Kootenay Rockies

Province

Cranbrook, B.C. – I was glued to the plane’s window as it started its descent into the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook. The vistas, equally beautiful and mysterious, gave a hint of what the valley has to offer. Soon we’d be on the ground and experiencing it all for the first time. A short flight from Vancouver via Pacific Coastal Airlines was about to unleash a new world of possibilities.  

Cranbrook, B.C. – Rising to the early morning glow from outside the teepee walls, we breathed the crisp mountain air and arose from our comfortable sleeping quarters to greet the day. After spending a night nestled in a teepee at Speaking Earth in St. Eugene, part of the greater Cranbrook area, we felt refreshed and more connected to our Canadian heritage than ever.  

Experiencing history has never felt so hands-on and as adventurous as it does in Cranbrook, B.C. After a short, smooth and scenic flight with Pacific Coastal Air, we landed in a new kind of paradise, and eager to explore the history of the southern Rockies region, we wasted no time.

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?

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.

I ride a road bike. But what I’m not good at is mountain biking. I need to see an obstacle way in advance so I can calculate my options. Left or right of a pebble on the shoulder of a road is about all I can handle.