The Elk Valley in southeastern B.C. offers snowmobilers an authentic Rocky Mountain adventure. Picture yourself cruising along groomed trails, surrounded by towering mountains, alpine lakes and handlebar-deep snow. You can find tree-riding, open meadows and steep hills. The communities of Sparwood, Elkford and Fernie welcome all winter recreationists with warm hospitality. The terrain is maintained by the Elkford Snowmobile Association, and the Fernie Snowmobile Association.
The Rolling Hills snowmobile area
If you’re looking for family-friendly trails or you have sledders with multiple skill levels in your group, the Rolling Hills snowmobile area is a smart choice. Access starts at the Coal Creek Staging Area, which is only 3.5 kilometres from downtown Fernie. There is even room here for trucks with enclosed trailers to turn around. From the trailhead, ride along 16.5 kilometres of groomed trails, and you will reach the Rollings Hills Cabin and play area. Spend the day boondocking or stay on the trail and extend your ride into the Morrissey area.
Note that there can be early-season closures of the staging area (usually until early February). Until then, riders can access the Rolling Hills from Morrissey.
The Morrissey snowmobile trails and riding area
The Morrissey snowmobile area has some excellent technical riding. Starting from the Morrissey staging area south of Fernie, a 14.5-kilometre groomed trail leads riders to the Wrangler’s Cabin. Venture past the cabin through the meadow and you can follow the pipeline to The Notch. This popular play area has endless tree-riding and access to sub-alpine bowls. There are two parking lots at the Morrissey staging area; the lower lot is designated for large trucks and trailers while the upper lot is for trucks with sled decks only.
The Corbin snowmobile trail and riding area
The Corbin area has intermediate-to-advanced terrain, and its staging area is located just past the townsite of Corbin—about 23 kilometres off Highway 3 between Sparwood and the Crowsnest Pass. Beginning in the winter of 2017-2018, the Fernie Snowmobile Association has been grooming the 10-kilometre trail into the Corbin snowmobiling area.
The Hartley Lake snowmobile trails
If you have backcountry experience and navigational skills, try riding at the Hartley Lake area. You can access it from a parking lot behind the industrial zone east of Fernie, where you will find a 15-kilometre groomed trail that follows a forest service road into the backcountry.
The Hartley Lake road is single-lane and has a steep grade, so vehicles with trailers are advised to have chains in order to access the parking lot. It is not well-suited to larger trailers.