The morning sun streams in through your glamping dome, which is surrounded by thick trees and towering mountain peaks. After grabbing your morning coffee at a fabulous French bakery downtown, you head up to the ski hill and spend the next few hours playing like a kid again on a high-speed mountain coaster, then take the gondola back up to the top to soak in the panoramic view of ancient glaciers.
Later that afternoon you hop in a helicopter for a spectacular flight-seeing tour over alpine lakes, and see those same glaciers which are now so close you feel like you can reach out and touch them.
After dinner and drinks at a lively cocktail bar, you head back to your campsite and cozy up in front of the fire, as a blanket of stars illuminates the night sky above.
That, my friends, is what summer in Revelstoke, BC looks like.
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This mountain playground in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies region is nestled between the Selkirk and Monashee ranges, and has a myriad activities geared towards outdoor adventures.
From rafting to hiking to sky-high thrills, there’s always a way to make the most of the area’s scenic surroundings whether it’s on land, up in the air or in the water
Here are 10 fun things to do in Revelstoke, BC in summer.
Take a thrilling ride down the Pipe Mountain Coaster
One of the region’s newest attractions is the Pipe Mountain Coaster, which is a wild ride for all ages down an exhilarating series of twists and turns.
Found on Revelstoke Mountain Resort, riders head up the gondola and can choose to ride on one of two tracks (we liked Track #1 best).
Buckle up, wait for the green light, then head down the hill reaching speeds of up to 42 kilometres an hour as you zip through tunnels, forest clearings and over steep drops.
The coaster can be as intense or chill as you want since riders control their speed and brakes, and two people can fit in each sled which makes this one of the best things to do in Revelstoke with kids.
The Pipe Mountain Coaster is open from the end of June to the end of September, and different ticket options are available ranging from a single ride to packages with two rides plus access to other activities in the park.
Globe Guide tip: Go first thing in the morning to avoid long lineups.
Play at Revelstoke Mountain Resort
The fun doesn’t end once you’ve gotten your thrills on the coaster. Those who buy the Play All Day: Ultimate pass also have access to resort activities including axe throwing, the Aerial Adventure Park (hope you’re not afraid of heights!), disc golf and gondola rides.
The Revelation Gondola heads 5,500 feet up to one of Revelstoke’s best vantage points, with sweeping views of the Columbia River winding through the valley framed by Mt. Begbie (the most prominent of the Gold Range in the Monashee Mountains), the Begbie Glacier, Mt English, Mt Tilley, Mt MacPherson and the Mulvehill Glacier.
Head off on one of the hiking trails which lead to more panoramic vistas, waterfalls and alpine meadows, then grab lunch on the sun-soaked outdoor patio at the MacKenzie Outpost to nosh on one of their legendary burgers.
Tackle the mountain biking trails in Revelstoke
Revelstoke also has epic mountain biking trails, including some gnarly ones right at the resort.
Thanks to the lift access, riders can easily access all levels of terrain including the heart-pumping Fifty-Six Twenty, which is said to be the longest flow trail ever built with a vertical drop of 5,620 feet.
Revelstoke’s so-called ‘pedal paradise’ extends to all types of cycling, from fat biking in the winter to e-biking, road and gravel cycling in the summer months.
Check out this great list of recommended trails, whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely scenic ride or more of a cardio blast paired with mountain views.
Fly high during a Revelstoke heli-adventure
One of the most memorable things to do in Revelstoke in summer is head up…way up…on a helicopter tour.
They love all things flight-seeing around here, and with towering peaks, gem-toned lakes and glaciers on their doorstep, can you blame ‘em?
Glacier Helicopters is one of the local outfitters offering bucket list-worthy excursions including glacier flightseeing, heli-hiking, heli-picnics, heli-camping and even heli-weddings. So for anyone planning to tie the knot, why not consider a cliffside ceremony for the most enviable elopement.
These Revelstoke helicopter tours depart from the Glacier Helicopters base just 10 minutes west of downtown, and we opted for the half hour package which is enough time to fly over the Blanket and Begbie glaciers (which I definitely recommend).
The shortest tour flies past Revelstoke, the Columbia River and Hydro Dam, the next one showcases the waterways by touring over the Jordan River, Frisby Ridge and Lake Revelstoke, and the 30 minute tour I went on has epic views of the city, river, Blanket Mountain and two breathtaking glaciers.
For the ultimate thrill, book the 45 or 60 minute tours which head deep into Glacier National Park where the ice-covered peaks soar up 9,000 feet.
Flightseeing packages range from eight to 60 minute flights, and cost $75-$650 per person. Mountain landings are available on flights 30 minutes or longer, for an additional $135 per person.
Get a birds-eye view while paragliding in Revelstoke
Speaking of thrills, paragliding is one of my favourite things to do while travelling, and it just so happens to be offered at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
The tandem flights piloted by Revelstoke Paragliding combine unbeatable views with a bit of an adrenaline rush as you run off the hillside to catch the wind, and because you’re simply soaring above the valley it’s actually quite peaceful once up in the air.
Paragliding adventures launch from the top of Mount Mackenzie, serving up birds-eye views of the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains as you float back down to the ground.
Get wet while whitewater rafting
Ready to get wet? Book a rafting trip down the Illecillewaet River, which is a tributary of the Columbia River close to downtown Revelstoke.
While it’s not as intense as navigating the Kicking Horse River down the road in Golden, the class II and III white water rapids keep things interesting while you soak up views of the surrounding Selkirks that few people get to see. Click here to book
Not feeling the rapids? Opt for this more leisurely, hour-long float down the river which includes a stop in front of the Moses Creek waterfall.
Paddle to a hidden waterfall
Another way to enjoy a chill day on the water (with a splashy surprise) is to rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard and head over to Lake Revelstoke.
The gem-toned water is mesmerizing, especially first thing in the morning when it’s glassy.
Paddle alongside thick forests, look back at the Revelstoke Dam, and head into the secret cove just north of the Five Mile Boat Launch Recreation Site where a waterfall dramatically gushes out of the cliffside.
Go hiking in Revelstoke
With two national parks on its doorstep (Glacier and Mount Revelstoke) and being in the heart of the world’s only inland temperate rainforest, the views you’ll find while hiking Revelstoke are next level.
One of the most popular areas is the Meadows in the Sky Trail up in Mount Revelstoke National Park, accessed by the beautiful, 26-kilometer Meadows in the Sky Parkway road up to the top.
Be sure to stop at the Nels Nelsen viewpoint and historic area on the way up (also known as Nels’ Knickers), which details the history of ski jumping in Revelstoke and has great views of the city.
From the parking lot it’s a half hour walk to the 6,360 foot summit of Mount Revelstoke and the Fire Lookout with gorgeous views of the valley and Columbia River, and there are a series of shorter walks and hours-long hikes including up to alpine lakes.
Popular ones include:
- Summit Trail: Leads through subalpine forest down to the shoreline of Balsam Lake. The elevation is 1945 m and you descend to 85 m, takes about 20 minutes
- First Footsteps: The interpretive trail winds through subalpine meadows while sharing stories from the Secwepemc, Okanagan (Syilx) and Ktunaxa. A few great lookouts on this short loop.
- Miller Lake and Eva Lake: Budget about seven hours to see these jewel-toned wonders; there’s a stunning viewpoint and 1920s warden cabin along the shoreline at Eva Lake.
Those who time their visit for the annual wildflower festival will want to head into the park to see the fields in full bloom.
Book an interpretive walk with Parks Canada to learn about the area’s flora and fauna and their medicinal uses, like mountain arnica, common red paintbrush and pink mountain-heather.
Other easy easy hikes in Revelstoke are the Mount Cartier Recreation Trail, and the Greenbelt River Trails near town which are home to about 60 species of birds.
Don’t miss Sutherland Falls which is 30 minutes south of town in Blanket Creek Provincial Park, where a half-kilometer-long pathway leads right to the 60 foot falls.
Go glamping in Revelstoke
One of the most unique places to stay in Revelstoke is Boulder Mountain Resort, where guests can experience a mountain escape without sacrificing any creature comforts.
Located right at the base of Boulder Mountain with easy access to ATV and biking trails, it feels a world away from it all despite being right along the Trans-Canada Highway only five minutes west of downtown.
A highlight is the glamping geo domes, which have a king size bed looking out at the sky viewing window.
There’s a small fridge, seating area and half bathroom with plush robes, amenities and fluffy towels (showers are in a shared bathroom just steps from the front door), as well as a peaceful, private outdoor fire pit area to complete the camping experience.
The resort also has traditional campsites shaded by the forest, RV hookups, rustic log cabins, canvas glamping tents and two bedroom standalone cabins.
Their one-bedroom cabins are the most luxe option, featuring a full-kitchen, king-size bed, bathroom with steam shower, private deck and a living area with a fireplace. Click here to book
On-site amenities at Boulder Mountain Resort include a hot tub, walking trails, laundry facilities and shared fire pits with a games area. You can pick up snacks or a morning latte in the lobby area, which also rents out propane fire pits.
Relax in the hot springs near Revelstoke
While there aren’t any hot springs in Revelstoke, it only takes about an hour to get to the closest one: the Halycon Hot Springs near Nakusp.
Situated on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake near Nakusp, this is considered one of BC’s top healing hot springs destinations thanks to the high lithium content in these mineral waters.
Enjoy a soak in the thermal waters as you admire the views of the surrounding Monashee mountains, and book a therapeutic treatment at the spa for extra indulgence. During summer, visitors can also make a stop at the Halfway River Hot Springs in the backcountry just a bit farther down the road.
Pet-friendly things to do in Revelstoke
Revelstoke is a great place to bring your pooch. Many of the downtown businesses allow four-legged friends on their patios, there are off-leash areas along the Columbia River, and there are lots of pet-friendly accommodations including Boulder Mountain Resort and the Sutton Place Hotel on Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
In fact, Boulder Mountain Resort is so pet-friendly there’s a dedicated dog run, treats and bowls left in rooms, and even dog appreciation months with complimentary pet portraits.
SUP and hiking are both fun activities to do with your dog–however, it’s important to note that pets aren’t allowed on certain trails in Mount Revelstoke National Park to protect the wildlife.
Getting to Revelstoke
The city’s prime location along the Powder Highway makes this a popular destination for snow junkies in the winter, and many visitors end up here in the summer as Revy is a great stop between Calgary and Vancouver along the Trans-Canada Highway.
- Golden to Revelstoke: 2 hours
- Calgary to Revelstoke: 5 hours
- Vancouver to Revelstoke: 7 hours
Continuing down the road to Calgary? Be sure to stop at the summit of Rogers Pass, Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge in Field, and Lake Louise for some epic photo-ops en route.
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