Wondering what things to do in Revelstoke? 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. Due to its location off Trans Canada and near Rogers Pass, it’s not a busy Canadian mountain town like Banff. Revelstoke has a lot to offer visitors in both the winter and summer.
We’ve visited multiple times during both seasons and fallen in love, we even decided to spend an entire winter season there to enjoy all the pow. We have you covered if you’ve just arrived and are looking for some of the best things to do in Revelstoke.
Where is Revelstoke, British Columbia?
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).
Revelstoke was founded in the 1880s when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was built. At its onset, the town relied heavily on mining. Its early mining town beginnings are still very apparent when strolling through town today.
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.
The Best Things to Do in Revelstoke in the Winter
Ski/Snowboard at Revelstoke Mountain Resort
I can’t write a post about the best things to do in Revelstoke without mentioning skiing and snowboarding at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Hands down, Revelstoke is one of the best places to ski in Canada, if not the world. There aren’t many resorts in North America you could describe as up and coming, but Revelstoke Mountain Resort is just that.
It has a reputation that proceeds itself for outstanding freeride terrain, tree skiing, and legendary powder. A large portion of this resort was previously only accessible via cat skis until the 2007/2008 season, when a gondola and two fast chairlifts were added.
All of this opened up a dizzying amount of terrain (3000 acres) and the biggest vertical in North America (1,713m). To top it all off, Revelstoke gets plenty of fresh powder at 12m a year on average. Most of the terrain is pretty gnarly and steep, but there are some mellow runs for beginners to enjoy. There are very few resorts in Canada I would rather be on an epic pow day than Revy.
Go Sledding (Snowmobiling)
Snowmobiling, or “sledding” is what it’s nicknamed in Canada, is one of the best things to do in Revelstoke in the winter. Revelstoke gets hammered with snow, which creates perfect conditions for sledding. Revy is often referred to as the “epicenter of mountain sledding.”
Sledders travel from all over Canada to sled here. Some of the best riding areas from beginner to expert can be found here.
Enjoy Dog Sledding
If snowmobiling doesn’t sound like it’s for you, you can always try dog sledding! Revelstoke Dogsled Adventures provides guided dogsled tours every day in the winter.
Departures are typically daily at 9 am, 2 pm, and 5:30 pm. If you’ve never been dog sledding, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Canada (we’ve been multiple times!)
Go for a Cross Country Ski
When you’re not hitting the slopes at the resort, you can enjoy the beautiful mountains on your Nordic Skis! About seven kilometers south of Revy is the Revelstoke Nordic Day Lodge and Mount Macpherson trailhead. From here, there is a whopping 26 km of groomed trails to take to. See more info here.
Breathe in the Cool Air on a Fat Bike
There are some fantastic fat bike trails in the Selkirks and Monashees. The best places to go are the Soren Sorensen 2 km and 5 km trails and on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway up to the Inspiration Woods trailhead.
You can rent fat bikes from Skookum Bike and Ski and Tantrum Ride Company (both downtown). Wandering Wheels offers tours in the winter if you’re not familiar with the area or fat biking.
Stroll Around Downtown Revy
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 and take some time for a snowy stroll.
Warm Up At The Roxy
Looking for something to do at night after a day playing in the snow? Catch a show at The Roxy Theatre. The Roxy Theatre Revelstoke is an art deco movie theatre located downtown and has been operating since 1959! This is a beloved institution where you can watch anything from Blockbusters to indie flicks. Check showtimes here.
Grab a Coffee at Dose
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!
Have a Caesar at the Village Idiot
My absolute favorite thing to do in Revelstoke after a day out is to enjoy a Caesar at the Village Idiot downtown. The Village Idiot makes the most amazing Caesars, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed – I haven’t had a better one in all of Canada.
It’s a fabulous atmosphere with excellent bar food and drinks. Heading here really makes you feel like you’re in a ski town. If you are not Canadian and curious about what a Caesar even is, check out our Canadian food and drinks guide.
Soak in a Hot Spring
A key part of Kootenay culture is to soak in a natural hot spring or two. Doing this is exceptionally lovely on a winter day when the snow is lightly falling, which seems to happen about every day in Revelstoke in the winter. 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.
Get a Bullseye at Peak Axe Throwing
One of the best things to do in Revelstoke after dark is practice axe throwing. Axe Throwing has become popular in Canada recently and is a great thing to do with a group of friends. At Peak Axe Throwing, you can expect a safety briefing, proper handling of the axe demonstration, and throwing techniques. Then you are off to throw on your own!
Each Axe Throwing event will begin with instruction, including a safety briefing, proper axe handling, and throwing techniques before you head off to your lane to start throwing!
Axe Throwing Coaches are present and will monitor your group at all times, helping score keep and teaching you new throws along the way. If you have any questions or concerns or require assistance. For groups of 4, it’s best to book at least one hour!
Ski Tour In Rogers Pass
Rogers Pass in British Columbia provides the Trans-Canada Highway, a route through the Selkirk Mountains. The essential route is critical for Canadian infrastructure as it is the rail line to the West Coast. It is named after Major Albert Roger, who surveyed the pass in 1881 while working for the Canadian government. The pass connects Revelstoke to the East with the town of Golden.
The pass sits in Glacier National Park and is known for its spectacular scenery and challenging winter conditions. Due to heavy snowfall in the Selkirk Mountains, the highway and rail lines are prone to frequent and scheduled closures due to avalanche risk. Canadian Armed Forces operate live artillery to reduce the risk. It takes a lot of work and weather forecasting to ensure Canada’s most significant highway stays open year-round.
While the amount of snow and the high alpine road makes it difficult to operate, it provides a beautiful opportunity for skiers and splitboarders. It is widely regarded amongst the backcountry ski community as one of the best areas to go ski-touring in North America. However, the terrain in Rogers Pass is very complex; almost every year, a backcountry user loses their life.
Backcountry users must work with Parks Canada and obtain a Winter Permit that ensures education about the scheduled avalanche control closures. If it’s your first time, we recommend hiring a guide. CAPOW offers tours and private guiding in Rogers Pass. Of course, every backcountry user needs to be aware of the terrain they’re entering and the Avalanche conditions. Please educate yourself.
Walk the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt is a local walking trail in Revelstoke, and offers enchanting vistas of the valley, mountains, wildlife, and embodies the serene ambiance of the small town.
The Illecillewaet Greenbelt Path is conveniently accessible by foot from almost anywhere in town, and its gentle terrain makes it a perfect choice for a tranquil easy stroll in the winter. If you have a pair of cross country skis, you can also nordic ski here for free.
Throughout the journey, you’ll be accompanied by the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge. Surrounding you are majestic mountains such as Mt Cartier and Big Eddy, making the scenery truly magical.
Things To Do in Revelstoke in the Summer
Paddleboard on Echo Lake
One of the best Revelstoke things to do is paddle on the lakes! One of our favorite afternoons in Revy this past summer was when we made it out to Echo Lake for a paddle.
This is a tiny lake that 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
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
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.
Enjoy a Beer at 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 Stoked Winter Ale and Mt. Begbie Cream Ale.
Enjoy Arrow Lakes
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.
Walk Around Downtown Revy
Downtown Revelstoke is a super cute, small, and charming town that doesn’t see huge crowds like Whistler or Downtown Banff. One of the best things to do in Revelstoke is walking around Mackenzie Avenue and enjoy the sun and mountain views.
Road Bike on the Meadow in the Sky Parkway
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 forest 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.
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.
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
Come May, the Revelation Gondola starts operating for the summer season again. Here you can load and ride up 1700 meters above the Columbia River. Take 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
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 though 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
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. 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
Hiking Mount Begbie is like a right of passage for locals in Revelstoke; it is the icon of Revelstoke, which is why there are some businesses 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
Revelstoke Mountain Resort provides a whole lot of activities in both the winter and summer. If you want to try downhill mountain biking Revelstoke Mountain Resort 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
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
Revelstoke was actually founded in the 1880s when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was built through the area; to assist with the mining. Given this information, one of the best things to do in Revelstoke is to learn about their 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 come to learn about Canada’s important railway heritage. Check their hours here.
Hike the Waterfall Trifecta (Begbie Falls, Sutherland Falls, Moses Falls)
Revelstoke is actually situated in an inland rainforest meaning the forests and 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, Begbie Falls, and Moses Falls are all a short distance from Revy. Make sure to download a hiking app like Alltrails to find the trailhead!
Where to Stay in Revelstoke
There aren’t a plethora of places to stay in Revelstoke. It’s a pretty small town! However, we did stay at one of the best properties on offer. The brand new Basecamp Revelstoke Resort is easily the best place to stay in Revelstoke.
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 as they have all different types of room types. Starting with a micro-studio and working all the way 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 in after a day out.
What I loved about Basecamps were the comfortable beds and big entertainment area. The WiFi was fast (Revelstoke has fiber internet -yay), which was perfect since we had to get some work done while there.
There’s even a large hot tub to enjoy under the neverending snow in the winter. 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
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. Try the Bahn Mi.
- The Village Idiot: Large and delicious caesars combined with wings and pizza makes for an amazingly good time.
- Paramjit’s Kitchen: Quick and tasty Indian dishes – great for takeaway!
- The Taco Club: Good margaritas and tacos and one of the best restaurants in town, just be forewarned it’s pretty expensive.
- 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.
Best Things to do in Revelstoke Map
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