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Cranbrook’s Top 5 Spring and Summer Activities

MICHELE LEYENAAR
CRANBROOK – It’s only the middle of June and what a fantastic spring we’ve had so far. Hummingbirds arrived early, the sun was shining, giving us double digits as early as the beginning of March and people were taking advantage of the outdoors.
In fact, my husband’s first golf game of the season was at the beginning of April, a week earlier than usual. He said to me the other day, “We’re so lucky to live here. Sometimes I get caught up in our beautiful surroundings and completely forget my golf swing.”
I get where he’s coming from. For anyone who hasn’t visited Cranbrook, B.C.’s sunniest city, this is an outdoor playground for outdoor activity seekers looking for either a family-friendly outing or something a little more hard-core. Here are the top five activities suitable for all ages and skill levels.

1. Hiking

The hiking trails around Cranbrook are endless, not to mention the never-ending Rocky Mountain and Purcell Range peaks. For complete maps of the area’s trail systems, including the Wardner, Kimberley and Cranbrook areas, check out the links below. You could spend summer after summer here and still not complete the thousands of kilometres of wilderness trails to explore.

Cranbrook Community Forest
KimberleyTrailMap.pdf
Cranbrook Outdoors

Photo credit: Dollarphotoclub

Photo credit: Dollarphotoclub

2. Camping

There are more than 60 approved campgrounds within a 1.5-hour drive of Cranbrook. You’ll find a campsite to suit your style whether you require comfort or something a little more hard-core. Take your pick from in town sites with full hookups, to lake and provincial park camping or more out-there backcountry options. For a list of campgrounds, check out this link or pick up a copy of B.C. Backroads.

If you don’t have your own camping gear, fear not. Check out Fisher Peak Camping and Trailer Rentals on the strip  Get out there – just don’t forget your bear spray.

Photo credit: Janice Strong

Photo credit: Janice Strong

3. Fishing

There are numerous lakes and rivers surrounding Cranbrook. A few of the most popular include Jim Smith Provincial Park, Norbury Lake Provincial Park, Horseshoe Lake, Moyie Lake, White Swan Provincial Park, Koocanusa, Wasa Lake and the St. Mary’s River. These are all within a 45-minute drive from Cranbrook. Be sure to check out the fishing regulations and closures as well as powerboat restrictions before heading out. More information can be found  here. You can also check out the Kootenay Trout Hatchery to purchase licenses, learn about the hatchery or learn how to fish. Check out Mountain Man Outdoors for all your fishing needs. For the full guided fly fishing experience check out the St. Mary Angler Fly Shop and Ultimate West Fly Fishing.

4. Biking

Not only are the trails listed above great for hiking but they’re also fantastic bike routes. Otherwise, the North Star Rails to Trails, an old rail bed from Kimberley to Cranbrook, or the Isadore Canyon Trail system to Wardner, both with no more than a 2 per cent grade, are stellar rides with even better views. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, try the Cranbrook Community Forest.

Janice Strong-Isadore-Canyon-Trans-Canada-Trail-2535

Photo credit: Janice Strong

5. Rafting

Kayaking, canoeing, white water, paddle-boarding – you can do all of these on Cranbrook’s waterways.  Just Liquid Sports in Cranbrook has all your watersport needs. Experienced rafters can rent boats from the Kootenay Raft Co.‘s Kimberley location. They also provide guided tours and adventure trips for all ages and skill levels from half-day trips to overnighters.

IMG_7093

Photo credit: Rob Porter