Rugged mountains stretching as far as you can see. Ancient cedar forests. Alpine meadows are vivid with flowers. It’s all here for you to experience in Revelstoke, B.C., named a must-do on National Geographic’s Ultimate Adventure Bucket List, and a great place for a family vacation. Situated in southeastern B.C. between the Selkirk and the Monashee Mountains and easily accessible on the Trans-Canada Highway, Revelstoke is a friendly mountain town with a laid-back vibe, world-class outdoor adventure, fabulous restaurants and a sophisticated après-ski scene, with a huge variety of activities and endless opportunity to discover something new. You can explore nature together, help your family develop a love of the outdoors and create memories to last a lifetime.
Revelstoke is an approximately five-hour drive west of Calgary and seven hours east of Vancouver. Check current road conditions at Drive B.C. and road reports at 1-800-550-4997.
Get active outdoors
Revelstoke is renowned for its amazing skiing. Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Mount Mackenzie, a 10-minute drive from town, offers the longest vertical descent of any ski resort in North America at 1,713 m. For the 2020 winter season, closing day is April 19.
Hiking is a great activity from summer through fall, though at higher elevations, snow can linger through spring, so check conditions before you go.
Scenic Eva Lake trail in Mount Revelstoke National Park is a popular intermediate-level hike, 12 km return with nearly 180 m in elevation gain. Bonus side trip: after visiting Eva Lake, take the short trail to Miller Lake (0.4 km) on your way back to the Eva Lake trailhead.
Giant Cedars, a 0.5 km interpretive boardwalk, loops through an old-growth cedar-hemlock forest. The trailhead is located at the Giant Cedars Picnic Area, 30 km east of Revelstoke on the TransCanada Highway – highly recommended if you’re travelling through the area and need a short break.
Revelstoke boasts easy access to some of the world’s best big mountain riding and hundreds of kilometres of trails. Riders of all ability levels can explore the trails with Wandering Wheels, a Revelstoke-based mountain bike guiding company. Whatever your skill level, your guides will help you up your game and feel confident about heading out.
One of Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s top summer attraction is The Pipe Mountain Coaster, where you zoom 1.4 km down the mountain at speeds of up to 42 km an hour. Riders control their speed, and the Pipe is usually a big hit with kids (and adults too). To ride alone you must be eight years or older, and 4’ 1” or taller. Check www.revelstokemountainresort.com for the Pipe opening hours.
No experience is necessary to go tandem paragliding with Revelstoke Paragliding, whose expert guides will take you flying above Revelstoke – a glorious once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. The launch is from Mount Mackenzie at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. When the winds are favourable, you and your pilot start to run, and before you know it you’re airborne. This is a family-friendly activity – check with Revelstoke Paragliding for details.
Kelly’s Bake Shop & Kitchen caters scrumptious lunches and snacks to fuel your day’s adventure, with options available to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Mountain MEALS café on 1 St. offers a wide variety of tasty, hearty food, for dining in or taking with you.
The Taco Club is a local favourite serving flavorful Latin street food with a northern twist. Portions are generous and the service is fast at this casual eatery in downtown Revy, which also offers signature cocktails, a curated tequila menu and local craft beer.
One Twelve Restaurant, located at 112 East First Street in the historic Regent Hotel downtown, offers fine dining in an upscale modern setting. The food and service are superb, and dessert is a must. If you’re staying at the hotel, the hearty hot complimentary buffet breakfast at the Regent’s Mt. Begbie Breakfast Café will help kick start your day’s adventures.
A recent addition to Revelstoke’s vibrant restaurant scene is the Old School Eatery Distillery • Bar • Kitchen which serves sophisticated comfort food in the historic Mountainview Elementary school. Dine on dishes infused with influences from around the world as you look out at the mountains through the oversized windows. Old School Eatery serves certified organic produce and offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Après for adults
Jones Distilling – For an adult treat, try the premium hand-crafted spirits at multiple international award-winning craft distillery, Jones Distilling, also located in the Mountainview School building. Savour a gin and tonic cocktail, learn about the more than 40 botanicals used to make gin, and make your own souvenir botanical bottle to take home with you – all while drinking in the spectacular mountain views.
Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery and Cocktail Bar produces fine small-batch, organic spirits in the heart of downtown Revelstoke using local ingredients and mountain spring water. It’s also a very popular specialty cocktail bar. Described by Forbes magazine as Canada’s Best Après Distillery, Monashee Spirits won the 2019 Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year award for its Ethos Gin, which was also the highest-scoring spirit in the competition.
Rumpus Beer Company, Revelstoke’s newest craft microbrewery and lounge and cofounded by a master brewer, is located in a fun cosy space in downtown Revelstoke. Rumpus specializes in local, small-batch brewing.
Relax and Recharge
Head out of town to Halcyon Hot Springs, an hour’s drive south of Revelstoke along Highway 23 via the Shelter Bay to Galena Bay ferry. Halcyon Hot Springs overlooks Upper Arrow Lake and the Monashee Mountains. It’s the epitome of beauty and tranquillity and a great way to relax after an active day.
Continue a little bit farther south for a more casual experience at Halfway Hot Springs – a local hot spot situated halfway between Revelstoke and Nakusp – for soaking your cares away, best visited in late spring through summer and fall. A four-wheel-drive vehicle would be ideal for navigating the final 11 km down the Halfway River Forest Service Road to reach the springs. (If you plan on visiting in spring or fall, check the conditions to make sure the road is passable in case it’s snowed in). Park and walk down a steepish winding pathway through the forest to a series of natural hot springs situated beside the river. There are basic change rooms. sitesandtrailsbc.ca
Revelstoke Museum and Archives – Learn about Revelstoke’s colourful, rich history at the Revelstoke Museum and Archives, located in a downtown heritage building. A museum visit includes a variety of interactive activities, a heritage garden, a designated children’s play area and free admission for children under 12.
Revelstoke’s Farm and Craft Market – The Saturday morning farmers market in Grizzly Plaza downtown runs from May through October. It’s a great place to get acquainted with what this region of B.C. has to offer, including fresh produce, baked goods, hot food, handmade crafts, fresh flowers and more.
At the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre, five km north of town, learn about one of B.C.’s most powerful dams and local First Nations history with a guided tour. Take an elevator to the top of the dam for views of the Columbia River Valley. Open May 16 – September 7, 2020.
*If you chose to visit any of these locations, please call ahead to gauge any restrictions or closures due to COVID 19.*
The writer was a guest of Tourism Revelstoke. They did not review or approve this article.