For me, summer is all about road tripping. The windows are down and the radio is playing some summer tunes (in Fernie I was only ever able to get two stations, the Drive FM and Total Country). And while I love summer in Fernie, it is great to get out of town once in a while and explore. Here are 5 awesome road trips from Fernie you need to take this summer.

5 awesome road trips from Fernie you need to take this summer

Fernie is located in the East Kootenays, one road in and one road out. But as you can see from the map below, you do have several options. To the south is the US and Montana, to the east is Crowsnest Pass and Alberta, while to the west there is a plethora of choices. 

 

Fernie to Nelson (321km via Kootenay Bay Ferry, or 326km via Kootenay Pass)

First of all, you have a choice to make when you road trip from Fernie to Nelson. Do you take the ferry across Kootenay Lake or do you take Kootenay Pass. Last Fall when I road tripped from Fernie to Nelson, I did both. On the way to Nelson I took the ferry from Kootenay Bay and on the way back I took highway 3 across Kootenay Pass. Both drives are stunning, highway 3A hugs Kootenay Lake and offers some beautiful views across the water, while the drive over Kootenay Pass (elevation 5,823 ft) takes you over one of the highest paved roads in Canada, which is open year-round. 

nelson-bc-fall-colours

Fernie to Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta (160km)

A short and sweet road trip but one that many from Fernie do in the summer. Waterton Lakes National Park is found in the South-West corner of Alberta, saddling the border the USA and Glacier National Park. The drive from Fernie takes you through the Crowsnest Pass and into the plains of Alberta, turning off Highway 3 towards Pincher Creek, the road is parallel to the mountains. It is a beautiful drive and there are lots of opportunities to stop and take photographs of the landscape. 

Fernie to Banff, Alberta (356km) 

The road trip to Banff is a classic. The trip takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Kootenays. The towns you pass through, Fort Steele, Invermere, Radium Hot Springs, are all worthy of stops, as is Kootenay National Park, while a little detour to Yoho is highly recommended. The final destination of Banff, Alberta needs no introduction. It is a world-class National Park situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. 

Banff townsite in Banff National Park

Fernie to Golden (324km)

Golden is much like Fernie, it is home to a kick ass ski hill (Kicking Horse), it offers stunning scenery, mountain biking is king in summer, the fishing is second to none, rafting the Kicking Horse River is a must and it is an ideal base to explore the beautiful Yoho National Park. 

Wapta Falls Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Fernie to Whitefish, Montana (165km)

Whitefish is like a second home to many Canadians from the Kootenays. In fact, most weekends throughout the summer you’ll see more Canadian registered cars in town than American. The reason they come to Whitefish in the summer? It is as varied as you’d expect, there is no sales tax in Montana, beer is cheap, the lakes are warm, the people friendly and welcoming. Whitefish is just a short drive from the world famous Glacier National Park, making it a perfect base to explore the park. 

What are some of your favourite road trips to take in the summer? Let me know in the comments below.


Visit the Nomads on the Road photoshop

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  • Raymond Carroll says

    Amazing pics! I’m off to Canada (from Scotland) on Friday – looking forward to it, although I’m headed for Ontario not BC. I would love to visit one day as I have a cousin in Vancouver. Great post!


  • Wilma Chorney says

    Just curious as to why you think the Crowsnest Pass is only a place to drive through, when we have so much to offer visitors?


    • Mike Cotton says

      Hi Wilma, thank you for the comment. I love visiting the Pass and certainly don’t think it is only place to drive through. I’m hoping to spend some time hiking Turtle Mountain this Fall and I’ll be stopping for dinner at the Rum Runner, at some stage, on my way back to Fernie. Do you have any favourite things to do in the Pass that I should know about?


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