9 miles
Distance
2,910 ft
Climb
-4,675 ft
Descent
03:53:41
Avg time

Details

  • Riding area
    Mount Fernie Provincial Park
    Fernie, British Columbia
  • Difficulty rating
  • Trail type
    Singletrack
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Double Black Diamond
  • Physical rating
    Extreme
  • Alpine Trail
    Yes
  • eBike Allowed
    No
  • Global Ranking

A stunning hike that starts with a steep climb up the side of a waterfall, zigging and zagging back to the falls until you get to the very top of them, with a jet of water gushing out of a hole in the rock.

2km into the hike you reach Bisaro Cave – a huge cave that you can head into and explore the waterfall that pours down the back of it. While you can climb to the top of this waterfall, going any further is not recommended without expert caving and diving knowledge.

After the cave two creek crossings are made by traversing metal girders. Look for the names of the grandchildren of the couple that paid to have these girders heli-dropped into place.

A solid climb takes you to Three Sisters Pass, with stunning views, an option to climb to the summit of the Three Sisters (a solid 2-3 hour extra hike) and the trail that takes you down into Fairy Creek Meadows. Head down into the Meadows, full of alpine flowers, and then climb sharply back up to Windy Pass.

From Windy Pass, depending on your itinerary, either head towards the Tamarack Trail and Island Lake Lodge, or take the Rocky Road that leads over the top of Mount Fernie and back down to Fernie.

Island Lake Lodge is a worthy destination. A word- class lodge sitting above an alpine lake with majestic views up to the Three Bears mountain peaks. In the summer months you can sit on a stunning deck surrounded by flowers and enjoy gourmet lunch options and a cold beer.

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. Island Lake Lodge can provide hiking guides .

Access Info

Most people organise to leave a vehicle at Island Lake Lodge, and then drive another one to the trailhead, which can be picked up later using the one left at Island Lake.

The hike can be done in either direction, but most start at the Hartley Lake end: Drive out of Fernie heading North and turn left immediately after the Visitor Centre onto Dicken Road. Drive 4km down Dicken and then turn left onto Hartley Lake Road (signed). This road rapidly turns into a rough gravel road and you need to follow this 11.5km, past Hartley Lake, over Hartley Pass and down the other side. Turn left into Sulphur Creek road. This goes another 2.5km to the trailhead and requires an SUV. Big potholes full of water and a slightly tricky creek crossing with two metal girders to drive over. A big wooden signboard signals the start of the trail.

An alternative is to start as above, but to have a spare vehicle in Fernie (rather than Island Lake Lodge). In this case start at the Hartley end and come back via Rocky Road and Mount Fernie. Total journey time is about the same. Route is described below.

The trail can also be accessed via Olivia Creek: proceed as above but shortly after passing Hartley Lake and summiting Hartley Pass (about 8.5km after turning off Dicken Road), turn left into Olivia Creek road and drive for about 1.5km and then park to begin the hike. This trail joins the Mountain Lakes Trail at Three Sisters Pass. The Olivia Creek route is harder to follow and not recommended without local knowledge or good route-finding skills.

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. Island Lake Lodge can provide hiking guides .

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Mountain Lakes Trail (Hiking Only) mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -1,765 ft
  • Altitude min
    4,599 ft
  • Altitude max
    7,481 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,367 ft
  • Altitude end
    4,603 ft
  • Grade
    -3.537%
  • Grade max
    -72.741%
  • Grade min
    85.122%
  • Distance climb
    4 miles
  • Distance down
    5 miles
  • Distance flat
    2,210 ft
  • Avg time
    03:53:41
  • Avg reverse time
    05:06:03
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Sep 15, 2017
Variable
Avg: 4.5 (4 votes)

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Layers winter
Trail Style
  • ?
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Directions to mountain-lakes-trail-hiking-only trailhead (49.523680, -115.153940)
update trails status or condition

Mountain Lakes... Trail Reports

datedescription
Sep 15, 2017 @ 5:45pm
Sep 15, 2017
reporter All trails are open again! Yay!
Sep 4, 2017 @ 8:03am
Sep 4, 2017
reporter TRAILS ARE ALL CLOSED DUE TO FIRE HAZARD - SEVERE FINES FOR RIDING OR HIKING
Jul 15, 2017 @ 4:55pm
Jul 15, 2017
a few snow patches. Less than 1% snow covered. No problem to hike entire trail.
Jul 4, 2017 @ 8:28pm
Jul 4, 2017
Deep snow present soon after the beginning of the trail (entering from Tamarack). Only walked a hundred meters before turning back due to the deep...
view all reports »

Photos

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336 |
Aug 30, 2009 @ 9:45am
Aug 30, 2009
Mountain Lakes Trail (Hiking Only)
291 |
Aug 30, 2009 @ 9:44am
Aug 30, 2009
Mountain Lakes Trail (Hiking Only)

Routes with this trail

titleratingdistance
Heiko's Mountain Lake Trail
15 miles
Three Sisters Summit
7 miles

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Videos

more »
Bisaro Cave
0:28 | 131 | Jul 16, 2017 , Fernie
Watergate on Heiko's Trail near Bisaro Cave
0:15 | 82 | Jul 16, 2017 , Fernie
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