British Columbia

Province Code
BC

Driving along Highway 3 through the Kootenays, many folks pass by the city of Cranbrook not realizing what lies just off the busy road. I recently spent a couple of days here and discovered this: a cool recreated historic village, miles and miles of trails for hikers and bikers, a deliciously vibrant food scene and a local craft brewery named after the impressive Fisher Peak that reigns the landscape here.

If you were to tell a friend you were going to the mountains of Fernie what would come to mind? Images of challenging multi-day treks in alpine wilderness, fearless climbs up huge rock walls, adrenaline-pumping mountain trail riding or daring white-water rafting?

“That used to be my hotspot over there,” said Captain Mike Halvorsen, pointing across the Alberni Inlet to a cove where Douglas Firs covered a mountainside and stood branch-to-branch at the edge of a pebble-covered beach.

The bulbs of market lights twinkling above were strung between cedar boughs, and Perry Como played on an outdoor loudspeaker.

“It’s 1953 day at the Mill today!” said Deanna Beaudoin, executive director of McLean Mill Historic Park  as she walked up to me with root beer floats in hand.

We woke up for a day of adventure, feeling energized and ready for biking Kimberley’s trails. The natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains surrounding Kimberley will have that effect on you. Riding a bike puts me in a positive state of mind and I knew it was going to be a memorable day as we set out to explore the area on two wheels.

With our rental bikes loaded on the back of our SUV, we headed out from Kootenay Mountain Works bike shop eager to take on the Community Forest everyone was raving about in Cranbrook. As we neared Cranbrook, we turned north from the city towards the Eager Hill trailhead. We were immediately greeted with a sun-kissed hillside of blooming wildflowers and the scent of Ponderosa pine.

The rushing waters of the St. Mary River pass a circle of Ktunaxa tipis erected proudly on its banks while Fisher Peak keeps a watchful eye in the distance. You could imagine this very scene 10,000 years ago when the first Ktunaxa (Kootenay) people called this land home.

#OkanaganExploring Oliver, B.C. is home to more than 20 of B.C.’s wineries, the Black Sage Bench, the Golden Mile Bench - which has been recognized as a distinctive sub-Appalachian wine region - three lakes, thousands of bird species, indigenous history, and Nçaylintn - one of the province’s most distinctive rock formations.