For years I’d fantasized about spending more time in Revelstoke, not the brief stops I’d been making when hurrying along the Trans-Canada Highway. With a charming downtown, staggering peaks and old growth forests, there’s plenty of things to do in Revelstoke for lovers of the great outdoors.
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Things to do in Revelstoke
Ever since I was a kid, Revelstoke has retained this mythical quality in my mind. Sure, The Enchanted Forest might’ve had something to do with it, being one of the top things to do in Revelstoke and all. But it’s more than that.
Their forests are different than what I’m used to in the Alberta Rockies. Not only are they old growth, comprised of centuries old cedar and hemlock trees, but Revelstoke lies within a rare inland temperate rainforest. It’s lush and green and fragrant.
You’ll be wowed by the landscape, but also by all the activities going on in this mountain resort town. Here’s a look at some not to miss attractions.
Giant Cedars Boardwalk
A 20-minute drive east of Revelstoke lies one of the few rest stops I’d legit break for. Giant Cedars Boardwalk is a lovely trail that threads through an old growth forest chock full of cedars that were around long before Columbus landed in the Caribbean. It’s a beautiful spot to stretch your legs, with picnic tables and a few outhouses.
If you’re visiting on a hot day, you’re going to want to plunge into Williamson Lake. The Lake is run by the City and it’s got washrooms, change rooms, a small playground, plus camping spots. The shoreline is well shaded and you can swim out to a fair sized dock, which I can proudly say I did.
Big Eddy Glass Works
Doing something creative doesn’t always come to mind when visiting one of Canada’s outdoor adventure playgrounds, but Big Eddy Glass Works shouldn’t be overlooked. The storefront is brimming with blown glass baubles, drinking glasses, ornaments and vases.
We took an intro into flame working workshop and my teen loved it. Using propane and oxygen stationary torches, we learned how to melt glass and transform it into jewelry. You could also design your own up-clycled cup or make a carafe during a date night. I’m definitely coming back here.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
The reason most folks visit Revelstoke is the abundance of mountain activities on hand. In winter it’s all about the skiing (downhill, heli, cat). And there’s also snowboarding and snowshoeing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
In summer it’s still worth the stop. Even more so, I think. For starters, they’ve got epic mountain biking that turns out to be Canada’s longest downhill ride. You can enjoy gondola-assisted hiking, disc golf, paragliding and axe throwing.
Two activities stood out for us: The Pipe Mountain Coaster and their Aerial Adventure Park.
The Pipe Mountain Coaster
I couldn’t believe how much The Pipe Mountain Coaster felt like a regular roller coaster – except better. It’s an individual ride where you control the speed that can surge up to over 40 km an hour. You’ll whiz through glades and tunnels along a 1.4 km track set on the ski hill. It’s totally exhilarating and I’m thrilled I opted for three rides.
Aerial Adventure Park
There was a heat warning in effect the day we tackled the Aerial Adventure Park, but that didn’t matter. This four-storey ropes course totally held our attention, made us forget up the surging temps and because we were up so high, we caught quite a few nice breezes.
Though this aerial park isn’t set in the trees, it’s still totally fun. There’s over 50 obstacles to challenge yourself upon – graded from beginner to advanced, so wimps like me can opt out of the more spine tingling adventures.
The Enchanted Forest
You can’t miss dropping in at The Enchanted Forest, a 30-minute drive west of Revelstoke along the Trans-Canada Highway. Yes, their ceramic figurines are as kitsch as garden gnomes, but there’s a certain charm and comfort in that.
As this attraction is over 60-years-old, it’s quite likely you visited as a child. It’s pretty much just as you remembered, except there’s now over 350 fairytale and woodland figurines that call this old growth forest home.
As you stroll through the canopied forest, keep your eyes on the lookout for cedar stump houses, a 50 ft tree house and more surprises along the way.
Right next to The Enchanted Forest lies SkyTrek Adventure Park. Many people (ourselves included) don’t budget enough time to do all the things at this outdoor park. Trust me on this one, you’re going to want to do all the things.
The main draw in this aerial park is its sky course, comprised of zip lines and rope challenges in the treetops. There’s a mini adventurous course for the younger set, plus a tricked out jungle gym for wee ones 2-years and older.
Expect your kids will also want to scale a 35 ft tree AND jump from a 40 ft tower at the Sky Drop.
Where to stay in Revelstoke
I’m a big fan of staying on mountain. Doing so means you’re close to all the activities – summer and winter. Most of the hotels on mountain have one and two bedroom units and full kitchens.
At Revelstoke Mountain Resort, The Sutton Place Hotel has a heated outdoor pool, two hot tubs, plus a fitness centre. Our unit was like a condo, with all the amenities you could ask for. I’d go back here in a heartbeat.
If you’d like to rest your head in the historic downtown area, the Regent Hotel is steps away from all the action. It’s an affordable option with breakfast included.
Where to eat in Revelstoke
On mountain, Rockford Grill dishes up hearty salads, burgers and pasta dishes. Portions are large and they don’t skimp on the vegetables.
Main Street Cafe is a lovely spot for breakfast or lunch. Their huevos rancheros is quite popular, but we were happy with our perfectly cooked pancakes and club sandwich.
Chubby Funsters is a casual, family-friendly spot with good appetizers. I polished off the PB&J burger and they have other creative twists on classics.
It seemed like the strongest air conditioning in town is at Kawakubo. You’ll find good lunch specials here, plus sushi, sashimi and a surprisingly good house salad.
Head into Salmon Arm
Now if you fancy taking a dip in a really warm lake, then it’s worth the hour or so drive to Salmon Arm to plunge into Shuswap Lake. Just on the outskirts of Salmon Arm, along the Trans-Canada Highway, is Canoe Beach. There’s plenty of beaches along Lake Shuswap, but Canoe Beach is convenient and has amenities like kayak and SUP rentals, a concession, and public restrooms.
A 15-20 minute drive from the townsite (approximately 90-minutes from Revelstoke) lands you at Larch Hills Winery, where you can enjoy a $5 glass of wine on their patio, plus complimentary tastings of their award winning wine. Personally, I’m quite proud of myself for taking home way more bottles than I planned.
Another worthwhile attraction in Salmon Arm is DeMille’s Farm Market. More than a pit stop for fruit, you’ll find gourmet and speciality products, an ice cream stand, taco truck, plus plenty of farm critters to meet.
Where to stay in Salmon Arm
Even if you’re not staying at Prestige Harbourfront Resort, it’s worth the stop for breakfast or lunch at Cafe Tasse. This lively little cafe serves up sweet and savoury crepes, ice cream drinks, tea and pastries.
As for the hotel itself, Prestige Harbourfront Resort has large, pleasant rooms – some with lake views and private balconies. As for amenities, it sports an indoor/outdoor pool, outdoor hot tub and a fitness centre. From the hotel, you can walk to the wharf or downtown with its shops and restaurants.
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