Fernie is a true sledders playground offering endless powder-filled riding opportunities for all abilities and styles of snowmobiling. Through land-use agreements with government and private landowners, the Fernie Snowmobile Association is able to offer access to five distinct riding areas across the Elk Valley. Annual membership and day-use fees support provision and maintenance of over 160km of regularly groomed trails, 3 warming shelters, signage, events, and trailhead facilities.
PLEASE NOTE: There are several permanent and seasonal crown land closures in place throughout the Elk Valley to preserve sensitive ecosystems, wildlife and their habitats. Please refer to the Regional District of the East Kootenay’s Outdoor Access Guide for the latest information and maps. Closures may not be signed.
Undoubtedly one of Fernie’s most popular and easily accessible sledding areas, Coal Creek offers expansive riding options for all abilities within minutes from downtown. The staging area underwent a major expansion in fall of 2019, nearly doubling in size with a new loading/unloading ramp, outhouse and kiosk facilities. Follow the wide, groomed trail from the welcome kiosk for 16km to the Rolling Hills Cabin.
Many families enjoy this as an out and back trip or stay and play a while in the open plateau immediately behind the warming shelter (‘The Burn”). A nice groomed loop can be connected by riding Coal Creek to Doug Dean to Morrissey to Summit Trails and back down to the Coal Creek staging area. Those looking for additional adventure can dip off the groomed network to play in the thousands of acres of glades and cutblocks which dominate this zone.
Please note there a large avalanche path 3km up from the staging area. The lower section of trail may not be groomed at times of high avalanche hazard. Timber harvesting activities typically occur in this area until early January each season – please see our Groomer’s Reports on the events calendar for updates on closures.
Staging: Coal Creek Staging Area
Directions: From the highway, turn east towards downtown on 4th street, cross tracks, turn right on Pine Ave (later turns into Cokato Road), follow the road past Aquatic Center and continue straight as it transitions into a residential neighborhood. Watch for blue staging area sign: turn left on Coal Creek Road. Follow road for approximately 3.5 kilometers to the staging area (beside rod and gun club).
Groomed Trail: 16 km from the staging area to cabin.
Cabin GPS: Lat 49°26’53.95″N Long 114°52’40.91″W
Terrain Elevation: Staging Area 1083m; Cabin 1773m; Ridge top 2100m.
Best For: Families, Groups with multiple ability levels, those new to the area
Groomed: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday nights
The groomed Morrissey trail network provides access to some of Fernie’s best intermediate technical riding areas and the new Wrangler’s Cabin warming shelter completed in summer 2019. While there are plenty of tempting spots to dip off the trail and explore, most riders will continue South through the open meadow beside the Cabin and head up the pipeline to reach the sub-alpine bowls and scenic ridge known as “the Notch”. Riders will need to navigate a few steeper climbs although a groomed ride-around trail is typically built when there is sufficient snowfall later in the season to cover creeks.
Just before reaching the cabin turn off, riders will encounter junctions with the Summit followed by the Doug Dean trails leading North to the Coal Creek zones. After reaching the end of the Morrissey trail at the turn off junction for the Wrangler’s Cabin, rider’s can continue further East on the groomed McEvoy trail loop.
Special Notes – Portion of trail is on privately owned land, watch for snowcats and stay out of private lodge and cat ski areas.
Staging: Morrissey Staging Area.
Directions: Head South of Fernie on Highway 3, turn left on Morrissey Road, cross river/tracks, turn right on Cokato Road and follow as road veers left into Morrissey FSR, follow for approx 2km to staging area.
Groomed Trail: 14.5 km from staging to cabin.
Cabin GPS: Lat 49°24’40.10″N Long 114°51’3.76″W
Terrain Elevation: Staging 1033m; Cabin 1818m; Ridge 2200m.
Best For: Intermediate to advanced riders.
Groomed: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday (Notch and McEvoy groomed as conditions permit).
The Hartley Lake trail is Fernie’s gateway to technical alpine riding and some of our areas most remote backcountry terrain. The groomed trail is an easy ride from the staging area, past the old lake bed, to a series of open meadows. Riders can enjoy some great boondocking opportunities here or continue beyond to reach some true alpine riding zones set among the towering limestone peaks and scenic rocky mountain vistas. The groomed trail crosses several large avalanche paths which are known to release and block the trail with significant debris piles and no ride around option available.
Special Notes- Trucks/SUV’s pulling trailers must have chains to access staging area.