Stunning Mount Revelstoke National Park is home to Meadows in the Sky Parkway, a beautiful stretch of road that offers unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains.
The park, founded in 1914, is located west of the Rocky Mountains in the Selkirk Mountains and is part of the Columbia Mountain range.
Whether you’re looking to hike in the wilderness or simply take in the scenery from the comfort of your car, Mount Revelstoke National Park is sure to impress!
Local citizens from nearby Revelstoke were so taken with the magnificence of the area, they successfully lobbied for a road to be built up the mountain before the national park was established.
In fact, Revelstoke is home to the oldest ski club in Canada, dating from the 1890s. Downhill skiing took place on the mountain for more than 60 years until the lift was moved to Mount Mackenzie in 1969. Mount McKenzie is where Revelstoke Mountain Resort opened in December 2007 to provide greater access to the legendary powdered snow and the longest descent in North America.
Annual ski jumping competitions took place on Revelstoke Mountain from 1915 until the late 1960s. During that time, the natural ski jump was the biggest in Canada. Nels Nelson, a Norwegian immigrant to Revelstoke, set a world ski jumping record on this mountain hill in 1916.
In the wintertime, Mount Revelstoke National Park still provides great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during its six months of winter.
Cross-country skiing is done on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway and showshoeing is popular on the 5 kms Soren Sorensen Trail and 2 km Inspiration Woods Trail.
A National Park Pass is required to enter the park. You can buy a single entry into the park at the entrance gate or buy an annual pass. Find out more about the annual Discovery Pass for Canada’s National Parks.
Things to do in Revelstoke National Park
Here are a few of our favourite things to do in the Mount Revelstoke National Park. We started early in the day to tour the mountain’s highlights.
Meadows in the Sky Parkway
Can you drive up Mount Revelstoke?
The drive along Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park offers incredible mountain views. The parkway provides a scenic 26 km drive and will take about one hour to reach the top. With a few key stops and short hikes, allow at least three hours if you are short on time.
The landscape changes as the elevation alters with the climb up Meadows in the Sky Parkway. First, the drive is through the dense rainforest. Next, you hit the snow forest that slowly transforms into the treeless alpine region found as you approach the summit. The sub-alpine meadows found at the higher altitude provides a burst of wildflower colour in the summer.
There is snow is in the park from October through to July. The parkway is closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall from October until sometime in late June.
In March, the snow often reaches a depth of 4 metres. The only trees that withstand the wet, heavy snow and the winds of winter, are the Englemann spruce and the subalpine fir, shown in the pictures below.
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Mount Revelstoke National Park Viewpoints
The are seven dramatic viewpoints along the 26 km Meadows in the Sky Parkway. We stopped at all of them. Each one is worthy of a visit.
1. Revelstoke Viewpoint
The first viewpoint on your way up Meadows in the Sky Parkway is at the 5 km mark. It offers an amazing view of the City of Revelstoke and Mount Begbie.
The Rainforest viewpoint is at 6.5 km on the parkway.
For views of the Monashee Mountains, Columbia River and Eagle Pass, stop at km 8 along the road.
At the 12 km mark the Columbia Viewpoint provides sweeping views of the Columbia Valley and the Selkirk Mountains in the distance.
5. Eagle Pass
Eagle pass allows a different perspective of the Monashee Mountains and Eagle Pass at this 13 km viewpoint.
6. Bridge Creek
At marker 16 km, Bridge Creek viewpoint offers a vista of the Alberta Peaks and Mount Mackenzie.
7. Panorama Point
Almost at the top of the Meadows in the Sky Parkway at 24 km, lookout towards the Columbia River and the Illecillewaet valleys.
Hiking trails in Mount Revelstoke National Park
There are a variety of hiking trails in Mount Revelstoke National Park for every skill level. Select from short, easy hikes to longer more moderate treks. Here is a handy chart to compare all the hikes available in the park.
These are a few easy, quick hikes in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
Giant Cedars Boardwalk
Visit the Giant Cedars Boardwalk for a peaceful stroll through an old-growth forest. The short trail is 1/2 km. It takes you past 500-year-old cedars. The trail starts in Lower Mount Revelstoke area. just off the Trans Canada Highway at the Giant Cedars Picnic Area.
Nels Knickers Trail
There are two trailheads to reach the impressive views from the viewing platform with the famous Nels Knickers. The shortest, easiest trail is from the Meadows in the Sky Parkway at 1.4 km. This interesting interpretive trail leads to the hands-on-exhibit to experience what the views must have been like for the famous ski jumper Nels Nelson and others with his passion.
Broken Bridge Trail
This quick, easy 1 km trail, is a walk through the forest to the broken bridge, which you should not access for safety reasons. The trailhead is found at 11.5 kms on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway just before the Snowforest switchback.
First Footsteps Trail
The First Footsteps Trail provides several viewpoints along a short 30 minute loop through the subalpine meadows. The walkway provides information about the traditions of Ktunaxa, Okanagan and Secwepemc First Nations people who have lived in the area for thousands of years.
Balsam Lake Hike
The trail around the Balsam Lake goes through the subalpine forest. Keep watch for bear activity. Be aware of signs like fresh tracks, diggings or scat. The trail is an easy 500 metre loop. Washrooms are available near this location.
Fire Tower Trail
The historic fire tower, built in 1927 is one of the few remaining fire lookouts from the early days of national park firefighting.
This Federal Heritage Building was last staffed in 1987. In the winter, the fire tower is packed with snow and the only thing visible is the flagpole.
Take one of two trails to the historic fire tower at the summit. One is easier and paved, allowing a more accessible path that can accommodate wheelchairs.
If you combine the North Summit Trail, Fire Tower Trail and Heather Lake you can do a nice 30 minute loop.
The North Summit Trail provides spectacular views of the Monashee and Selkirk mountains and Lake Revelstoke.
In the summer, a shuttle operates from the Balsam Lake parking lot to the summit.
Best time to see wildflowers in Mount Revelstoke National Park
In July and August the alpine meadows are covered in beautiful wildflowers. Flowers reach their peak in August.
Look for some of the wildflowers we saw on our visit at the beginning of July: Arctic lupine, western pasqueflower, common red paintbrush, yellow glacier lily and pink mountain heather.
The bright coloured glacier lilies are an important food source for grizzly bears.
Wildlife in Mount Revelstoke National Park
Many types of animals make their home in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Here are a few you may be lucky enough to spot from a distance. Look for mountain goat, moose, coyote, wolverine, caribou, bears, Columbia ground squirrels and American red squirrels.
There are more than 60 types of birds found in the Revelstoke area. You will find mainly Canada Jays, formerly known as Gray Jays and also called whiskey jacks, along with golden eagles in the boreal forest or subalpine.
The best time to see birds at the higher elevation is in July and August. For more information on the variety of birds found on the mountain, check the Canada’s National Park website.
Watch for amphibians on the road. The small nocturnal Coeur d’ Alene salamander is an endangered species and its presence is monitored along the parkway.
Mountain caribou trek up the mountain in winter. On their way up, they feed on leafy green boxwood and then lichens that hang in the trees. They travel back down into the valley when plants start to grow in the spring. The mountain caribou has no problem trekking on top of snow. Did you know their large hooves act like snowshoes. Mountain caribou are an endangered species.
There are two types of bears in the area, black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears can be spotted in the spring, near the base of the mountain or along the parkway.
Restrictions in Revelstoke National Park
Some vehicle types are restricted on the Meadows in the Parkway due the narrow roadway and its tight curves. This road is not suitable for buses or camper/recreational vehicles over 26 feet or 7.9 metres in length.
Dogs are not permitted in the summit area.
Fast Facts about Mount Revelstoke National Park:
- Lightning strikes hit Mount Revelstoke at a rate of about 9 strikes per square km per year causing forest fires in a natural process renewing the ecological habitat of the forest.
- The large hooves of mountain caribou act like snowshoes.
- The temperate rainforest of these mountains are one of the world’s only interior cedar rainforests.
- The world’s ski jumping record was broken in 1916 by Nels Nelson.
- Mount Revelstoke National Park is the only national park in Canada that provides access to the summit with a short walk from the parking lot.
- The Columbia River is the largest flowing river into the Pacific Ocean from North America. The river travels 2,000 kms through BC, Washington and Oregon states before flowing into the Pacific at Astoria, Oregon.
Where to stay near Mount Revestoke National Park
There are several options for accommodations near Mount Revelstoke National Park. You can stay in town or at Mount Revelstoke Resort.
Accommodations for Mount Revelstoke
There are hotels, motels, alpine chalets, and tents available. Search for accommodation in Revelstoke by using Booking.Com and any commissions earned will help keep this website running.
We booked last minute and were lucky to find the centrally located, recently opened, Ramada by Wyndham. This hotel included breakfast.
Camping in Mount Revelstoke National Park
Snowforest Campground is near the base of the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, five minutes outside of Revelstoke. Reservations are advised. Backcountry camping is available at Jada and Eva Lakes. Make a reservation.
There are also camping options in nearby Blanket Creek and Martha Creek Provincial Parks, Wadley on Revelstoke Lake, Begbie Falls and two campsites in Glacier National Park as well as private options closer to town.
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