Located roughly 4.5 hours west of Banff, Revelstoke is another Canadian mountain paradise. In fact, it is widely considered home to one of the best ski resorts in the country, is basically the halfway point between Calgary and Vancouver, and is home to so much outdoor adventure in both the summer and winter months.
While Revelstoke has always been on the bucket list for avid skiers and snowboarders, it has something to offer everyone and is equally beautiful throughout the year. From hiking the mountains or soaring down one of them on a roller coaster in the summer to skiing and dog sledding in the winter, we’ve got you covered in this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Revelstoke.
Ski or Snowboard at Revelstoke Mountain Resort
We can’t start a “things to do in Revelstoke” guide without first mentioning its most famous attraction: Revelstoke Mountain Resort. After all, this stunning ski resort has the most vertical elevation in North America (5,620 feet) and a whopping 3,121 acres of terrain. The snow is almost always perfect, which is one of the main reasons it’s so popular and often has more snow than any other resort in Canada.
Although Revelstoke Mountain Resort is popular with people who already know how to ski or snowboard, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit as a newbie either. The resort does offer rental equipment, lessons, and enough “easier” runs to get you going.
If you’re an avid skier or snowboarder looking for the ultimate experience, jump on a helicopter and get transported into the backcountry for an unforgettable ski and snowboard experience on untouched powder.
While this could cause a permanent smile, it’s worth it when you find yourself gliding through fresh powder lap after lap. As you may have assumed by now, this is definitely the most expensive type of skiing and snowboarding you can do, with day trips starting at more than $1,000. However, heli-skiing really is a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t forget.
If heli-skiing is just too much but you’re still looking for something better than the typical runs at the resort, consider cat-skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which takes you into the backcountry near the resort. Since Revelstoke Mountain Resort is already one of the best places to ski in British Columbia, you can imagine how good it is when you jump into a cat and get driven into remote, untouched terrain with a group of people who are just as eager to hit the powder as you are. You can even take it one step further and sign up for the multi-day backcountry-lodge combo. Now that sounds like an adventure!
If you’re one of those people who have always dreamed about being transported by a pack of dogs through forested snowy terrain, Revelstoke is a great place to be. Whether you opt for cozying up inside the sled bed or taking the reigns as a musher, dog sledding through the trails of Revelstoke is a very cool experience.
Not only will you get to feel the power, energy, and excitement of the dogs, but you’ll also learn about the history of dog sledding and the nitty-gritty of the sport itself. You’ll also get to know the dogs a little bit and discover the unique roles that each one plays.
Go Hiking in Mount Revelstoke National Park
If you’re visiting Revelstoke during the warmer months, don’t worry, there are so many things to do in Revelstoke during the summer as well. To start, hiking is an obvious attraction. After all, the area is surrounded by tall mountain peaks and some of the best trails can be found within Mount Revelstoke National Park. Whether you’re a beginner looking for something a little easier or a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge, there are lots of hiking trails in Revelstoke for everyone.
Beginners will be happy to find more than a dozen hikes they can tackle, with some popular options being the walk around Heather Lake and the Woods Loop Trail. There are also some intermediate trails that range in length from 1-6 kilometres. Then there are the more challenging trails, which can be upwards of 10 kilometres one-way with varying elevations. Some popular options include Jade Lake Pass, which climbs 428 metres at a total of 9 kilometres one-way, Lindmark Trail, which is a little shorter but almost twice the elevation at 982 metres, and the Summit Trail, which takes you all the way up to the summit of Mount Revelstoke, which is a whopping 1,353 metres of elevation. As you can imagine, the views are unbelievable.
Walk the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail
If you’re looking for something a little easier but still jaw-droppingly beautiful, consider a walk along the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail, which is just off the Trans-Canada Highway. This trail, which is only 0.3 kilometres long, offers the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a temperate rainforest with little challenge. It also features interpretive panels along the way, which gives you a chance to learn about the area while you admire it. It’s popular with everyone, including families and those with dogs.
Take the Family to the Enchanted Forest
If you’re travelling through Revelstoke with young kids, you’ll probably want to stop at the Enchanted Forest. I still remember this place when I was a young kid. After all, it’s basically every child’s dream coming to life. The Enchanted Forest features whimsical cottages, mystical woodland creatures, and sparkly lights, creating a “real-life” fantasy world. It has come a long way since opening in the 1960s, but still remains one of those places where the kids will start shouting to pull over if you try to pass it. Take your kids on the path and let them spot familiar scenes and characters from various fables and legends, while maybe feeding your own nostalgia at the same time.
Check Out the 3 Valley Gap Ghost Town
Who doesn’t love visiting ghost towns?
Open seasonally from late spring until the early fall, the 3 Valley Gap Ghost Town will take you back in time, giving you a taste of the short-lived gold rush that occurred in the late 1800s. You’ll get to see what the pioneer days were like, including authentic shops, an old school house, a blacksmith shop, and other buildings from the era. If that isn’t enough, there’s also an antique automobile museum and a beautiful garden where you can truly stretch your legs and smell the roses.
Visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum
Another one of the top things to do in Revelstoke is the Revelstoke Railway Museum, which explains the importance of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Canada’s history through immersive, interactive exhibits. Visitors will get the chance to explore an old steam locomotive from the 1940s, tour the interior of a business car that was built in 1929, as well as check out a coal car, diesel locomotive, and road repair car. There are plenty of educational exhibits to learn more about the history and people involved in the railway and you’ll also learn about the many errors and atrocities that have been made along the way.
Slide Down the Pipe Mountain Roller Coaster
Hiking up a mountain is a great experience but there’s nothing quite like soaring down a mountain on the Pipe Mountain Roller Coaster! Back when we did our 150-day road trip across Canada in 2017, this was the only thing we managed to do during our short time in Revelstoke. All you do is jump in a gondola for a scenic ride to the top of the track, get settled into your individual roller coaster car, and then whiz down the 1.4-kilometre track while reaching speeds of up to 42 kilometres per hour. You’ll navigate turns, twists, and tunnels, all the while enjoying spectacular views of the mountains and forest. You also have a break, which means you get to control the speed. Whether you want to take it easy or see how fast you can go, this is a fun and exciting summer activity in Revelstoke.
Go Mountain Biking
Where there are mountains, there’s mountain biking, and during the summer months, this is one of the top things to do in Revelstoke. There are lots of trails to choose from, ranging from easy beginner trails to cross-country trails and crazy double black diamond downhill trails that are not for the faint of heart. You can bike right from downtown, book a shuttle, access alpine trails from the ski resort gondola, or book yourself on an exciting heli-biking adventure. Either way, Revelstoke is a great destination for biking.
If you’re not comfortable going alone, consider doing a guided mountain biking trip with Wandering Wheels. Local guides will take you out and ensure you have a good time without getting lost. They can also help you improve your skills as a mountain biker.
Soar Over Revelstoke in a Paraglider
Paragliding is the thrilling adventure you never knew you needed. However, once you get the feeling of soaring in the sky like a bird, you’ll likely want more. For those who don’t know, paragliding is essentially jumping off a mountain with a parachute wing attached to you, and of course, an experienced pilot if you’re a beginner. The wing helps you float and glide safely to the ground.
Revelstoke is a great place to go paragliding as it has the highest paraglide launch in North America at an elevation of 2,225 metres. Your experience starts with a gondola up the ski hill, followed by a ride up the mountain in a van. Once you jump off the mountain, you soar for at least 30 minutes before landing next to the Columbia River down in the valley below. If you want even more excitement, the pilot will do flips and other acrobatics or possibly let you fly the wing yourself.
Hit the Water
Whether you’re looking to go paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, or white water rafting, Revelstoke has something for you. There are lots of lakes near Revelstoke, including Lake Revelstoke, the Arrow Lakes, and Williamson Lake. You can bring your own water vessel or rent canoes, kayaking, and paddleboards for a day out on the water.
If you’re looking for a thrill, on the other hand, consider whitewater rafting on the exciting Illecillewaet River. Surrounded by the stunning Selkirk Mountains, the Illecillewaet is a tributary of the Columbia River and is fed by the Illecillewaet Glacier in Glacier National Park. This makes the river not only beautiful to raft but also very fun, as it offers 26 kilometres of rafting with rapid levels hitting class 3+. You may even see black bears, mountain goats, beavers, bald eagles, and of course, snowcapped mountain peaks, wildflowers, and massive trees. If you’re looking for the biggest rapids, you’ll want to time your visit from mid-June to mid-July, but if you’re looking for something a bit calmer, later in the season is best.
Also Read: Another great place for white water rafting is in nearby Golden, so make sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in Golden, BC!
Visit Some Waterfalls
Another great thing about the mountains is that there are usually some beautiful waterfalls as well. In Revelstoke, there are a number of beautiful waterfalls to see, including Sutherland Falls and Begbie Falls, just to name a couple. The waterfalls around Revelstoke are great to see during all seasons, but if you want maximum flow, spring and early summer are best. You’ll need to hike a little bit to see some of the waterfalls, but many are quite easy to find.
Sutherland Falls is a popular waterfall to witness. It’s nestled just off the highway near Blanket Creek, which is just a 20-minutes from town. The walk is only 2-4 minutes, which is significantly less time than what you’ll spend admiring this beautiful waterfall. This waterfall flows into a beautiful blue pool and out beyond through large rocks, lush moss, and massive tree stumps.
If you’re down for a longer hike, consider visiting Begbie Falls, which is located on Mt. Begbie. Begbie is accessible by a variety of routes, including a lovely trail walk that takes you past climbing walls and bike trails. You can even canoe across the lake toward the beach to begin the adventure. Many people take the Big Eddy Bluff Trail, which is 5 kilometres return, taking roughly 2 hours or more to complete. It has 240 metres of elevation gain, so it’s not that difficult, but be sure to look into the trail conditions before going. For example, in the spring, there’s often still too much snow for a normal hike.
Relax in the Hot Springs
When it comes to the best hot springs in BC, there are quite a few around Revelstoke. This is great news because whether you’re hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter, there’s nothing quite like soothing your muscles in a natural hot spring.
Hot springs are wonderful at soothing sore muscles, minimizing inflammation, or just being straight-up relaxing and enjoyable, which is why they are definitely one of the top things to do in Revelstoke. Some of the nearby options include Canyon Hot Springs, which is only 30-minutes from Revelstoke and home to two mineral pools. There’s also Halfway Hot Springs, which is perched on the side of the river and offers a more natural feel. In fact, the only way to access them in the winter is by snowshoeing! Then there’s Halcyon Hot Springs, which is probably the most popular hot spring in the area. It’s a bit further away but offers the full resort experience, the exact opposite of Halfway Hot Springs.
Want More Things to Do in British Columbia?
Revelstoke is a great destination but it’s also surrounded by many other amazing destinations. Whether you’re on a road trip across British Columbia or just visiting the surrounding areas, enjoy one of our many travel guides to British Columbia.
- Things to Do in Kamloops
- Things to Do in Kelowna
- Things to Do in Vernon
- Things to Do in Lake Louise
- Things to Do in Vancouver