Time and distance are for return trip. It's not a long trip but has substantial steep hiking. This was a leisurely pace. Take your time and enjoy it.
The Spineback Trail is owned and maintained by the good folks at Island Lake Lodge. In fact, they own the entire valley beyond Mount Fernie Provincial Park. To their credit, they have made this area and all of their trails available to the hiking public - free of charge.
The trail, as most do, starts at the trailhead behind the Tamarack Lodge. Simply follow the well marked and well maintained signs. After a short hike along the trails common to the Lake and Fir trails, the Spinback takes off and narrows immediately. However, remember that these trails are maintained constantly and 'narrows' is relative. It's never overgrown as trails can become as summer progresses.
The trail progresses up the Lizard Range with a series of well placed switchbacks until about the halfway point at which time it breaks out of the mixed forest into a boulder field. Watch (and listen) for pikas scurrying among the boulders. At this point the trail is paralleling the ridge to the north. At a break in the ridge the trail crosses the ridge where a nice solid wooden bench has been placed for your lounging enjoyment. You are now treated to spectacular views across the valley and back to the lodge.
Want more? Follow the trail 0.5km further up the mountain to a second bench nestled just below the bowl between Papa Bear and Baby Bear (peaks in the range). From here you have great views of Mount Fernie, The 3 Sisters, Lizard Pass and the City of Fernie.
When you've had enough, return the way you came and stop at the Bear Lodge for a well deserved cold one.
Photos: Rochelle Coffey
Take the road to Mount Fernie Provincial Park and drive straight through. Keep right at the Island Lake Lodge sign and drive 8km to the parking area at Island Lake Lodge.
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Posted By: EntoChick
- Tue Jul 31 07:04:19 UTC 2012
UpsideWell-maintained trail, stable footing, gorgeous views. DownsideSteep, pretty consistent grade. CommentWasn't prepared for the length or grade of this trail because I hadn't seen this write-up on it, but managed to make the first bench on the ridge within the limited time I had. Well worth the effort, and I plan to go again to take advantage of the fact you can extend the hike as much as you like once you get to the top.