Canoeing Near Fernie
Paddling the Waters of the Canadian Rockies
When the snows of the Canadian Rockies begin to melt, the alpine wildflowers inch above the ground, and the sun decks the panorama with an emerald sheen, it’s time to inventory your clothing and gear for paddling the glassy lakes around Fernie. If you haven’t already, it’s also time to book your extended stay at our mountain lodge in Fernie. We’re a perfect, luxurious basecamp for all your wet and wild expeditions in the waters of the majestic Lizard Range. Whatever your adventure in Fernie—canoeing, kayaking, or stand up paddleboarding (SUP)—you will always cherish the beauty and the memories you make here.
You can put in at the bridge on the north edge of Fernie for a gentle half-mile float through town. This is a refreshing, 30-minute trip on a hot summer day. You can take out at Dogwood Park and shuttle back to start over again, or you can linger near the park to walk and wade in the river or sunbathe.
If you’re up for a longer run, you can also continue past the park for approximately 3 more hours on a 9.5-mile float past an ancient cottonwood trail to the boat launch at Morrissey Road. The trip from the Morrissey Boat Launch to Elko, 10 miles downriver, requires some paddling skills to navigate beyond several log jams, but the scenery is spectacular, and you have every chance to see blue herons and moose during your journey.
From Round Prairie, just short of an hour north of Fernie, you can put in along the banks of the Elk River for a 2-hour, intermediate (Class II) float to Elkford, or you can continue downriver for another 2 hours on a more advanced run that requires several portages.
Lake Paddling and Floats
For an easy day on the water, you can enjoy sitting back in a canoe upon the crystal blue waters of any one of five lakes that are within 45-50 minutes from your stay at The Qanuk. Roughly 30 minutes south of Fernie, you can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard on Surveyors Lake, which is part of the Kikomun Creek Provincial Park. Surveyors Lake offers two large beaches for family fun, and more than a few chances to paddle alongside Western painted turtles. Less than a mile away from our mountain lodge in Fernie is Baynes Lake, which is part of an unincorporated rural community and is a wonderful place for SUP boarding and easy canoe paddling. Just a few miles northeast is Lake Koocanusa, with great day paddling and relaxing beach time. This one is also popular with campers and water skiers, so you may have some company on the water.
Just a 26-minute drive west into the mountains from Fernie, along the scenic Mt. Fernie Park Road, the waters of the alpine Island Lake ripple with reflections of the Lizard Range peaks and the dense forest of the Canadian Rockies. The road does not reach the lake, but it’s not far to portage a canoe or your SUP from the parking lot to the lakeshore. You also have an option to rent a canoe there. For the easiest float, Maiden Lake sits at the north end of Fernie, adjacent to the Fernie golf course. With the beautiful backdrop of the Three Sisters, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic, sitting on the small beach, and playing in the water.
Whether you’re looking for a slow float or an opportunity to paddle more challenging waters, the world around Fernie, BC, is a little piece of paradise that will cleanse your soul. And there’s no better accommodation than The Qanuk lodge for your extended vacation in the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies. Book your stay today, and bring your canoe or paddle board. And if you don’t have one, don’t worry! There are several adventure companies that can outfit you for everything from kayaking to canoeing to paddle boarding in Fernie.