Great access to trails, without all the frills!
Fernie is a great place to mountain bike. It’s got an engaged community of mountain bikers and plenty of good restaurants, bars and hotels. But what if, like me, you prefer to camp rather than stay in a hotel, and hang out at a sunny campsite rather than at restaurants and bars? Well, you’re in luck, this Fernie campground review will have just the information you’re looking for.
Fernie has two campgrounds very close to town and they both offer great access to trails, right from your campsite. Great access to trails is where the similarities end however, as they both offer very different camping experiences and amenities. One of these campgrounds is the Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground. In this Fernie campground review I’ll show you why this is the place to stay if you’re looking for great access to trails, without all the frills.
Tell me about Mount Fernie Provincial Park
As the name suggests, the Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground is located in Mount Fernie Provincial Park! The park is 259 hectares (640 acres) in size and was established in 1959. It is located just north of the Fernie Alpine Resort and west of Highway 3.
Now on to the campground!
The campground is located near the east side of Mount Fernie Provincial Park, just off of Highway 3. The road up to the campground from the highway is paved and driveable by any roadworthy vehicle. And, it is within easy cycling distance of the town of Fernie.
How close is the riding?
What kind of Fernie campground review would this be if we didn’t talk about the mountain biking? Nearly all of the riding areas in Fernie are within cycling distance from the campground. These areas include Ridgemont, Castle Mountain, Morrisey Ridge, Fernie Alpine Resort and Mount Fernie Provincial Park.
Mount Fernie Provincial Park, as a riding area, is the closest. The campground itself is surrounded by great mountain bike trails that are accessible right from any of the campsites. The riding in the park offers something for every skill level from beginner to advanced.
See the Trailforks riding area map for Mount Fernie Provincial Park below.
Mount Fernie Provincial Park on Trailforks.com
Also close to the campground is the Fernie Alpine Resort. It is accessible by mountain bike trail right from the campground, and offers lift-accessed mountain biking during the summer season.
If you’re looking for ride ideas around Fernie or are short on time, you may find this post helpful: “Planning a Long Weekend of Riding in Fernie? Get the Best Bang for Your Buck”.
Tell me about the sites
The Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground offers various sizes and types of campsites. There are 69 total campsites. Eleven are tenting-only sites and are considered to be walk-in sites. This means that campers park in a nearby parking lot and carry their camping gear to the site. The small parking lots that service these sites are very close to the sites themselves and so vehicles are easily accessible.
In addition to tenting-only walk-in sites, there are 58 additional sites that can be used for either RV or tent camping. The campsite itself has room for parking and they are larger than the tenting-only sites. Sixteen of the 58 RV/tenting sites are double sites. Here, two single sites are joined together to make 8 double sites that can be used by groups camping together.
Below is a walk through video showing one of the campground’s numerous RV/tent sites.
In my opinion, one of the things that makes this a great campground is that all of the sites are nicely separated by trees. The trees make each site feel private and offer shade on hot summer days. Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground is a great place to stay if you truly want a natural camping experience.
What do you mean by no frills?
There are no services to any of the sites. This means no power, water, or sewer lines. Not a big deal for those camping in tents, but if you’re in an RV you’ll have to bring your own water and power and take your grey/black water with you. There is a public grey/black water dump site near the Fernie Visitor Information Centre.
If you’re camping in an RV for an extended period and need to top up your battery, generators are allowed at certain times of day. Those times are between 9am – 11am and 6pm – 8pm.
Although there are no services, each site does have a picnic table and firepit, including the walk-in tent sites.
No frills doesn’t mean dingy. In my experience the Mount Fernie Provincial Park campground sites are kept very clean, as are the facilities. Bathrooms, outhouses and showers are all cleaned regularly and kept in good functioning order.
Fernie campground review pro tips:
- There is no electricity in the park, so if you have a solar panel I would suggest trying to get a site along the north edge of the park. These south-facing lots offer great sunshine for most of the day.
- If you’re riding from the campground, check out the Project 9 Trail. It’s a Fernie classic that also has a beer by the Fernie Brewing Company named after it. Photos of the trail and a post-ride Project 9 beverage look great on Instagram!
What’s the cost?
All sites in the park are $30/night. There is a reservation fee of $6.00/night up to a maximum of $18.00. This means that you won’t pay the reservation fee after the third consecutive night’s stay.
Firewood is available for purchase from the campsite attendants at a cost of $10.00/bundle.
What are the amenities like?
By now, it’s probably become obvious that the Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground is quite basic. In my opinion, this is one of its charms, but there are some amenities:
- Flush Toilets
- Access to potable water
One amenity the campground does have that is important if you are out riding all day is showers. The showers are warm and they’re free!
In the shower building there are flush toilets. There is also a second building with flush toilets in another area of the campground. In addition to flush toilets, there are four outhouses scattered throughout the park.
Also scattered throughout the park are five potable water taps to fill water jugs. It’s always a good idea to check in with the campground attendants when you arrive as there have been boil water advisories in the past.
There are waste and recycling bins throughout the campground as well.
If you’re looking for things to do after a ride, Lizard Creek runs adjacent to the campground and can provide a refreshing opportunity to cool off. There is also a self-guided interpretive hiking trail accessible from the campground.
Two amenities the campground lacks are laundry facilities and Wifi. I mention these specifically because they can both be important to mountain bikers! But, while there is no Wifi, there is cell service, at least for some carriers.
Can I make a reservation?
Yes, you can make a reservation. In total, 37 of the 69 can be reserved. None of the 11 walk-in tent sites can be reserved, so that leaves 21 RV/tent sites left for first-come, first-served traffic.
Reservations can be made up to four months in advance of the first night of your stay. They must also be made more than 48 hours before the first night of your stay, so no last-minute reservations! All reservations are handled online through the BC Parks central reservations website, discovercamping.ca.
The maximum length of stay permitted at the Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground is seven consecutive nights.
Is there anything else I should know?
Quiet time in the park is 11pm – 7am and checkout time is 11am.
Leashed pets are allowed at no extra charge.
Great riding, no frills
If you’re looking for a campground with no frills, but great access to riding, Mount Fernie Provincial Park is the place for you! The sites offer privacy, and nature is around every corner. It would be very hard to find better access to riding anywhere else.
On the other hand, if access to power, water, sewer, laundry and Wifi are things you look for in a campsite, there is another option. Stay tuned for my next Fernie campground review where I will look at the Fernie RV Resort.
For more information on mountain biking and other things to do around Fernie check out the Tourism Fernie website. For news, events and updates related to the area trails visit the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA) and/or the Fernie Mountain Bike Club (FMBC) websites.