If enjoying a crisp beer while drinking in spectacular views is your idea of a good time, then this might be the perfect itinerary for you.
We’ve always loved escaping to the East Kootenays region, with its majestic mountains and spectacular valleys. It’s a true paradise for any wilderness enthusiast.
Coincidentally, if you’re a beer lover, too, the Rockies are home to world-class breweries. It’s the perfect combination, really! If this speaks to you on a deeper level, then we’re here to give you the ultimate hiking and craft brewery itinerary.
It’s time to follow the BC Ale Trail — after all, once you’ve worked up a sweat from hiking, what sounds better than cooling off than with an ice-cold craft beer?
The route crosses from Cranbrook to Revelstoke (or vice versa), placing it just in reach for a secluded long weekend getaway. Each brewery on the Kootenays Rockies East trail has a strong connection with the local community, creating brews inspired by the area they’re located in, making the trip even more noteworthy as you get to explore the diversity of stories and people while tasting world-class brews.
Start your journey at Fort Steele Heritage Town, a restored 1890’s pioneer boomtown with over 60 heritage shops and display buildings. Explore this historic site before making your way to Cranbrook. There, we highly recommend stopping by local restaurant The Heid Out, which serves craft beers by Fisher Peak Brewing Company (which happens to be located on site), such as the Elephant Run IPA, Prospector Pilsner, and Soggy Otter Brown Ale.
After that, travel to Fernie (an hour from Cranbrook), where you can try brews from the family-run Fernie Brewing Co. The establishment is known as BC’s easternmost brewery, and they feature a special Java the Hut Chocolate Milk Stout, which is definitely worth a try while you’re in town. The small-town charm of Fernie will enchant you with it’s laid-back vibes, but it also is home to a huge network of trails for hiking, as well as a bike park and zipline.
After a day of exploring breweries, it’s time to get outdoors. Let the road take you to the Island Lake Lodge Trails, which have 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness. Whether you’re looking to do a leisurely 30-minute hike or an entire day hike, there are countless opportunities.
Fernie’s historic downtown is nestled just below the peaks of the Lizard Range. Try taking a hike up to Matheson Falls, which will only take you a short 20 minutes along the creek.
Next, it’s a two-hour drive over to the town of Kimberley, which is home to two great establishments for craft beers: Over Time Beer Works and The Shed. Over Time is known for their time-themed craft beers which are all crafted by hand and made in small batches, and The Shed has the best craft beer selection in Kimberley (and also great food!).
To start your day off, grab a quick bite to eat at The Station Pub, which offers delicious food, live music, and fresh craft beer (hey, it’s never too early for a cold one). Then, take a drive to the town of Golden, approximately a 90-minute drive away. En route you can stop for a dip in Radium Hot Springs, one of the area’s most sought-after geothermal hot springs.
Upon arrival in Golden, drop by the newest brewery in the Kootenays, Whitetooth Brewing Company, offering craft beers that are inspired by the adventures that await in the mountains of Golden.
Golden is a hiker’s dream, with the Purcell and Rocky mountains surrounding the small town. Five national parks are no more than a two-hour drive away, and if you’re looking to do some alpine hiking, the trails are only a gondola trip away.
Once you’ve had your fair share of tastings and hiking, zip over to Revelstoke, another 90-minute drive. Here you’ll find Mt. Begbie Brewing Company, named after Mt. Begbie, a majestic glacial mountain that is a prominent feature in the Revelstoke skyline, and voted Canadian Craft Brewery of the Year in 2017. It’s the ideal spot to cheers to an incredible journey through some of our country’s most stunning attractions and epic craft breweries.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to fuel up, create those road-trip playlists, and hit the road. For more information, visit BCAleTrail.ca.