It’s summer in Fernie, British Columbia, and if you have time for just one hike, make it the Mountain Lakes Trail. Recently completed loving trail work has revamped this classic gem into one of the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
It’s a 24-kilometer masterpiece of a trial, built up by local legend Heiko Socher. A walking display of his handiwork, the trail features hand-built bridges and hobbit-like carvings on railings and posts, accentuating the landscape and beckoning you to sit and ponder. From waterfalls to a limestone cave, there is artwork from both nature and Heiko at every corner on this trail, etched into the precipitous landscape. Mountain Lakes Trail has so much to experience: You’ll climb ladders, cross bridges, and see an array of entertaining signs, but it’s the incredible alpine beauty that will keep you coming back.
Completed in 2003, Mountain Lakes Trail has remained somewhat under the radar, but with the new improvements, it will certainly be included in new guide books. And with that will come crowds, as this trail will certainly make it onto “must-hike” lists for the Canadian Rockies. So do it now, while it’s still low key. You’ll gain a great appreciation for Heiko and the team of volunteers who have dedicated their time and hard work to restoring it.
Come prepared for long haul, as it’s 24 kilometers one way from Hartley Lake access to Island Lake Lodge. Carry extra water, food and clothing, and maybe some extra cash for a snack or cold drink at Island Lake Lodge.