Little known outside of Southeastern, British Columbia, the Mountain Lakes Trail, has got to be one of the best hiking trails in Canada for scenery and alpine experience. I did not set out to compare the Mountain Lakes Trail to the world’s great spiritual trails like the Camino De Santiago as first off one is 700 plus kilometres long and the Mountain Lakes trail is 25 kilometres long, but the Mountain Lakes Trail certainly has a special way of getting into your heart.
Mountain Lakes Trail, a 15 mile/25KM, journey from Hartley Lake to Island Lake, along the spine of the Southern Canadian Rockies, near, Fernie, British Columbia. The trail, almost forgotten, if it were not for the volunteer effort of Heiko Socher, who is 70 plus but can outwork a man half his age and his co-workers, who have been restoring it over the last 10 years. Heiko is a local Fernie celebrity, who was a forester by trade and noted pioneer of Fernie Snow Valley Ski Resort.
You will be amazed as you start out in a hobbit like land, full of streams bubbling out of the ground, little ladders, that you peer troll like over the edge as you prepare to access your next perch, handrails carved with care that could place that magical spell and even a large cave which, if you have kids along for the hike, will be the centerpiece of tales from the middle kingdom of your fantasy land expedition.
Nothing good comes without hard-work. Gaining roughly 4500 feet up and down over the 25 KM, makes this trail as my massage therapist stated an ‘Enriched Wellness Experience’, as you feel your quads and many other parts burn with joy.
Spiritual enrichment, Canadian Rockies style, this trail has it in spades. Alpine scenery, Rocky Mountain eye candy is everywhere you look and in my book this trail rivals the world’s best for mountain scenery. Your neck will be soar, and you will stumble as you stare at the unusual rock formations and spires of the Three Sisters, native princess’s who share their incredible beauty with the town of Fernie, British Columbia, far below.
The Mountain Lakes Trail can take between 7 and 9 hours, carry lots of water, be well prepared for mountain weather, carry extra clothing, wear good hiking boots, bring hiking poles and it is best to start at the Hartley Lake trailhead, and finish at Island Lake Lodge. You will have to shuttle cars or organize a pick up at Island Lake, but don”t forget to share a toast on the deck of Island Lake Lodge, upon completion of your own journey, along Canada’s pilgrim trail in the Canadian Rockies.
By Powder Matt
- Heiko’s new Fernie Mtn trail
- Fernie Ultra: Trail Run, Mountain Bike and Relay
- The Canadian Rockies Golf Trail
- New Fernie to Banff Trail Initiative
- Island Lakes standard, as high as the Rockies themselves
- Fernie Mountain Bike Guide Supports Trails
- Coal Discovery Trail Officially Opens
- Fernie Mountain Bike Instructor Course
- The Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre
- Heart Like a Wheel