About Fernie


About Fernie

Fernie, British Columbia

Everyone that visits Fernie, BC, Canada falls in love with our little mountain town. Fernie lies in the Southeastern corner of British Columbia right in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

A little town that boasts unparalleled outdoor experiences in every season; all for the avid outdoor enthusiasts taking. Fernie not only has charm; but is unique, rich in history and has a welcoming vibrant town centre where you can enjoy over 27 restaurants, visit a variety of unique craft, cloths and mountain equipment stores. After shopping or exhausting yourself after enjoying one of the countless outdoor activities (or perhaps that arm is sore from playing so many fish!)  you may want to chill out at one of the local 8 spas!

The summer months are busy with fisherman, bikers, hikers, etc  and the community is filled with downtown festivities and outdoor music festivals. The winter months are a snow lovers dream; Fernie boasts some of the best powder skiing in North America. We have a wicked ski hill, endless ranges to ski tour / snowmobile and enough trails to cross country ski or snowshoe to keep you occupied for an entire winter season.  There is no wonder we chose this beautiful little community to call home. We love it and guarantee you will too.




Fernie’s History

Every angler that visits a small community wants to know a little more about the history of the area. We think Fernie has some pretty cool history and know you will too.

Fernie’s Story

Just over a century ago, populated seasonally by First Nations peoples, Fernie was a pristine wilderness.

The region remained relatively untouched until the exploration of the Crowsnest Pass in 1873 by Michael Phillips. This discovery, and the sighting of outcroppings of coal, opened the region to the rest of the continent. Fernie takes its name from William Fernie, who along with Colonel James Baker were the main players in the drive to bring coal mining to the valley.

It took ten years to raise enough money to build the mines and the railway needed to transport the coal to market. In 1897 coal mining began in the region and in 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railroad arrived, and with it, the town of Fernie. As Fernie grew, logging quickly became the second largest industry in the area with logging camps employing hundreds of men.

Although Fernie’s is a short history, it is one plagued by natural and human disasters. Mining accidents ravaged the region from Fernie to the eastern entrance of the Crowsnest Pass in the early days of mining, claiming numerous lives. Fire reduced Fernie’s primarily wooden commercial district to smoldering rubble in April 1904. In August 1908 a second devastating fire gutted the entire city. The townsfolk literally ran for their lives and in less than 90 minutes the town was reduced to ashes.

The residents were undeterred and by 1910 Fernie was rebuilt: this time in brick and stone. The population soared to 6,000 and Fernie flourished into a thriving city, guided by the unwavering resolve and determination of its residents. These fires, more than any other, shaped the physical appearance of Fernie to this day as is seen in the brick and stone buildings that beautify downtown Fernie.

Many lightheartedly attribute the unfortunate history of the city to a curse that hangs over the valley. On a summer evening, out of Mount Hosmer’s south face comes the Ghostrider: the darkened shadow of a distinctive horse and rider who some say is an angry Indian chief and his daughter pursuing William Fernie. As legend tells it, William was betrothed to an Indian Princess in order to learn the source of her coal bead necklace. After learning the location of the Morrissey Coal Seams he left the Princess. In revenge, the tribe’s medicine woman placed a curse on the region.

Although discounted by many, the misfortune of the region is often reason enough to believe. It makes for a fascinating tale, especially considering the many tragedies in Fernie’s past. In 1964 members of the Kootenay Tribes assembled in Fernie and performed a curse lifting ceremony, smoking a pipe of peace with local politicians. Still the legend lives on in the shadow on the mountain and in the stories of the townspeople.

Fernie’s troubled history continued on into the depression of the thirties, when the city was brought to its knees and population and prosperity were reduced. Government subsidies kept the stagnant coal industry alive until the 1960s when it was revitalized by world coal markets. Today coal remains a pillar of Fernie’s economy.

In 1963 locally owned Fernie Snow Valley opened, laying the foundation for today’s resort by cutting runs, building lifts and creating the resort’s first on-mountain subdivision. Fueled by enthusiastic residents, Fernie bid for the 1968 Winter Olympics and the region took its first steps in becoming a world-class resort. In 1998 the resort was purchased and was renamed Fernie Alpine Resort. The ski area was doubled with the construction of new lifts and building began on the alpine village at the base of the resort.

Author: Excerpt from Scenic Fernie, British Columbia: A Canadian Rockies Treasure in Photographs




Traveling to Fernie

Fernie, BC is located in the south-east corner of the B.C. Rockies. The beautiful little mountain town rests along Highway No.3 approximately 60 km (40 miles) from the Alberta and U.S. borders.

The road to Fernie will lead you through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. The drive is easy with no major mountain passes and the roads are well maintained; just be aware of wildlife!

Getting here by Air and then Driving

Even though it may seem like we are located in the middle of nowhere; getting to Fernie is pretty simple. We suggest that you fly into Kalispell or Calgary and drive from there. There is always the option to fly into Cranbrook, BC, which is only an hour away from Fernie, but this might not fit connections and costs.

Below are some useful links and connections. All airports offer car rental services.

Calgary International Airport

  • (3.5 hour drive) is serviced from most major North American and European cities.
  • Click to view Map and driving directions

Cranbrook B.C.

  • (1.25 hour drive) is accessible by regional air service of Air Canada Jazz and Pacific Coastal Airlines.
  • Click to view Map and driving directions

Kalispell, Montana

  • (2 hour drive) is accessible by Delta, Northwest Airlines and Alaska/ Horizon Airlines.
  • Click to view Map and driving directions

Spokane, Washington

  • (4 hour drive) is accessible by Delta, Northwest Airlines and Alaska/Horizon Airlines.
  • Click to view Map and driving directions

Other Transportation Options

Fernie Shuttle Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines
To and from Calgary twice daily
Toll-Free: 1-800-661-8747
Telephone: 250-423-6871 or 250-423-6871

Kootenay Taxi
Taxi and Van service to and from Cranbrook, Calgary and USA
Telephone: 250-423-4409




Fernie AccoMmodations

Along with your day of fly fishing, let us book your accommodation for you at one of Fernie’s great locations.

Give us a shout to discuss your individual or group needs.


Park Place Lodge

Locally-owned, independent hotel that prides itself on offering friendly, personalized service, comfortable guest rooms, and memorable dining in Max Restaurant and the Pub Bar & Grill.

The Red Tree Lodge

The Red Tree Lodge offers the best value of all Fernie hotels. With our unrivaled amenities, the most central location in town and a dedicated team of friendly, knowledgeable staff, we ensure you make the most of your time in Fernie.

Tourism Fernie

A variety of lodging options are available in Fernie depending on your needs.

Motels and Hostels – A wide range of budget accommodation options can be found in Fernie. Our local Fernie hostel offers dorm-style lodging

Condominiums & Townhomes – Fernie condo rentals are a great way to experience your Rockies vacation. Reserve from a huge range of accommodation options – 1-bedroom to 4-bedroom, fully equipped units sleep from 2-10 guests.

Bed & Breakfasts – There are many bed and breakfast options in Fernie. Reserve private guest rooms with a simple breakfast option or opt for a more elaborate catering package.

Private Chalets & Alpine Homes – Fernie chalets offer accommodation for larger groups or for those looking for more space.  Large, fully equipped contemporary and traditional mountain homes.