Exploring Revelstoke in summer on a tight budget

Mountaineer reporter Melissa Jameson’s spent 24 hours taking in Revelstoke sights on just $24, with dinner!

The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre is closed to all members effective Friday, March 27. File Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine file photo

Revelstoke is a mecca of adventurous opportunities. For part of the year super keeners can even ski/sled/bike/paddleboard/add-your-activity-of-choice-here all on the same day. Sometimes, though, it’s good to slow down, spend a little less and just enjoy life. Here’s how I spent 24 hours exploring Revelstoke with only $24 (oh, and I ate too)!

Day 1

Woodenhead Park/River City Trail
The Woodenhead statute pictured in the 1960s during his Zorro phase. Photo: Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Location: Turn right at the lights off the Trans-Canada Highway
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Cost: Free

Woodenhead Park, with its infamous wooden statue, carved by local resident Peter Fuoco in the 1930s while working on the Big Bend Highway Project, is a great place to stop for a picnic before checking out the rest of the city.

The famous wooden statue was relocated to its current home in Woodenhead Park in the 1960s when the Trans-Canada Highway opened.

After a brief stop in the park, I decide to walk the paved path that connects the areas known as Farwell and Columbia Park. The short path follows beside the Columbia River and is part of a network of trails in Revelstoke.

Revelstoke Visual Arts
Check out the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre gallery in Lowertown. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine file photo
Centre & Community
Location: Wilson Street
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 (by donation)

Once one of Revelstoke’s best-kept secrets, the arts scene is thriving with events like Luna Fest shining a light on local talent. The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre hosts exhibits for the majority of the year and it’s well worth a stop to check out what’s currently on display.

Exhibitions for the month of August are Leanne Spanza’s From Glacier to Glacier, Trish Hartwick’s Waste Not and Katherine Russell’s Memories Are Malleable.

Railway Museum parking lot to Nels Nelsen Ski Jump
Inside the Revelstoke Railway Museum. Photo: Revelstoke Railway Museum
Location: Track Street
(err … well the paved path, anyway).
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Just past the Revelstoke Railway Museum parking lot (well worth checking out, by the way) is the start of the trail that takes you to the Nels Nelsen Ski Jump. If you’re not familiar with him, Nels Nelsen was a Norwegian-born Canadian ski jumper who resided in Revelstoke and was considered among the world’s best ski jumpers in the 1920s.

The trail itself is paved all the way into Revelstoke National park where it turns into a rather steep uphill climb along a narrow dirt trail, which is the reason I was unable to go any further. I happen to use a mobility walker and there was no way I was going to make it. I should mention also the paved path is quite steep. A round trip at a leisurely pace on the paved path takes me about 30 minutes.

The Nels Nelsen ski jump sculpture overlooks Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

If hiking all the way to the Nels Nelson ski jump isn’t your thing, you can also drive into the park. More information on the park, including visitor fees, can be found at https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/revelstoke.

Revelstoke Museum and Archives/Heritage Garden
A new Sinixt display at the Revelstoke Museum & Archives was opened on June 21. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer
Time: 3 p.m.
Cost: $5

Free to explore, the Heritage Garden is located beside the Revelstoke Museum and includes a number of heirloom plants including a pink rose developed in honour of explorer David Thompson. Entry to to the museum is a budget friendly $5 for adults, with children 12 and under free. The museum includes numerous displays exploring Revelstoke’s rich history.

Art First Gallery
File photo: Sarah-Jeanne Bernard’s most recent abstract works are at the RVAC show and she also displays at Art First downtown, where we chatted at the gallery’s recent re-branding and logo unveiling show. Bernard’s abstract works are covered in a thick glossy resin and really resemble aerial photographs of foreign landscapes. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer
Time: 4 p.m
Cost: Free

An artist-run gallery, ArtFirst Features works in various mediums from a variety of local artists. I happen to pop in when local pottery artist Nancy Geismar is working and spend a bit of time chatting with her about the current works on display.

Explore downtown Revelstoke
Images from Revelstoke’s 2019 Mountain Paradise Show & Shine, the annual vintage car show hosted by the Revelstoke Vintage Car Club in downtown Revelstoke. Photos in this gallery by Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine
Location: Mackenzie Avenue and adjacent side streets.
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Revelstoke’s downtown is rich with history, with many businesses housed in heritage buildings. If you stopped by the Revelstoke Museum and Archives earlier now is your chance to see how many buildings you can recognize!

Dinner at Taco Club
Location: Mackenzie Avenue
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: $10.27

Before you ask, yes that price included a decent tip for service. Finding dinner for under $10 is a challenge, but not impossible. There are a number of restaurants in Revelstoke that offer a decent budget-friendly meal. I chose the Taco Club because I happen to have food sensitivities and I already know I can eat there. I arrive to a nearly empty restaurant, which quickly fills up with hungry patrons.

Revelstoke StreetFest @ Grizzly Plaza
A larger than normal crowd at the nightly Revelstoke Street Fest in Grizzly Plaza is another sign of a booming 2016 summer tourism season in Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer
Location: Grizzly Plaza on Mackenzie Avenue
6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Each summer the Revelstoke Arts Council hosts Street Fest. Nightly musical performances are held in Grizzly Plaza and locals and tourists alike enjoy the free entertainment featuring a wide-variety of talent including everything from amazing local acts to unique international performers. Check out the stories on August Street Fest performances in this issue!

Day 2

Riverside Forest Walk @ BC Interior Forestry Museum
The BC Interior Forestry Museum’s new Riverside Forest walk includes a 1.5 km loop along through Revelstoke forest. Photo: Tanya McMillan
Location: Highway 23 North, at the entrance to the Revelstoke Dam Visitor Centre.
Cost: Free
9 a.m.

It probably would have been a good idea to check opening times for the museum before I drove up there, but c’est la vie! The museum itself doesn’t open until 11 a.m., but the Riverside Forest Walk is open year round. I decide to explore the trail for a bit while pondering my next stop.

5 Mile Boat Launch
Paddlers take to Lake Revelstoke to practice rolls at the June 17 gathering. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer
Location: 5 Mile, Highway 23 North
Cost: Free
Time: 10 a.m.

From the Forestry Museum I head north up Highway 23 for a short drive before turning into the small parking area that makes up the 5 Mile Boat launch. I had planned to explore some the nearby trails in the area, but instead enjoy the views of Lake Revelstoke for only a few moments before I find myself soaking wet. The rain is back!

Explore South Revelstoke
Location: Airport Way (follow Victoria Road as it veers onto Fourth Street. Stay on the road, which turns into Airport Way. Go straight through the four-way stop at Airport Way and Nichol Road.)
Cost: Free
Time: 10:30 a.m.

This is also a popular route for cyclists, so if you enjoy biking now’s a great chance for a ride. I choose to drive and take in the views of the “flats” which are currently flooded and to the unaware look like a lake. The water is in fact from the Columbia River and is more formally know as the BC Hydro drawdown zone. Head all the way to the end of the road where it meets with Greenslide. During the summer there is often a small fruit/vegetable stand just off the road, which runs on an honour system. I grab a small basket of raspberries for $3 to enjoy.

Explore Revelstoke Mountain Resort Village
Racers stage at Revelstoke Mountain Resort before heading up to the Crowbar trail. Photos in this gallery by Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer
Location: Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Cost: Free
Time: 11:15 a.m.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort is now host to a number of super fun summer activities including: hiking trails, downhill mountain biking, gondola rides and even axe throwing! If your pocket book is a little tight a visit to the resort is still worthwhile. I had planned to explore some of the lower hiking trails, but instead decide to take it easy and wander through the village for a bit, and enjoy watching a few people give axe throwing their best effort.

Final Cost: $23.27 — and that’s just a sample of the many free Revy activities