Old Growth Trail at Island Lake Resort
3 km
220Elevation Gain (m)
The old growth in the Lizard Creek valley of the Rocky Mountains is a rare ecosystem in the East Kootenay. The scenic, rugged, limestone peaks and the rain forest type of vegetation is regionally unique. The old growth is only in a narrow strip at the base of the valley where the mountain topography traps precipitation. Lizard Creek is a tight and lush valley blanketed with ferns, mosses and thimbleberry. A sign at the trailhead says “Old Growth Forest 800-year old Western Red Cedars.” Some of the trees are over a metre in diameter.

Island Lake Resort trails are on private property, but the public is welcome to hike them. To read more about this private resort, see entry #61.

Further exploration
Cabin Ridge trail to Thunder Meadows Hut
Along the Old Growth Trail at 600 m is the junction with the Cabin Ridge trail. It is unmaintained compared to the Island Lake Resort standards and is not part of their trail system. The Cabin Ridge trail is maintained by volunteers of the Fernie Trails & Ski Touring Club. There may be blowdowns, steep, loose rocks and an unbridged small Lizard Creek crossing.

0 km: The Island Lake Old Growth Trail is a gentle hike that follows a gradual elevation gain in this scenic peaceful place. The trail is in a 500-m wide swath between the creek and the road up to the lodge, but the hike feels remote. There are two well-placed wooden benches along the path at viewpoints.

2.7 km: The shore of Island Lake. The Island Lake Resort is just a short walk up the hill. The lodge serves the public with appetizers, meals or drinks. Stop by after your hike.


Road: any vehicle; gravel to Island Lake Resort; washboards

Highway 3 to Fernie. The gravel turnoff road is west from Highway 3 for Mount Fernie Provincial Park and Island Lake Resort Road. The junction is north of the Fernie Alpine Resort turnoff, or 2 km from south Elk River bridge in Fernie.

5.9 km: Follow Island Lake Road to the signed parking lot for Old Growth Trail and Cabin Ridge.

Hike Map
Janice Strong

Janice Strong

Janice Strong is an established professional outdoor photographer. Her images grace collections all over the world and appear in many respected publications. She is passionate about hiking and is also an avid snowshoer and skier, exploring the outdoors of the East Kootenay in southeastern BC year round.

She openly shares her passion for the outdoors with others and has introduced hundreds of people to the joys of hiking. For a decade she led hikes for the City of Cranbrook – Parks and Recreation. With her guidance, many people have themselves become enthusiastic hikers.

Climbing mountains, finding new places and enjoying the experience of the journey have always been important to Janice. She cherishes the little things she sees along the trail, as well as the grand destinations.

When Janice is not writing, hiking or taking photographs, she is involved in various creative digital, website design or photographic projects for her clients. She and her husband, Jamie Levine, enjoy their rural property, near Cranbrook, BC.

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