Island Lake Hiking Trail Descriptions

Marked Hiking Trails 

LAKE TRAIL   (2 km, 1 hr) Rating: Easy   FIR TRAIL Extension (add 3 km & 1 hr) Rating: Easy

Access: From the trail head below the Bear Lodge, head down the trail to the lake and follow the signs. Highlights: Allows for a gentle hike around Island Lake following lunch or dinner or when your time is limited. The Fir Trail wanders through the legendary Old Growth Forest of the upper Cedar Valley.

RAIL TRAIL   (3 km, elevation gain 50 m, 45min – 1.5 hr)  Rating: Rail Trail:  Easy.  OLD GROWTH TRAIL (4 km, elevation gain 250m, 45min – 1.5 hr)  Rating: Moderate.

Access: The Rail Trail starts at the base parking area, 30m past the Island Lake gate and finishes at the Old Growth Trail head. The Old Growth Trail then tours through ancient cedars, finishing at the lodge. Highlights: Historical railway, lumber mill sites and old growth cedar trees. These trails are steeped in the Elk Valley’s history.

SPINEBACK TRAIL  (3.5 km, elevation gain 530 m, 3-4 hours)  Rating: Advanced

Access: Via the Lake Trail and Fir Trail toward the west end of Island Lake. Once you reach the marked junction, follow the Spineback signs. Highlights: Paralleling the beautiful Spineback Ridge, the trail winds up through sub-alpine meadows, reaching the crest of the ridge and its bench. Continue another 0.5 km up to a second bench nestled between the 3 Bears’ peaks.

MOUNT BALDY LOOP  (10.5 km, elevation gain 620 m, 4-6 hours)  Rating: Advanced

Access: From the trail head below the Bear Lodge head west following signs for the Mount Baldy Trail. From the summit, the trail traverses the Mount Baldy ridge, continuing west. Highlights: The Baldy Trail switchbacks its way to the north summit of Mount Baldy where hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the entire Island Lake area.

TAMARACK TRAIL  (8 km, elevation gain 640 m, 5 hrs)  VIEWPOINT (4 km,  elevation gain 200 m, 3 hours) Rating: Moderate to Advanced

Access: From the trail head below the Bear Lodge head east following signs for the Tamarack Trail. Highlights: The trail winds its way up the south-west slopes of Mount Fernie through beautiful stands of mature Larch, with an option part way to go to the stunning viewpoint. The trail continues up through open, grassy slopes to the dramatic rock crags of Mount Fernie.

Hiking Routes of the Cedar Valley

Rating for Routes: Difficult   These routes are unmarked with no trails above the tree-line. Significant route finding and navigation skills required. Steepness, loose rock, becoming lost, encountering wild animals, and stream crossings are some of the hazards.

MOUNTAIN LAKES TRAIL  (HEIKO’S TRAIL)  (22 km, elevation gain 4500 m,  8-12 hours)  Rating: Difficult

Access: The trail starts 2 km down a cart track, 3 km north west of Hartley Lake on the Hartley Creek Road, with a rewarding finish at Island Lake Lodge. Highlights: Waterfalls, caves, snowfields, big mountain passes, and the option of making it an overnight trip. A high level of fitness and route finding skills are required and hiring a professional guide is strongly recommended

CABIN RIDGE (ROUTE)  Access: Drive the Island Lake Lodge access road 3km to the Old Growth Trail head. Follow the Old Growth Trail for 1km, then take the left fork trail to the Cabin Trail. Hiring a guide is recommended.

LIZARD LAKE (ROUTE)  Access: The trail head is in The Mount Fernie Provincial Park, approximately 0.5 km from the Island Lake Lodge property boundary and gate. No trail exists above and beyond the lake itself. Loose rock, snow and complicated terrain are all aspects of this route. Hiring a guide is recommended.

BIG WHITE PEAK (ROUTE)  Access: Via Spineback Trail. Just prior to reaching the crest of the Spineback, leave the trail heading west across the alpine bowl. Big White is found in the back of the second basin through a steep scree-slope leading to the widest and least steep access point. This is the only access to the Lizard Ranges’ ridge crest above Island Lake Lodge. Hiring a guide is highly recommended.

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From Our Customers

Prepare to be wowed!

Endless trails begin outside your room and the food is delicious and well prepared. The fresh, green, wilderness smell at Island Lake Lodge will soothe even the most weary souls.

Liz Tompkins - Calgary, AB