the wandering chick

Revelstoke has two national parks to tout, plus a sweet downtown area with several great restaurants. As well, within hollering distance, it has these wonderful boardwalk trails that meander around either great hemlock trees or even greater giant cedar trees. Oh, and there's also a skunk cabbage nature trail that's more interesting than it sounds.

But those are the minor things. Glacier National Park and Revelstoke National Park both have superb hiking trails. In the winter, Revelstoke is a skier's paradise, and its ski-jump history is especially well-known, having the first ski-jump in North America. The sport was brought on mainly by early Scandinavians who settled in the area.

Not too far out of town in any of the four directions, one can find waterfalls, more hiking trails, the Revelstoke Dam, the "Houseboat Capital of Canada" in Sicamous and a small picnic and gift store area where the last railroad spike was put in the ground. It was the spike that linked the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

And there's so much more in the way of museums, hot springs, provincial parks and just plain 'ol in-the-mountains beauty.

city square
in the heart of the Kootenay Rockies
river and bridge
big eddy bridge
three bridges
grizzly statue
metal bridge
metal bridge
The happening place in the heart of Revelstoke's downtown seems to be Grizzly Plaza on MacKenzie Avenue. There would be a different band playing each night that I happened to be in town, and it's the location of the Saturday morning Farmer's Market.
Not sure why I was so captured by the Big Eddy Bridge. It really had no great significance or history, but I loved it just the same and had to walk it.
Revelstoke happens to be in a particularly high grizzly and black bear haibitat. I suppose that's why they chose the grizzly as the town mascot. Here is one of the town welcome statues.
town from mountaintop
aerial view of town
Gold, forestry and railroads all played a part in Revelstoke's rich history. So did A. S. Farwell, a surveyor who laid claim to the town, and for whom the town was originally named. Farwell, the town, was a typical wild west town, but the establishment of larger industries such as the railroad changed the course of the town...and its name. Lord Revelstoke funded much of the railroad industry. During this time, a division incurred between the business districts, creating Upper and Lower Town. Many of the old historical buildings in Lower Town (the original Farwell settlement) are gone, though the town is quite proud of its many residential historical homes. The courthouse (pictured above) remains at its original location. Revelstoke, in the 1980s, began a major restoration project on many of the old historical buildings that make up Upper Town which is the main business district today for the 7,000 people who very proudly call it home.
downtown shops
overview of city
city park
The Columbia River provides beauty and many boating activities in Revelstoke as it makes its journey to the Pacific Ocean.
city park
Revelstoke's Centennial Park down by the river side provides a pleasant easy stroll with great views of the Columbia.
fishing boat on lake
Williamson's Lake holds one of Revelstoke's many parks, hiking trails and campgrounds.
giant cedar grove
The Giant Cedar Grove east of Revelstoke is a marvelous spot to ramble along a boardwalk surrounded by some of the most majestic trees around. It doesn't take long and it's a huge part of Revelstoke's beautiful surroundings.
giant cedar grove
giant cedar grove
giant cedar grove
Williamson lake
skunk cabbage leaf
Giant cedar trees
skunk cabbage bloom
In the vicinity of Revelstoke is the Skunk Cabbage Nature Trail, a short boardwalk among an unusual wetland that produces skunk cabbage. Its leaves are huge, and the stalk that produces the flower is also quite unusual. Fortunately, I wasn't there at the time the flowers were blooming...there's a reason its name is associated with a skunk.
A swiftly flowing creek graces the entrance to the skunk cabbage trail.
hemlock grove
on Mt. Revelstoke
Another grove of trees easily reached from Revelstoke is the Hemlock Grove, pictured here and below.
marmot in bush
on Mt. Revelstoke
Mount Revelstoke National Park is a hiker's delight...and a delight even if you don't hike. The Meadows to the Sky Parkway is a scenic drive that curves and winds up, up, up to the summit where views of the surrounding mountain ranges are spectacular. Even in early July, patches of snow persist. The next several shots were taken from the hiking trails of Mount Revelstoke.
This creature appears to be looking straight into the camera, but I don't think he's up for smiling and saying "Cheese" ! Not sure what it is: perhaps a vole, found in the brush of the skunk cabbage.
hemlock grove
true summit of mt revelstoke
marmot on rock
the Columbia River
mt revelstoke
A marmot checks things out from an overhead boulder on the Meadows to the Sky Parkway.
spring flower
To get to the true summit of Mt. Revelstoke in the Revelstoke National Park, one must climb a short uphill trail. From there, views in all four directions are unparalleled. Below, the ever-present Columbia River snakes its way through the mountains.
balsam lake on mt revelstoke
Indian paintbrush closeup
Balsam Lake makes for a very easy stroll at the parking lot level of the Mt. Revelstoke summit.
marmot on rock
on Mt. Revelstoke
snow patches on revelstoke summit
orange flowers closeup
yellow glacier lily closeup
Glacier NP
Orange Hawkweed
Yellow glacier lily
Indian paintbrush
Loop Brook Trail
A nice hike in Glacier National Park is the Loop BrookTrail which winds for about a mile past the old stone pillars that supported the railroad tracks. It's partly old growth, but with nice views of the mountains. It's part of the Rogers Pass National Historic Site.
Loop Brook Trail
Loop Brook Trail
Loop Brook Trail
Loop Brook Trail
Leaving the Loop Brook Trail in Glacier NP near Revelstoke
daisies on the hillside
Highway 23 near Revelstoke is a north-south secondary highway. In each direction are memorable provincial parks worth anyone's time. The above photo was taken at Martha Creek Provincial Park on 23 north past the Revelstoke Dam. It has picnic areas, boat launches, hikes and a campground, all overlooking the Lake Revelstoke Reservoir.
Revelstoke Reservoir at Martha Creek
This sign was as tempting to my travel partner and me as a bright red lollipop would be to a six-year-old. We only went about 10 miles north on this Highway 23 past Martha Creek, turning around only because it started pouring down rain. However, we did see one grizzly cub up on a ledge, but for a very short time when he popped his head up to check out the traffic below. We waited around for him to surface, but he never did. Sigh
boat launch
pine trees
A close look at this photo reveals several different types of pine trees all neatly lined up at the Martha Creek Provincial Park.
wildlife warning sign
Blanket Creek Provincial Park waterfall
South on Highway 23 is Blanket Creek Provincial Park with its swiftly flowing Sutherland Falls. The groundcover here, a soft, green moss, is evident throughout the rainforest-type park. At another end of the park is a pond and picnic area and, beyond that, the Arrow Lake Reservoir.
mossy groundcover
swimming pond
golden railroad spike
Well, here we have it. The last spike. Just off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Revelstoke is the town Craigellachie. It was here that in 1885 the last spike was ceremoniously driven into the ground. It was here that a complete railway between the east coast and the west coast of Canada was joined. Of course, the golden spike we see here is only symbolic. The real one...actually it seems there were four of them...long story.
last spike monument
last spike monument

The words on the plaque at these grounds, I found very touching. It reads: "A nebulous dream was a reality: an iron ribbon crossed Canada from sea to sea. Often following the footsteps of early explorers, nearly 3000 miles of steel rail pushed across vast prairies, cleft lofty mountain passes, twisted through canyons and bridged a thousand streams. Here, on Nov. 7, 1885, a plain iron spike welded East to West."

How exciting also to me that just as I finished reading the plaque, I'd hear the whistle of an approaching train. I raced to the fence to get a picture of the deep red locomotive barreling through.

Malakwa suspension bridge
Malakwa suspension bridge
Malakwa suspension bridge
Malakwa suspension bridge
It's amazing what we might find when we cut off the main highway into the little "don't blink" towns that dot the sidelines. Such is the community of Malakwa where, hidden on a back, back road, is an old sign to this suspension bridge that crosses the Eagle River. What a find!
houseboats on lake
Sicamous, between Revelstoke and Salmon Arm, is considered the Houseboat Capital of Canada. We stood on the shore of the Sicamous public beach and park situated on the Shuswap Lake. It is a lively, popular spot for local beach-goers and boat enthusiasts alike. Pictured below, a pedestrian bridge joins the public beach with a private beach and travels over a canal that leads to a lagoon of private homes and boats.
beach on lake
lake community
pedestrian bridge over water
lake with boats
houseboat rental lot
A leading houseboat rental agency in Sicamous lines its rentals up at in inlet of the Shuswap Lake.
no ho
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Enderby, a small rural town, sits on the bank of the Shuswap River. It's known for the Enderby Cliffs (seen in the photo on the right) which are considered a challenge to serious hikers. Below, a sign on a fence near a park on the Shuswap confirms the area is rural.
no norses allowed sign on fence