island Lake offers some of the best marked and mapped hiking trails in the Fernie area and they have a good variety for varying abilities from short walks around the lake to all day adventures. Promising great valley views and a moderate challenge with a steady climb, it was exactly the hike we were looking for. Trekking through lush forest saturated with massive old growth cedars, an old rock-slide path, and then eventually up a short, wooden, staircase to the viewpoint, we were rewarded with the most stunning view.
Though the trail continued on to a complete 22km/13.66mi as part of Heiko’s trail, we hung around to take in the views then scampered down to catch lunch on the stunning patio we had got a peek of on arrival. Island Lake’s reputation for quality food precedes itself and they even have a published recipe book to prove it! Knowing this, I was keen to get my first taste. Though the views from the dining rooms and patios at the resort certainly stand on their own, the delicious eats that Island Lake put on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are more than complementary. From the detail in presentation to the thoughtful and locally grown ingredients, the food was everything I had anticipated and more. There is no doubt that Island Lake Lodge is one of the best dining options in Fernie! As I like to say, “We got our Foodie-Fix!”
The food was divine and our accommodation was equally amazing. In the Tamarack Building, we were pleasantly greeted with a spacious room that had the luxury feel of a high-end hotel with a lush King bed and a deep, soaker tub yet had the charm and comfort of a country cottage. It was perfect.
Our getaway to Island Lake Lodge left us feeling relaxed and in absolute awe of the surrounding area. Not quite ready to depart and keen to see more, we decided to check out Mt. Fernie Provincial Park which we had driven by on our way into the resort the day prior. The surroundings for the park are equally beautiful and the camp sites are very private and naturally set. I was surprised to see the extensive trail system that is accessed from the park for both mountain biking and hiking. Within the park, families can enjoy an interpretative trail, waterfall, and walking bridge over a natural creek bed.
After not being back in Fernie for a few years, it was great to see that it still had the charm and adventure I remembered it for and yet new experiences to enjoy. I’ll try not stay away so long next time and I highly recommend you get there someday soon as well.
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