If you’re in the Rockies to mountain bike, then Fernie’s where you should end up. It boasts the biggest trail network, the most lenient landowners and most active trail-builders. If you’re in town for any length of time, pick up the excellent Fernie Mountain Bike Guide ($20) from any downtown sports shop. Even with this in hand a few pointers are useful:
- The season runs from May to October, but snow can cause problems at either end, so late June to early September is best; that’s also when Fernie Alpine Resort opens its lifts to bikers.
- The best central spot to park is the Aquatic Centre on Cokato Rd. There’s a trail map posted beside a good little dirt park, pump track and trials area.
- The best easier trails (graded intermediate or blue) are in the Ridgemont area, easily accessed from beside the cemetery above the Aquatic Centre.
- Trail combinations not to miss include Swine Flu–Mad Cow; Dem Bones–Mushroom Head–Phat Bastard; and Project 9.
- After snow and wet weather Castle Mountain trails and Project 9 dry out first.
- The best longer rides (2–3hr) are Castle Mountain, Slunt and Big Money.
- The most challenging ride in terms of length and backcountry exposure is the 44km Porky Blue.
- The most technically difficult trails are Three Kings and Dirt Diggler.