Revelstoke isn’t exactly unknown to Edmontonians, though for many, that knowledge begins and ends with the world-class skiing and snowboarding at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. But this growing city of 7,500 people located along the Trans-Canada between B.C.’s Monashee and Selkirk Mountain ranges has much to offer beyond its adrenaline-charged winter scene. There’s a slower, more relaxing side to “Revy” as well, one of forest walks, wildflower-filled meadows and a growing dining, craft-beer and spirits scene being shaped by the tight-knit community of mountain creatives residing there. A day trip from Edmonton, Revelstoke is close enough for a long weekend road trip, but far enough away not to draw the volumes of summertime crowds who flock to the mountain towns closer to Edmonton, such as Banff and Canmore.
On Saturday mornings in the summer, there are two bustling farmers’ markets on MacKenzie Avenue (Revelstoke’s main street), where you’ll find locally made jams, artisan breads, fresh fruit and vegetables and handcrafted soaps and jewellery. Peruse the shelves at the indie bookstore Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop for your next read, or stop into the cute little Sugar Shack for espresso, ice cream and nostalgic candy. Starting in late June and running through August, there’s nightly live music at the gazebo in the heart of downtown, rain or shine.
With two national parks at Revy’s doorstep (Glacier and Mount Revelstoke) it’s not hard to get a daily dose of nature. Approximately 30 minutes east from town, the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail gets you up close and personal with over-500-year-old cedars that tower above you in the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. It’s also relatively easy to get grand, panoramic mountain views without having to undertake an arduous hike into the high alpine. Drive the winding Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park, or take the Revelstoke Mountain Resort gondola up to walk the trails just below the Mount Mackenzie summit. Glacier Helicopters offers sightseeing tours with aerial views of the Revelstoke Dam, lush forested valleys, crystal-clear lakes and the dazzling turquoise glacier on Blanket Mountain.
Waterfalls are everywhere around Revelstoke, with many located just off major roads. In Blanket Creek Provincial Park, the 40-foot gushing Sutherland Falls is a five-minute walk from the parking lot. Moses Falls near the dam is a secluded little gem out of a fairytale. For a unique way to visit Begbie Falls, rent a kayak or canoe from Natural Escapes Kayaking and paddle to the inlet on Upper Arrow Lake.
Of course, nothing revitalizes you like a relaxing soak in the rich mineral waters at one of the many hot springs in the region. Canyon Hot Springs and the Crazy Creek Hot Pools are the closest to town. Further south (requiring a drive of just under two hours) are Halfway River Hot Springs and Nakusp Hot Springs. The one not to miss is Halcyon Hot Springs. To get there, drive south from Revelstoke along Highway 23 and catch the free ferry to Nakusp at Shelter Bay, which runs once every hour. The effort is well worth it as Halcyon’s unbeatable location on Upper Arrow Lake means you get unobstructed views of the soaring Monashee Mountains from the four pools, which are open year-round.