Wildlife Viewing Tips
• Dawn and dusk are the best times , but always keep your eyes open .
• Be quiet and keep pets under control or ideally leave them at home . Wildlife consider dogs predators and quickly disappear .
• Stand quietly in one place where you might expect to see wildlife . Close your eyes and listen . Then watch and observe .
• Give wildlife space . Keep your distance so that adults are not scared away from maternal care leaving young vulnerable to predators . Instead , use binoculars or spotting scope to get a closer look .
• Be wildlife aware . Use appropriate caution and learn about avoiding conflicts before you venture into wildlife areas . For more information visit wildsafebc . com .
• As you explore please be respectful of the environment around you and others . Dispose of waste properly . Leave what you find . Take only photographs and explore safely .
Exploring # 4 & 5
Exploring # 2
Townsend ’ s Warbler
Common Merganser Pair
Discover Wildlife in Fernie
The diversity of ecosystems in Fernie provide unrivalled birding and wildlife viewing opportunities year-round and especially in spring and fall season .
• Flowing Mountain Creeks : Mountains are like water towers trapping snow and rain . Rushing creeks drain the steep terrain from ‘ water tower ’ mountains above . Look for : American Dipper , Spotted Sandpiper , Dark-eyed Junco
• Riparian Forests & Wetlands : Riparian areas and wetlands transition from the Elk River to drier uplands . Wetlands store water for adapted plants and animals . Look for : Western Painted Turtles , Common Garter Snake , Western Toad , Common Merganser , Great Blue Heron , Osprey , Beaver , Moose
• Montane Forests ( Valley Bottom ): Sharing the space for both people and wildlife . Everything moves across the valley bottom . Look for : Deer , Elk , Black Bear , Coyotes , Fox , Varied Thrush , Rufous Hummingbird , Columbia Ground Squirrel
Explore Fernie ’ s Diverse Ecosystems
1 . Flowing Mountain Creek : Fairy Creek
Fairy Creek flows into the Elk River just north of town and is the community ’ s watershed . This important creek can be explored by hiking to Fairy Creek Falls as part of the Mt Proctor Trail . The 5km return hike to the falls is a family-friendly and begins at the Fernie Visitor Information Centre located at 102 Commerce Road along Highway 3 on the north end of town .
Island Lake Lodge
Old Growth Trail
5 . Old Growth Forests :
Explore Island Lake Lodge ’ s Old Growth Trail , a moderate 8km return hike open June to September . Or head further south along Hwy 3 off Morrissey Road by the train tracks to explore the Ancient Cottonwood Trail a gentle 2km loop hike .
< To Island Lake Lodge
2 . Riparian Forests & Wetlands : Along Elk River , Maiden Lake & McDougal / West Fernie Wetland
There is much to explore by foot , bike or vehicle ! The wide and easy Town Loop / Great Northern Trail along the Elk River in town connects it all or drive to the various locations between the Fernie Visitor Centre , Annex Park and James White Park . Park at the end of Eckersley Street , just off McDonald Ave in West Fernie , and take the trail right to explore .
MT . FERNIE PARK ROAD
4 . Subalpine & Old Growth Forests : Mt Fernie Provincial Park & Fernie Alpine Resort
Explore the forested trails of Mt Fernie Provincial Park such as Sherwood and Gorby by foot or mountain bike . Towards the top of Gorby about 2km up the trail you ’ ll encounter some of Fernie ’ s giant cedars . There are many trails to explore while looking for wildlife . Fernie Alpine Resort is open for summer late June to early September for lift access hiking , sightseeing and biking .
Photo Credits : Ryan Schultz , Vince Mo , The Afternoon Birder , Canyon Rafting , Matt Kuhn
• Subalpine Forests : Forests drape down the mountain sides and lead up to the high alpine at the top . Look for : Red Squirrels , Steller ’ s Jay , American Pine Marten , Snowshoe Hare
• Old Growth Forests : Explore
Great Blue Heron ancient Western Red Cedar , Douglas Fir , Spruce and Cottonwoods . Look for : Townsend ’ s Warbler , Winter Wren , Grizzly Bear , Bald Eagle , Long-Toed Salamander .
The variety and quality of ecosystems near Fernie make an ideal area for wildlife viewing . Some animals are common , while others such as Bear , Beaver and Moose are more recluse and less likely to be seen .
Each of these unique ecosystems provide distinctive food , shelter and characteristics for wildlife habitat amidst humans living , recreating and working . Explore each area and discover the variety of wildlife rarely found elsewhere in the world .
Mount Fernie Provincial Park
Fernie Alpine Resort
To Cottonwood Forest >
James White Park
Fernie Visitor Centre
Annex Park P
11th St .
4th St .
2nd Ave .
Fernie Aquatic Centre
Town Loop & Coal Discovery Trail
Download the TRAILFORKS App for local GPS trails .
3 . Montane Forests : Valley Bottom Slopes East Side of the Elk River
Explore the Montane Trail System or the Elk Valley Trail / The Great Trail by foot or mountain bike , you can start either from the Fernie Aquatic Centre . Specific trail options include Easy Beaver / Montane Green Trail to Montane Hut ( 7km return ), or take the Town Loop to Coal Discovery Trail .