21 BEST Things To Do In Revelstoke in the Summer

Revelstoke is easily one of our favorite places in all of Canada. It’s a small BC town near the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park, famed worldwide for its epic powder in the winter, and great mountain biking in the summer.

Due to its remote location off Trans Canada and near Rogers Pass, Revelstoke is not a busy Canadian mountain town like Banff. Instead, it is a renowned ski destination, which has put it on the map for winter enthusiasts. However, that’s not to say that Revelstoke doesn’t have much to offer visitors in summer.

Most people will visit Revelstoke while on an epic Western Canada road trip connecting Vancouver to Calgary. From the highway, it’s easy to skip over Revelstoke without even noticing it’s there. However, we urge you not to do this as Revelstoke is well worth visiting. Consider staying a few days to enjoy the quiet, small-town mountain vibes that make up the town. Wondering what things to do in Revelstoke in the summer? We have you covered.

Where is Revelstoke?

revelstoke in the summer
Credit: Destination BC/Nolan Gale

Revelstoke is a small town in southeastern BC situated on the banks of the Columbia River south of the Revelstoke Dam. It’s nestled in between the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park.

The closest cities are Kamloops and Kelowna, but many people stop in Revelstoke while on a Western Canada road trip between Calgary and Vancouver on the ultimate Western Canada road trip. (Here are our favorite stops from Calgary to Revelstoke).

A little history…

The City of Revelstoke was founded in the 1880s when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was built. At its onset, the town relied heavily on forest and mining first, and then the railway; these beginnings are still apparent when strolling through town today. It’s estimated that over $3,000,000 in gold was mined in Revelstoke.

You may have noticed the name is a little interesting, so where did Revelstoke come from? Revelstoke took its name in honour of Lord Revelstoke, Edward Charles Baring of Devon in England. He was head of the London banking house of Baring Brokers and his timely financial assistance saved the Canadian Pacific Railway Company from going bankrupt in 1885 and ensured the completion of the transcontinental railway.

Though Revelstoke was built on mining and railway, it’s now most well known for its epic powder dumps at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and mountain biking in the summer. Though you can still see plenty of traces of its early days when you visit, as many original buildings from the early 1900s are still present (psst – like the post office!).

Things To Do in Revelstoke in the Summer

Stroll Around Downtown Revy

downtown revelstoke

Downtown Revelstoke is a super cute, small, and charming town that doesn’t see huge crowds like Whistler or Downtown Banff. It won’t take you long to stroll up and down MacKenzie Ave! There are some nice outdoor and boutique shops to wander into in Revy. Grab a baked good and coffee at The Modern Bakeshop or Dose and take some time for a snowy stroll.

Grab a Coffee at Dose

dose coffee

Before you head out for the day, you’ll need to fuel up. My favorite place to grab a coffee and baked treat is Dose. They also make great lunch dishes!

Soak in a Hot Spring

Halcyon Hot Springs
Photo courtesy of Halcyon Hot Springs

A key part of Kootenay culture is to soak in a natural hot spring or two. Doing this is exceptionally lovely on a cool summer day. Pack a bathing suit and a beer (remember to Leave No Trace), and get ready to soak your muscles.

The Halfway River Hot Springs is accessible by a logging road and steep trail and is your most “bask to basic” natural hot spring. South of Revy on Highway 23 is the Halcyon Hot Springs that overlook Upper Arrow Lake. Other options are Crazy Creek Hot Pools and Canyon Hot Springs!

Walk the Greenbelt

Illecillewaet Greenbelt Trails
Credit: Kootenay Rockies Tourism/Mitch Winton

The Greenbelt is a local walking trail in Revelstoke that offers enchanting vistas of the valley, mountains, and wildlife and embodies the serene ambiance of the small town. The Illecillewaet Greenbelt Path is conveniently accessible by foot from almost anywhere in town.

Its gentle terrain makes it a perfect choice for a tranquil, easy stroll in the summer. If you have a pair of cross-country skis, you can also Nordic ski here for free. You’ll be accompanied by the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge throughout the entire walk. Majestic mountains such as Mt. Cartier and Big Eddy surround you, making the scenery truly magical.

Paddle on Lake Revelstoke

Paddleboard on Lake Revelstoke
Credit: Kootenay Rockies Tourism/Mitch Winton

One of the best things to do in Revelstoke is paddle on the lakes! One of our favorite afternoons in Revy this past summer was when we went to Echo Lake for a paddle. This tiny lake is somewhat of a local secret. It’s warmer than other lakes in Canada and charming for a swim! If you’re itching to camp, there are a few places to pitch a tent.

Visit the 3 Valley Gap Ghost Town

3 Valley Gap Ghost Town
photo courtesy of the Three Valley Lake Chateau

Step into history at the 3 Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town. In the 1800s, the prospect of gold brought thousands of fortune seekers to this part of British Columbia. Many left penniless, but they left behind abandoned buildings, which you can still see today. Entrance costs $16, and with that you get access to 25 historic buildings, the auto museum, and the railway roundhouse.

Go Mountain Biking

Natasha Mountain Biking In Revelstoke
If you could see my face you would see that I love mountain biking in Revy

Revelstoke is one of the best places in British Columbia to go mountain biking in the summer. There are some fantastic mountain bike trails in Revelstoke. We enjoyed a full day exploring the area on our bikes and wish we could have ridden longer.

We usually mountain bike in Canmore, and there is just something so beautiful about riding in the lush forests of British Columbia. Some recommended trails are the Upper and Lower Mount Macpherson Trails, Martha Creek, and Boulder Mountain.

  • Mount Macpherson: This area has cross-country trails that are suitable for beginners and eBike-friendly. We usually bike here as visitors.
  • Revelstoke Mountain Resort: Intermediate and advanced downhill bikers should head to the resort for a full day of downhill biking.
  • Sunnyside: Located on the sunny side of Revelstoke, this area is great for intermediate mountain bikers. eBikes are allowed.

Enjoy a Beer at Mt. Begbie Brewery

 Mt. Begbie Brewery

After a day out on the trails, one of the best things to do in Revelstoke is refresh with a cold one. Mt. Begbie Brewery is an amazing local brewery that has been brewing since 1996. Their beer is created from the surrounding mountain water. It’s definitely worth trying their Mt. Begbie Cream Ale. The only bad news is it’s in a somewhat odd location away from Downtown near the Coast Hotel, so you’ll need a car to get here unless staying at the Coast!

Enjoy Arrow Lakes

Lower Arrow Lake From A Boat

A great Revelstoke activity! Arrow Lakes run from Revelstoke to Castlegar and are split into two sections (Lower Arrow Lake and Upper Arrow Lake). To access the lakes, you just have to go right outside of Revelstoke.

They are a fantastic place to take a boat or jet ski out and enjoy the mountain views in the summer. Don’t forget to grab some snacks from Revelstoke – there’s not much in terms of food or drinks once you leave town.

Road Bike the Meadow in the Sky Parkway

Flowers in Revelstoke

Visiting the Meadow in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park is a must-do while visiting Revy. The Meadow in the Sky Parkway travels uphill 26 kilometers through beautiful spruce and fir forests and wildflowers in the summer.

It’s a workout to cycle all the way up, but think about how fun the downhill will be! Or, if you have a car shuttle, you can always start at the top and ride down. Don’t forget to stop and take in the viewpoints along the way.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest
Photo courtesy of Enchanted Forest

One of the most popular things to do in Revelstoke with kids is get lost in the Enchanted Forest. The Enchanted Forest is 32 km west of Revelstoke and is a series of trails through the beautiful BC forests. Nestled in the forest is BC’s tallest and grandest treehouse, as well as folk art figurines, a castle, dragons, and dungeons.

The Enchanted Forest was a lifelong dream of Doris & Ernest Needham. So they opened to the public in the 1960s, and now it has become one of the best things to do when driving across Western Canada.

Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market

From May to October, Revelstoke has two local weekend markets. So if you’re visiting Revelstoke on a Saturday in the summer, we recommend heading to the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market at 1504 Second Street West or the Local Food Initiative Market at Centennial Park.

It’s the best place to get that local BC honey you’ve been craving, or fresh flowers, local fruits, and delicious vegetables. BC is well known for its amazing produce – so make sure not to miss it!

Ride the Sightseeing Gondola

Credit: Kootenay Rockies Tourism/Mitch Winton

Come May, the Revelation Gondola will start operating for the summer season again. You can load and ride up to 1700 meters above the Columbia River, taking in the views of the valley and mountains.

Once at the top grab a burger at the Mackenzie Outpost before taking to one of the hiking trails around. Split Rock Falls, the Subpeak Loop, and Greely Trail are some of the most popular trails up here in the summer.

The Pipe Mountain Coaster

The Pipe Mountain Coaster
Credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

A fun thing to do in Revelstoke for families is to enjoy the Pipe Mountain Coaster at Mount Revelstoke. It’s a 1.4 km ride across ski runs, glades, and even through a tunnel. The ride goes as fast as 42 kilometers per hour! (If you want it to). Buy tickets beforehand online for a lower rate (as low as $18!)

Wake Surf on Lake Revelstoke

Arrow Lake in Revelstoke

Lake Revelstoke is an artificial lake on the Columbia River and one of the top places to camp near Revelstoke in the summer. It’s a great spot for locals and tourists alike. One of the best parts about Lake Revelstoke is that it’s not in a park, so you can operate motorized boats on the lake.

This includes jet skis and boats, and you can rent boats from Great Canadian Tours. Or you can bring your paddleboard (just be careful it is big and gets windy). If you don’t feel like getting out on the water, there’s a large beach area to sunbathe on.

Hike Mount Begbie

Mount Begbie

Hiking Mount Begbie is like a right of passage for locals in Revelstoke; it is the icon of Revelstoke, which is why some businesses are named after it. Mount Begbie is 2733 meters high, requiring you to hike 12.4 km, and is rated as difficult.

This gets you all the way to the glacier and back! If you have mountaineering and glacier travel experience, you can continue on to the glacier, but this is not recommended without experience! Read more about hiking Mount Begbie here.

Downhill Biking at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Downhill Mountain Biking

Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers many activities in the winter and summer. If you want to try downhill mountain biking, It offers British Columbia’s newest lift-accessed mountain bike trail network.

These are newly built trails that have both blues and extreme blacks. The Fifty-Six Twenty Trail is said to be the longest flow trail ever built! You can purchase tickets in advance for a discounted price.

Explore Mount Revelstoke National Park

Explore Mount Revelstoke National Park
Credit: Destination BC/Ryan Creary

Mount Revelstoke National Park is a 260 square-kilometer park that offers so much for visitors and locals. Eva Lake Trail is a spectacular hike to one of the clearest lakes in BC. Or try the Balsam Lake hike for another epic day. It’s also fun to drive up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway at night for stargazing.

Visit the Railway Museum

Natasha at the railway museum in Revelstoke

Revelstoke was officially founded in the 1880s when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was built through the area to assist with mining. Given this information, one of the best things to do in Revelstoke is to learn about its railway history.

A fun Revelstoke attraction for the whole family is the Railway Museum, which delves into the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It’s the perfect place to learn about Canada’s important railway heritage. If it’s a mixed weather day, the Railway Museum is well worth a stop. I’m not a huge museum girly when on vacation, but I spent two hours here delving into the all information.

It’s not just all reading placards, either. There are interactive exhibits and a trainyard, and you get the chance to go inside a retired carriage.

Hike to Begbie Falls and Sutherland Falls

Waterfalls in Revelstoke

Revelstoke is in an inland rainforest, meaning the forests are incredibly lush. There are some fantastic waterfalls to hike to and check out. If you want to hit a slam dunk in one day, it’s easy to see the waterfall trifecta with just a couple of short Revelstoke hikes.

Sutherland Falls and Begbie Falls are all a short distance from Revy. Make sure to download a hiking app like Alltrails to find the trailhead!

Revy Live Outside

If you’re visiting in July and August, head down to 111 MacKenzie Ave for free live music all summer long. Every night in the summer, you can listen to blues, folk, indie, country, reggae, roots, and rock from 6:30-9:00 pm. Expect a lively vibe filled with food trucks, dancing, and friendly locals.

Visit in the Winter

cameron snowboarding at revelstoke in the winter
Cameron on a powder day at Revy

We spent a full winter season in Revelstoke riding powder at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and still dream about snowboarding on all that fresh snow. If you think winter is more your calling, or you plan to visit during both seasons, check out our full guide to visiting Revy in the winter.

Where to Stay in Revelstoke

staying at basecamp resorts in revelstoke

There aren’t many places to stay in Revelstoke—it’s a pretty small town! However, we always stay at one of the best properties when we visit. Basecamp Resorts Revelstoke is easily the best place to stay in Revelstoke in the summer. Its location along the river, secluded in the forest, is much better than staying in Downtown Revy (where it can get quite loud at night).

staying at basecamp resorts in revelstoke
Our massive living area at Basecamp Resorts Revelstoke with the most surreal and peaceful view over the river

Just a short drive away from downtown Revy is this awesome property that literally overlooks the Columbia River. It’s great for friends, families, and couples, offering different room types. Starting with a micro-studio and working up to a six-bedroom apartment, Basecamp has something for everything. Rooms are clean and ultra-modern. They all come with a full kitchen that is well-equipped to cook any meal after a day out, which saves money by not eating out.

basecamp resorts in revelstoke

What I love about Basecamps are the comfortable beds and big entertainment area. The WiFi is fast (Revelstoke has fiber internet -yay), which is perfect since we always seem to have to work a bit while on our trips.

There are even two large hot tubs to enjoy under the neverending view. I was honestly blown away by this property and wouldn’t hesitate to book it again next time we are in Revy. See our other favorite Revelstoke cabins and rentals.

The Best Places to Eat in Revelstoke

cameron at la baguette revelstoke
Cameron at La Baguette (their pizzas are so good!)

For such a small town, Revelstoke surprisingly has some good places to eat. When wondering what to do in Revelstoke, you have to walk down Main Street and see all the great shops and eateries. The downtown area is super tiny, so it won’t take long! I would recommend the following for a few great meals.

  • Dose: As mentioned they have fantastic coffee and great lunch items.
  • La Baguette: We always stop in La Baguette when in Revy. They have a cozy space, a nice coffee shop, and I love their creative pizzas.
  • The Village Idiot: Large and delicious caesars combined with pizza makes for an amazingly good time.
  • Paramjit’s Kitchen: Quick and tasty Indian dishes – great for takeaway!
  • The Rockford: This is our favorite apres-ski spot that sits right at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Super tasty modern pub food and a decent selection of beer on tap along with specials.

*Cover image courtesy of Kootenay Rockies Tourism/Mitch Winton

Revelstoke Activities Map

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About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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