Wedged into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the beautiful Elk River Valley is approximately 60 kilometres from the Alberta and Montana borders.
The Elk Valley has played an important part in the coal mining history of British Columbia for over 100 years. Boasting the largest producing coal field in the province, the valley produces millions of tons of coal that is shipped to steel mills around the world. The dedication to returning the land to a state equal or better than it was before the mining began plays a vital role in protecting the Elk and Fording River Valleys for future generations of man and wildlife to use and enjoy.
Today, tourism is becoming more important in the area as the Elk Valley is discovered by people from around the world. The Elk Valley has become a favourite weekend getaway, and snowmobilers, skiers, hikers, anglers, golfers, and other outdoor adventurers explore this treasure trove of high country adventure.
Location: The Elk Valley is located in the extreme southeastern corner of British Columbia in the heart of the BC Rockies.
The mountain community of Fernie lies tucked away in the narrow Elk Valley in the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains. From its boom town status at the turn of the twentieth century to its reputation as the Whiskey Gap during the prohibition era of the 1920s, Fernie has inherited a unique and colourful history.
Tucked away in some of the most rugged terrain in the heart of the Elk Valley, and amongst the densest wildlife populations in North America, is the paradise town of Sparwood. The second largest centre on the Elk River, Sparwood has an amazing history, although it is one of the youngest towns in British Columbia.
Situated in the Rocky Mountains at the highest elevation for a community in Canada (1,300 m), the picturesque community of Elkford, like Fernie and Sparwood further south, owes its existence to the discovery of coal. Elkford has dubbed itself the Wilderness Capital of British Columbia, a well deserved name, considering the scenery of the Rocky Mountains, the lush and forested slopes, the spectacular alpine meadows, and the clear glacier-fed lakes and streams that surround Elkford.
Golf: Golfers have a number of golf courses to choose from, including the Fernie Golf & Country Club in Fernie, Sparwood Golf Club in Sparwood, and Mountain Meadows Golf Club on Highway 43 in Elkford. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
The Elk Valley is surrounded by many crystal clear alpine lakes, rivers and streams, which provide great outdoor camping and fabulous fishing. There are 8 Forestry Recreation camping spots in the 70-km stretch from Elkford to the Elk Lakes Provincial Park.
Rocky Mountains: Blessed with such wonderful natural surroundings, the mountains that cradle the Elk Valley provide year-round recreational opportunities. Every form of summer and winter activity known to the visitor is available from the valley, adequately described on the town pages of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford.
Wildlife: Often called Canada’s Serengetti, the Elk Valley has one of the largest bighorn sheep populations in North America. Mountain goat, elk, deer, moose, bear, and cougars can also be found in abundance, as well as many kinds of song birds, eagles, pileated woodpeckers, Steller’s jays and more. A wildlife viewer’s dream!
Wildflowers: The Rockies come alive with wildflowers in the spring. None is as lovely as the rare and protected calypso orchid (fairy slipper). Avalanche lily, arnica, paintbrush and fireweed are but a few of the many varieties of pretty wildflowers that dot the hillsides with colour.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on the Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour or the Kootenay Rockies Hot Springs Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the Southern Okanagan to complete the loop. Circle Tours in British Columbia.