A steep hike up between Island Lake and Fernie Alpine Resort. The trail starts through old growth cedar forest before heading into the alpine and over a small pass. Some route finding is required in the alpine. Trail ends at Thunder Meadows Cabin – a wilderness hut that can be booked for overnight stays via The Guides Hut in Fernie. Allow 4-6 hours, out and back.
This is a steep hike that starts off with a creek crossing; some rock-hopping may be required. Man-eating nettles abound near the creek but soon disappear as you pass the creek. The trail then climbs very steeply through old growth cedar forest, weaving between enormous trees. As the trail emerges into the true alpine it becomes indistinct and hard to follow. If you lose the trail you will need to forge your own way. Your reference is to look up the bowl – it narrows as it reaches the top, with a big lump of rock in the middle of the narrowest section – you want to head towards the narrowing at the top, and then keep the big lump on your left as you climb and you soon rediscover the trail as it heads up over the final pass.
The cabin is a few hundred metres below the pass soon visible as you descend. There is a small alpine lake just beyond the cabin.
Continuing past the cabin and lake you end up in Polaris Bowl and can climb the back of Polar Peak and down into Fernie Alpine Resort. This is not recommended in the summer as it involves a lot of bushwhacking. A ridge walk is also possible along the Lizard Range exiting via Lizard Lake trail or Polar Peak. This is a steep route that has some scrambling with exposed sections. You do not want to be caught on the ridge in a thunderstorm and escape routes off the ridge are limited.
Safety note: Rescues are required up here from time to time and it should be noted there is no cell signal for much of the trail and wildlife is abundant. A trip plan should be left with a responsible person in town, first aid and basic survival gear is needed, as is bear spray.
Drive out of Fernie heading South (Cranbrook direction) for 3km to Mt Fernie Provincial Park. Turn right in to the park and head up the Island Lake Road for 6km from the highway. Park at the Old Growth parking lot. Start out on the Old Growth trail until you pass a large gap in the trees where an avalanche took out all the forest a few years back. Head down to the right and follow the Cabin Trail signs.
Local Trail Association
More Stats for Cabin Trail (HIKING ONLY) mountain bike trail
Altitude change2,345 ft
Altitude min3,836 ft
Altitude start3,836 ft
Altitude end6,181 ft
Distance climb2 miles
Distance down3,293 ft
Distance flat471 ft
- view trail stats
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry
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