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Mount McCrae Trail. Ben Wilkey Collection.

Introduction

Revelstoke is changing. With the arrival of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR), Revelstoke is now on the international map. The once unknown ‘industry town’ is giving way to a new Revelstoke. A well known ‘resort town’. Born and raised in Revelstoke, I have seen many changes over the years, but not so many as I have seen in the last five. As residents of Revelstoke, we have a tremendous opportunity to shape Revelstoke’s future. We also have a great responsibility to do the right thing in preserving our wild beyond the city limits of Revelstoke. For many years I was of the mindset that it was better not to share Revelstoke’s secrets. I now know that nothing stays a secret forever. We cannot build fences around our lives. People will eventually see why Revelstoke is such a special place. It is far better to give the right people the tools to see why Revelstoke is so special for themselves, then redirect that wonder into preserving it, not exploiting it.

Revelstoke’s mountains are unique in many ways. Though the Monashee mountains to west, and the Selkirk mountains to the east, both rival the Rocky Mountains in splendour, they are also very different. Getting into the mountains around Revelstoke is rugged. Overgrown access roads, devils club filled approach bushwhacks and massive elevation gain are only a few of the reasons why hiking around Revelstoke is so difficult. We also have a very small window of opportunity to actually get out into the snow-free alpine environment. With the exception of only a few hikes, it generally takes a great deal of motivation, planning and effort for even the simplest adventure in our mountains. But that is exactly what puts us into a realm all of our own. If you go for a hike in the Revelstoke area, I can almost guarantee you that you will not see another soul.

I am certainly not ‘the’ expert when it comes to trails and hiking around Revelstoke. I have over the years however, had many great adventures in the mountains surrounding Revelstoke. These adventures have come as a result of working as a forest firefighter and then later a helicopter pilot out of Revelstoke for over 15 years. Each day at work, whether it was seeing the various new areas on the ground or in the air, gave me the motivation to check out the next new ‘zone’ during my time away from work. This website is intended to get the people of Revelstoke, both new and long time residents, outside and explore it for themselves. With more Revelstokians on our trails, comes more awareness and perhaps an opportunity to make our trail system stronger while preserving our very own adventure playground.

With the addition of RMR, Revelstoke has seen a huge ‘evolution’ in local backcountry skiing in recent years. The same with mountain biking and cross country skiing. There has been a incredible amount of outside funding put into mountain bike and cross country ski trail infrastructure in recent years. The difference between these outdoor pursuits and hiking in Revelstoke is leadership, organization and club membership. I hope that this website will help to create a resurgence in hiking around Revelstoke in addition to theses other outdoor interests. The hiking trails that are already in existence in our area, are for the most part, being lost. With a lack of funding from the provincial government, our trails are not being maintained and neither are the backcountry roads that are used to access them. I have seen this first hand in the last ten years or so. Trails that were once once accessible with a two wheel drive car are no longer accessible with a four wheel drive truck. It is now up to us to do our part to ensure Revelstoke’s future generations have the opportunity to explore these mountains on foot.

Perhaps this website will be a catalyst for getting those Revelstokians who think that these trails are important to band together and preserve them. Whether this is in the form of a Trail Society…who knows, but we have to start somewhere.

If you are interested in getting involved to help make this a reality please email me with your address. I have just recently started a list of people that are willing to sit down and brainstorm ideas on how we can organize ourselves to look at solutions to preserve and maintain our trails. This may include expanding the existing trail network as well.

About the Area

Revelstoke is truly an ‘adventure’ hikers paradise. You will not see hoards of tourists pulling up to the trailheads in tour buses, or the invasion of weekend hikers from the city. In fact, with the exception of the Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park trails you are not likely to encounter anyone at all on your adventure. Hiking in Revelstoke takes motivation. Overgrown access roads, tedious bushwhacks and long valley bottom approaches are common. The rewards however, are great. One could spend a lifetime exploring the mountains surrounding Revelstoke on foot. This is in part due to the vastness of the Monashee Mountains to the West and the Selkirk Mountains to the East. This is also in part due to a relatively short hiking season in the Columbia Mountains. A deep annual snowpack usually persists through the beginning of July when the alpine starts to open up. Although snowstorms can be expected at any time of year in the mountains surrounding Revelstoke, the snow does not usually start to accumulate in the alpine again until October. That gives roughly three months of snow free alpine hiking.

Using the Website

I have tried to layout this website in such a manner that it is easy to navigate and find exactly the trail you are looking for.

Leaving Revelstoke you have a choice of one of six roads that lead to the trails. East or West along Highway 1, North along the Westside Road or Highway 23, and South along Airport Way Road or Highway 23. I have also included separate sections for our adjoining National Parks, namely Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.Finally I have included our nearby Provincial Parks.

As mentioned, Revelstoke has only a three to four month snow-free alpine hiking window. From each starting point, I have further categorized the trails into low and high elevation trails. From here the high elevation trails are broken down into three categories.

The first being ‘Established Trails’. These trails have for the most part been around for a long time and unless they have not been maintained, require very little if any bushwhacking. The second being ‘Bushwhack Approach Routes’. These are descriptions for routes that do not have established trails but with some bushwhacking, provide access to amazing alpine hiking areas. The third being ‘Aline Traverse Routes’. These routes again do not have established trails, but provide multi day hiking adventures in the alpine. In general, these Alpine Traverse Routes link up high ground between the the various Established Trails and Bushwhack Approach Routes.

By including descriptions for ‘routes’ in addition to the ‘established’ trails, I am ultimately hoping that some interest is created to turn these bushwhacks into actual trails as well.

When it comes to the actual trail or route descriptions, I have tried to make them descriptive yet simple to read. I have left out specific ‘turn by turn’ access and route descriptions to allow for some sense of adventure. That being said, for those of you that are completely unfamiliar with the area, I have attached Garmin Basecamp PDF Maps to give you a visual representation.  I have also added Google Earth KMZ files that can be accessed on the ‘Trails’ page. Just use the widget to scroll through the files and download the one you want. Once you have downloaded the file you can open it in Google Earth. This will give you a complete birds eye of the trail.

Once you have decided on a trail check out the Planning Resources Section to assemble other important information like weather, Snowpack levels, Search and Rescue Contacts etc.

Last but not least, I have left open comment boxes at the bottom of each of the trail description pages. My hope is that people who actually use this site for planning will go out on their own adventure and then come back and leave either their updates on the status of the trail or perhaps share a quick account of their adventure. The more people that contribute to this site the more accurate, updated and better it will become.

Thanks, and happy trails.

Ben Wilkey

Revelstoke B.C.

“One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am -a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of youselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and…ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the parks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their ears in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”

-Edward Paul Abbey 1927-1989

20 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hey Ben, great site. This undertaking is going to be as BIG as the Rockies themselves! But it gives you a wonderful excuse to get out into the mountains to research the trails. This website would make a beautiful book……just a thought. Well done brother.

  2. Great initiative!…glad to have stumbled across your page. Have you tried the itrail apps? You just log on from your phone at the start of the trail and the GPS maps it out for you?

  3. Thanks for the great site! We used it when we were visiting for a few weeks this summer and loved the ‘gems’ like Mt McRae. Keep it up, we will be back and look forward to planning our future hikes!

  4. Hi Ben, though we are not locals this is our 4th trip down in the space of a year from Fort St John ( about 12 hours drive)! We really value your website and the chance it has given us to explore the less known gems. We spend a lot of time in the Tumbler Ridge area which is about an hour away from our home and though it has a very small population it has some of the best developed trails and trailhead we’ve seen, all done by a volunteer group called the wolverine mountain Nordic society. They have a website that might be worth checking out if you are looking for ways to organize etc… We would love to be updated on your happenings and plans. If there are events that fit with our time down here then it might be a way we can get involved and give back to this area that we love so much.

    Thanks again,
    Kate, Dan, Hannah, and Emma

    1. Kate, Dan, Hannah, and Emma,
      Thanks for the note. I will for sure check out the Tumbler Ridge volunteer group website. If you send your email address to me (see contact section) I will include it on my Trail Society email list.

  5. Hi Ben!
    I’m in town until Friday (I’m from Ontario) and I was hoping to do a hike/trail run tomorrow afternoon. Do you have and recommendations? Are the trails closed this time of year?

    1. Caroline,
      Trails in the mountains will be snow covered but there are still some in the valley bottom that would be good. Try the 2km, 5 km, or inspiration woods in Mount Revelstoke National Park. The lower Cartier Trail to the lookout would be good or perhaps a run up the new RMR trail from the village to the midstation. Hope that helps.

    1. Many thanks to Denis Fafard and his son for clearing the deadfalls on the Begbie summit trail earlier this summer. Lots of hard work there. Thank you!

  6. Hi Ben, what a great resource you have created. Thank you very much. Your site is my go-to for any trail information. Nicoline

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