Situated in a deep valley at the confluence of the Columbia and Illecillewaet rivers, Revelstoke is the quintessential Kootenay Rockies mountain town.
Mount Revelstoke rises steeply to the north with the still-higher Mount MacKenzie dominating the skyline on the southern side of the valley. Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans-Canada Highway pass through the city, which is 410km/255mi west of Calgary and 565km/351mi northeast of Vancouver.
The city occupies relatively flat terrain on the valley bottom, and can be best viewed from the eight-passenger, high-speed gondola that climbs 1,081m/3,547ft up the mountain at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. It's possible to drive up into the alpine in Mount Revelstoke National Park, which adjoins the city, and in Glacier National Park, less than an hour's drive to the east.
Just north of town, the Columbia River is held back by the massive Revelstoke Dam, which is a 165m/541ft high concrete structure that creates a reservoir stretching 130km/81mi upstream. Learn about the dam at the BC Hydro Visitor Centre on-site.
Weather and Climate
Revelstoke's climate is strongly influenced by moist air that tracks into the Columbia region from the Pacific. In summer, this brings the moderately high rainfall that sustains a rare interior rainforest on Mount Revelstoke. In winter, it means huge amounts of snow – up to 18m/59ft of it at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
The mean annual precipitation in Revelstoke is 128cm/50in. Average temperatures range from a low of 11°C/52°F to a high of 25°C/77°F in July, and from -8°C/18°F to -2°C/28°F in January.