Before heading to Revelstoke, it helps to know what to expect so that you can plan accordingly and pick the best starting point!
How big is Revelstoke?
The mountain town of Revelstoke is approximately 40.76 km2. It’s located on the Columbia River with the Revelstoke Dam just to the north. To the east, you can see the Selkirk Mountains while the Monashee Mountains line the western borders.
What is the weather like in Revelstoke?
Summer in Revelstoke is usually mild to warm, though nights can be cool. Winter marks the cloudy season with plenty of cold days and nights and lots of snow, which makes for amazing winter activities. The city sees a fair amount of precipitation year-round, around 119 mm per month.
Revelstoke also happens to have the world’s only Inland Temperate Rainforest. You read that correctly, a rainforest in Canada. Featuring massive trees from various species, and a plethora of vegetation and wildlife throughout, the rainforest is breathtaking. The rainforest provides plenty of room to explore, including trails, waterfalls, and even an enchanted forest! Abundant moss + giant cedars? Michelle has found her new paradise.
When is the best time to visit Revelstoke?
The best time to visit Revelstoke depends on what you’re planning to do here.
If you’d like to explore the many alpine parks, we’d suggest visiting during July, August, or September. Not only should this mean drier hiking trails, but you have more chance of seeing wildlife. Additionally, we’d say that wintertime was far too cold for hiking in these parts!
However, if you’re visiting for the ski season, you’ll want to come here during the depths of winter. The heavy blankets of snow will give you epic skiing opportunities, and the hot springs will feel even more satisfying!
That said, don’t be afraid to visit during the springtime either! The dead of winter is when most people flock to the area, but you’ll still see plenty of snow in the spring months. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, springtime in Revelstoke is far quieter and the days are longer. You know what that means – dominating the ski runs without crowds and getting more bang for your buck with daylight hours.
How busy is Revelstoke?
Revelstoke isn’t as busy as areas like Whistler during the ski season, but there will always be people bustling around.
If you’re heading to Revelstoke for skiing, you’ll find that the worst pileups are near the ski lifts and gondolas. Although you may be waiting a while to get to the top of the mountains, once you’re there, we’ve found that the crowds tend to disperse significantly.
In terms of the town itself, the population of Revelstoke is small (approximately 7.5 thousand!). So, you certainly won’t be overrun by locals. In our opinion, what you’ll need to look out for are crowds in the parks during the summer, and crowds on the slopes during the winter!
Other than that, it should be smooth sailing.
The Revelstoke area has a rich and vibrant history with an identity tied to adventure, exploration, and nature.
The Early Years
Though settlers first arrived in 1885 to expand the fur trade, Revelstoke didn’t become a city until 1899. Thanks to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the small fur-trading community ultimately developed into an industrialized town with mining and lumber mills.
As a bustling railway town surrounded by lush forests and plentiful natural resources, Revelstoke became one of the most prominent communities in the area. Eventually, steamboats created additional connections between the southern part of the province and the railroad.
By the early 1900s, Revelstoke had many amenities that you would only find in large cities, including a department store. If you care to see what life looked like during that time, visit the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. The building, erected in 1926, once served as the Revelstoke Post Office and Customs, and it retains many original features.
Acknowledgment of the First Nations
Though early settlers didn’t recognize that the territory belonged to the Sinixt, Sylix, Swepemec, and Ktunaxa people, today, Revelstoke hopes to honor the First Nations who traditionally used the land. Though long-believed that Aboriginal people couldn’t survive the harsh climates around Revelstoke, historians debunked that myth.
Acknowledging the First Nations is relatively new for Revelstoke residents, but it’s something the community hopes to embrace. It’s an effort to recognize the people who lost their homes as settlers laid claim to the area.
For the Love of Skiing
The booming economy drew immigrants, including Norwegians, who introduced snow sports to the area. Thanks to mounds of snow and plenty of mountain terrain, skiing and ski jumping became fundamental parts of life in the area.
Revelstoke is home to the first ski jump in North America and home to a world champion jumper. The original ski jump remained open for around sixty years, though many others exist around the area. Skiing is as much a part of this community’s story as the industry. Today, the Revelstoke Ski Club remains active, and it’s the oldest of its kind in the province.
The snow and mountains didn’t just attract skiers; adventurers also trekked to the region to test their mettle and make their fortune. Miners worked the area prior to the 1880s, and some stayed on as settlers arrived. Mountaineers searching for solitude found it in the wilderness. Adventurers flooded the area to climb the mountains and scale the unique rock formations.
Modern adventurers continue answering the call of Revelstoke. With so much land to explore across two national parks in and around Revelstoke, adventure and tourism keep the area infused with visitors.
The proximity to water and the need for power led to the construction of the Revelstoke Dam during the 1980s. Today, the 175-metre tall hydroelectric dam remains the most powerful one on the Columbia River and serves as a popular tourist attraction.