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Hiking, Wildlife & Birdwatching

Hike the Columbia Valley & Rockies

Hiking Trails Galore
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Hike From Our Front Door

Step out the lodge door, lace up your boots, breathe the fresh cool mountain air and set out on an adventure.  Take your pick from over 50 km of hiking trails accessible directly from the resort and many more nearby.  Within minutes you will be immersed in nature and a genuine Kootenay Rockies hiking experience. You could well be forgiven for believing you’re visiting a back-country hiking lodge as you stretch out your legs and head out for a few hours or a full day of hiking.

Birdwatching & Wildlife Viewing

Deer, Black Bears, Elk, Columbian Ground Squirrels, and Big Horn Sheep are a common sight. You may also see a Grizzly, Coyote or even a Wolf. The Columbia Wetlands teem with birdlife including Marsh Wrens, Ducks, Grebe, Loons, Great Blue Herons, Owls, and Eagles.  You may spot Wood Ducks, Mergansers, American Dippers, Sandpipers, and American Widgeons along the Columbia River. Riverside Golf Course is home to the Lewis Woodpecker.  Please remember, all wildlife should always be always viewed from a safe distance.

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From Early Spring to Late Fall

Hiking season begins early in the spring, stretches through the long warm summer days and extends well into the late fall.  Valley and wetland trails typically open and dry out in late March.  By late-April the benchland trails are available too.  Alpine hikes and ridge walks become accessible in late June and into July although some snow can linger well into late summer.

Wetlands, Forested Benches and Alpine Summits

Within a very short driving distance are literally a multitude of additional trails enticing you to explore the richly diverse Columbia Wetlands, forested benches or alpine ridges and summits.  We can’t promise you won’t see another soul all day but you will find a peaceful solitude that no simply longer exists on many of the high-traffic trails elsewhere in the Rockies.

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Our Outdoor Recreation Team Is Here To Assist & Inspire You

If you are not sure what trail to choose or if you just need some local intel on what to expect, drop into our Recreation and Experience Center where our team of avid outdoors adventurers will be happy to discuss, suggest, encourage and inform.  They live, work, and play here for the lifestyle and they love to share their enthusiasm and inspire your outdoor experiences.

Here are some suggested Fairmont hikes to get you started:

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Hiking Trails

Three trailheads within a few minutes’ walk from the lodge door.  Trails rated easy, moderate, and difficult. Distances from 1 to 5+ km and beyond.  There’s a lot to choose from with meandering forest trails and viewpoints of the Columbia Valley, Purcell Mountains, the Hoodoos, incredible Fairmont Ridge, and Columbia Lake. Walk to the town site along the Poet Trail and discover the poems posted on trees along the way.  Feeling adventurous? Take the Weeping Wall Trail for a creek bed scramble to discover a waterfall above the ski hill.  The Pop Bottle Ridge Trail will take you south for huge views of Columbia Lake – make a day of it by continuing into Columbia Lake Provincial Park for almost limitless options.

More Information: DOWNLOAD Fairmont Hot Springs Resort Map

Columbia Lake Provincial Park

Head out on the Pop Bottle Ridge Trail or drive to the parking lot which is about 10 minutes from the resort.  The Park is located on the east side of Columbia Lake with well marked trails, undeveloped beaches, river access, wetlands, grasslands, meadows, and forest. The parking lot is the terminus of the 16km Spirit Trail Loop which extends into the Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.  It’s possible to continue all the way to Canal Flats.

More Information: BC Parks Website

The Dutch Creek Hoodoos Trail

The Dutch Creek Hoodoos are easily visible from Highway 95 and tower directly over the highway.  As you drive towards the Hoodoos from Fairmont turn right on Westside Road just before the gas station.  Look for the parking lot on the left at about 1 km from the main highway.  This parking lot is the start of the Hoodoos Trail.  Follow the well-developed trail gently uphill through Douglas Fir forest to an exposed viewpoint at the top of the Hoodoos. The trail offers excellent views across to the resort and Fairmont Ridge.  At the top you will discover an iconic elevated view of Columbia Lake.  Time for the 2.5 km round trip is about 1 hour but you may want to linger and enjoy the views.

More Information: Nature Conservancy of Canada Website

Brewer Lake   A sub-alpine hike across the Valley from Fairmont Hot Springs.  Carry on to Brewer Ridge for views into the Toby Creek drainage and Panorama Mountain Resort.

Lake Of The Hanging Glacier  An East Kootenay classic.  Challenging 14.5 km round trip suitable for experienced hikers.  Discover a spectacular alpine lake deep in the Purcell Mountains.  Access via Horsethief Forest Service Road.

Jumbo Pass The crown jewel of East Kootenay hikes, especially during wildflower season in the late summer. Incredible views of huge peaks and glaciers.  Access via Toby Creek Forest Service Road.

Mount Swansea Hiking Loop.  Close to Invermere, this is a very popular location for early season hikes and mountain biking. Your reward at the summit is a panoramic view up and down the Columbia Valley and across to the Purcell Mountains.

The Johnson. This trail is designed for mountain biking but hikers use it too.  Although it gets very busy in the summer due to the proximity to Lake Lillian, this 10km loop is well worth a visit for unique and incredible views of the Toby Creek Canyon.  Easy access to parking lot on paved road.

Pedley Pass Popular alpine hike and ridge walk with breathtaking big views in the Rockies east of Invermere.  Difficult access road – 4WD recommended.

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