One of the first things on my summer bucket list was to take a road trip – and mission accomplished because the Wyld family took off for 10 days on an awesome cross-province road trip from Whistler to Fernie, BC! We had a great family road trip (it went so much better than I expected!) and I would recommend a trip to Fernie for anyone that
Fernie is a small mountain town located in the south-east corner of British Columbia. It’s famous for the snow that falls in the winter, but the summer is a beautiful time to go and really appreciate Fernie! Fernie has a beautiful historic downtown, surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas that are absolutely stunning. It’s the perfect place to for a family vacation in the summer or winter – because there’s an abundance of fun activities to do for all ages!
Day 1: Road trip from Whistler to Revelstoke
We left Whistler on a sunny afternoon and headed towards Revelstoke, the first stop on our road trip to Fernie. We drove north through Pemberton, Lilloet, and Cache Creek – and if you’ve never driven through this section of Highway 99, put it on your bucket list because this is an astounding drive. The landscape changes from lush, green forested mountains into a dry, desert mountain landscape in a couple of hours. It makes my jaw drop every single time.
Keep in mind that Gravol was necessary on this section of the trip – the drive from Pemberton to Cache Creek is a very curvy, switch-back, and sometimes steep section of road. I have a thing with heights, especially when there’s a tiny little barrier on my side of the truck and we’re thousands of feet up… but the Gravol fixed me and my son’s tummies just fine!
After driving for about 6 hours, we made it to Revelstoke around 9:00 pm. We quickly threw our luggage into our room at the hotel and headed to The Village Idiot for late night pizza before going to bed. There are no bed times on a Wyld Road Trip.
Day 2: Road trip from Revelstoke to Fernie
We’re on the road again! Leaving Revelstoke at about 9 am and we made our way towards Fernie. Driving through the incredibly gorgeous Roger’s Pass was absolutely amazing….. We stopped for a quick brunch at the Canadian classic, Tim Horton’s in Golden, BC, and then headed towards our final destination, but not before driving through the town of Radium Hot Springs.
My husband had us super excited for Radium Hot Springs, a small town that boasted (you guessed it!) natural hot springs and mountain goats. He had driven through here once before and told us these amazing stories of mountain goats taking over the whole road and not being able to drive through – there were goats everywhere… except that time we drove through Radium Hot Springs and saw NO mountain goats! None. Lucky us!
Anyway, we headed back on the road and made it to Fernie by mid-afternoon – did you know that Fernie is in a different time zone? Things we didn’t realize until we got there… late for things! C’est la vie! First things first, take a cheesy photo with only three family members in it, doing jazz hands, in front of the Fernie sign.
First thing we did when we got to Fernie? Checked into our condo at the 901 Schoolhouse! We were exhausted from our long drive, and kicking up our feet in this luxe condo was just the ticket and it was air conditioned! For the first half of our Fernie trip, we stayed at a heritage building conversion, the 901 Schoolhouse, thanks to Fernie Central Reservations.
I prefer renting a house or a condo when I’m travelling, because having a full kitchen and all the extra space is perfect for our family of four. Fernie Central Reservations has over 40 rental properties in Fernie, BC, everything from a 1-bedroom right on the ski hill to a luxury 8-bedroom chalet that’s big enough for a family reunion! I spent a lot of time browsing (and lusting!) over the properties on Fernie Central Reservations and chose the gorgeous penthouse suite, right in the heart of Fernie.
The location was perfect because it was walking distance to the charming historic downtown, so we could enjoy a handmade margarita at a Mexican bar and easily bike to our lovely home away from home! The condo we stayed in has two large bedrooms and three bathrooms, with a massive living area and the kitchen had top of the line appliances – and it even had a roof-top patio with views of the mountains. It was heaven!
I keep saying that Fernie has this mountain town soul, and when you spend some time in the downtown area, checking out shops and restaurants, you feel it from everyone. There’s this warmth I felt from the people who reside in Fernie, and it’s beautiful to see the community comes together often to celebrate, create art, and have fun together.
It’s easy to see why everyone is so happy in Fernie, surrounded by natural beauty, easy access to hiking trails, biking trails, river rafting, fishing, not to mention all the winter recreational activities that abound – plus so much good food!
Do you see all of that above? Delicious, scrumptious, drool-worthy dishes that we had at every meal! We ordered late night pizza, had yummy sushi, savoury bagels, Mexican food – we ate a ton, but luckily all the food we ate was balanced by all the fun we had!
Rafting in Fernie
We spent a lovely afternoon going on a scenic float down the Elk River, with rafting company Mountain High Adventures. Our guide was so amazing and she was full of knowledge about the Fernie area, we had such a great time. Mountain High Adventures offers paddle boarding, whitewater kayaking and rafting, and some wicked river adventures.
I would highly recommend taking a scenic float down the Elk River – and the kids had such a fun time! My son loved being splashed by ‘huge’ waves and my daughter literally hung out in the water, hanging on to the side of the boat!
Summer Fun at Fernie Alpine Resort
We had a ton of fun checking out the Fernie Alpine Resort! The resort is known in the summer for its’ amazing hiking, sightseeing, mountain biking, mountain top camping, zip lines and aerial park adventures. Our family loves to mountain bike, so we were really looking forward to the trails and experiencing a different terrain that what we’re used to.
Fernie Alpine Resort hooked us up with mountain bike guide, Eric, who was awesome and super knowledgeable about the trails. He helped us pick out some awesome runs, and was super supportive when I realized my level of biking wasn’t where I thought it was – I realized that I actually hadn’t been on my bike for almost two years! But the kids had a TON of fun and I would highly recommend using a mountain bike guide when at a new resort!
The aerial park was a TON of fun and super challenging – especially for people with a fear of heights… like me! I have to admit, I wasn’t brave enough to finish it, but my daughter was absolutely amazing. She had a ton of fun at the aerial park and did some super difficult features! She amazes me. Honestly!
If you’re in the Fernie area during the summer, you have to stop at the resort to do some of the awesome activities. Even if you’re not looking for sports on the more extreme side, they have some amazing hiking and sightseeing, delicious food, and even offer yoga classes and a foraging hike & dine!
Staying at Island Lake Lodge
For the last two days of our trip, we stayed at the beautiful Island Lake Lodge. The lodge is tucked away in the mountains of Fernie, a quick 20-minute drive up a dirt mountain road brings you to log cabins surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas. In the winter, the Island Lake Lodge is known for catskiing and snowboarding, while in the summer the lodge offers hotel accommodation, hiking, dining, spa, mountain biking, fly fishing and a spectacular setting for weddings at “I Dew Point”.
Island Lake Lodge is a great place to stay overnight or just visit for the day. The rooms are spacious, warm and super charming. The beds are comfortable and I slept so well with the crisp mountain air. There are two restaurants at the Island Lake Lodge, and both of them were absolutely amazing, they even have their own cookbook that we brought home to try and recreate the dishes. Every meal we had there was very memorable, and we felt so relaxed during our stay at the Lodge. I would highly recommend staying here, and I will definitely be back in the winter to do some backcountry skiing!
On the Road Again to Radium Hot Springs
After such an amazing time in Fernie, we really didn’t want to start heading home again, but we planned a few stops along the way! First, we stopped in the town of Radium Hot Springs again, and lo and behold – we found mountain goats! They were huge and so awesome to see walking around town. We drove up to the hot springs for a relaxing dip in the pools and had a delicious lunch at an Austrian restaurant.
After lunch, we drove up to Revelstoke to stay the night before embarking on the rest of our drive home. The drive home was not as scenic as the wind had blown smoke from wildfires across BC into our path, and Revelstoke was super hazy. We even had to change our route back home as the highway was shut down in certain places.
The detour led us to some pretty amazing places, and we drove through areas we’ve never been before, which was pretty awesome. I love watching the landscapes change from rocky mountains full of lush green forests to dry, desert conditions. We saw some more goats on our way home through Spencer’s Bridge, although they were a lot smaller!
Our family had the most amazing time on our road trip to Fernie, and I still can’t believe how well we did stuck in the car with each other for such a long time! Fernie is such a beautiful town, we’ve made some incredible memories there in our short visit, and we can’t wait to go back!