Revelstoke's History Itinerary
Revelstoke Museum and Archives. Photo: Bruno Long
To begin your exploration of Revelstoke’s history, start at Revelstoke Museum and Archives, where you can spend an hour learning about the origins of the community. Discover the impact of avalanches in this region in the stunning “Land of Thundering Snow” exhibit which tells the story of Canada’s most deadly avalanche and marvel at Revelstoke’s ski pioneers in the “First Tracks” exhibit. Does your family have early connections to Revelstoke? Talk to the knowledgeable archives staff to explore your roots. After your museum tour, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Heritage Garden (one of the best spots in town for a picnic lunch). Check out the museum’s events for fun ways to learn about the , during the summer months they run heritage walks downtown on Tuesdays and cemetery talks every other Wednesday. In the winter months, you can learn over lunch with their brown bag history talks.- they’re well worth an hour of your time!
In the afternoon, head to the Revelstoke Railway Museum to find out all about integral the railway is to Revelstoke’s history. Learn of the struggles to build and maintain a railway through this rugged terrain, and find out the incredible stories of the people who made it happen. Inside the museum you can also try your hand at driving an engine yourself on the railway simulator, explore the model railway and see the impressive Engine 5468. Outside, you can learn what it was like to live in a caboose and see more artefacts of the railway’s past.
If you’re still looking for more history, take the short drive on Highway 1 to Three Valley Gap ghost town, a collection of amazing old buildings from throughout Western Canada, reconstructed to make a town in the picturesque Three Valley Gap. Here you’ll find everything from beautiful old Churches to an impressive railway roundhouse!
End your first day with a walk on the Revelstoke Greenbelt. Along the walking path, you will find heritage boards full of information about the town’s history. Starting at the Community Centre, and follow the paved pathway by the river for a history lesson as you enjoy a walk.
Nels Knickers. Photo: Rob Buchanan
Head out of town on Highway 23N, to the BC Interior Forestry Museum. This little gem tells the fascinating history of logging in the area and has an impressive collection of antique machinery, as well as a full size fire lookout tower! Once you’re done browsing, the gift shop features lots of local art and artisan goods to buy. This is also one of the best places in town to buy firewood for your camp trip!
Next to the Forestry museum is the Revelstoke dam visitor centre. Find out about how the dam was constructed, how it changed the local area, and take in the views from the top.
Once you’ve explored the forestry museum and the dam, it’s time to go to the Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park. At the base area discover more about Revelstoke’s rich ski jump history, and follow the trail up to the Nels Nelsen interpretive area, where you can see the original ski jump, and lean into Nels Knickers to imagine the thrill of hurtling off the jump. Continue your exploration of Mount Revelstoke National Park by heading up to Balsam Lake and easy access to the summit on foot or by shuttle. Here you’ll find the Koo Koo Sint interpretive trail, which uncover the history of David Thompson’s navigation of the Columbia river in the early 1800’s and the First Footsteps trail, which presents the traditions of the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Okanagan First Nations through sculpture and artwork.
After you’ve fully explored Mount Revelstoke National Park, take Highway 1 to Glacier National Park and stop at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. This interactive visitor centre is full of information about how the iconic Rogers Pass was navigated, the area’s tourism past and the wildlife in the local area. Check out the Howitzer guns outside, once used to control avalanches and keep highway 1 safe. After you’ve explored Rogers Pass, head back towards Revelstoke, stopping at Loop Brook Campground and take the short walk to explore the old Glacier House ruins. Once a thriving CP hotel, full of tourists taking sight seeing trips in the pass, the ruins now make a fascinating stop for any history buff.
Itinerary Suggestions By: Cathy English (Curator, Revelstoke Museum & Archives)