Revelstoke, Craigellachie, & Salmon Arm

Closing in on our evening destination, we made one final stop at the Giant Cedars Boardwalk in Mt. Revelstoke NP, another grove of old-growth trees. Only 16 miles from the Hemlock Grove in Glacier NP, this was my favorite of the two. The path was slightly longer and colossal clumps of devil’s club lent a prehistoric feel to the area. The boardwalk was sparsely populated making it easy to linger. Since Zach and I were both wearing varying shades of tan and green, we were mistaken as park rangers by one woman, giving us a good chuckle.

Giant western red cedars
I really loved the devil’s club

We had two more hours until we reached our campground and gaining an hour didn’t help that much. We briefly toyed with the idea of driving up Meadows in the Sky Parkway since the forecast for the rest of our time in Revelstoke promised rain, but by the time we arrived in town we were tired and ready to relax. We arrived at our campground just before the office closed, and thankfully, the weather was great as we set up for the next two days. I chose Lamplighter Campground, a locally-owned campground within walking distance of downtown, because I thought staying in town would be more convenient since we planned to hike in Mt. Revelstoke NP. It reminded Zach of the campgrounds he and his family used on their vacations across the US when he was growing up. The tent sites were spacious, and I was grateful to have access to a hot shower, but the railroad ran closer than I realized, which made it difficult for me to sleep soundly. At times, I woke up thinking the train was about to run right through the tent!

After we set up – we put our tent under the only tree cover anticipating the coming rain – and made dinner, we went for an evening stroll. The campground sits on the opposite side of the Columbia River, so we walked across the bridge and took in what ended up being our only clear views.

Mt. Mackenzie (!) & Mt. Cartier
Mt. Begbie

As expected, it was raining when we woke up. We had already scrapped plans for a full day hike, but held out hope for a break in the rain in the afternoon. Awake earlier than usual due to the time zone change, we were the first diners of the day at Main Street Cafe. We each had eggs benedict (Zach STILL speaks reverently of his salmon benny) and lingered over our coffees.

Our morning diversion was the Revelstoke Railway Museum. We spent a couple of hours touring the museum, which focused primarily on the construction of the transcontinental railroad and Revelstoke’s long history as a railroad town. The museum had a nice flow with a series of informative displays detailing the difficulties and triumphs in building a transcontinental railroad through the Rockies, and then we were led into an immense hall with a Canadian Pacific lounge car (that you could enter!) and a pusher engine. It was a great museum, and we may have missed out had the weather been nicer.

Inside a lounge car
A Mikado 5468

Following the museum, we decided to visit a few shops downtown. We found ourselves on Mackenzie Avenue (!), the heart of Revelstoke’s downtown district. We whiled away some time at the local bookstore, each leaving with a book in hand, stopped in a local wares shop, and scoped out restaurants and breweries for later in the evening.

The rain continued to fall and the valley remained enveloped in white. Zach suggested driving up Meadows in the Sky Parkway anyway, as a free activity, so we left town to ascend into the clouds. Even though we had poor visibility, the drive itself was nice with more and more wildflowers lining the road the higher we went. The summit was closed, but we got out and walked around Balsam Lake in a steady drizzle. On our way down, we considered doing a short hike (Inspiration Woods) but I wasn’t too keen on it. Instead, we decided to follow the Trans-Canada west toward drier weather – we hoped – and Craigellachie, the site of Canada’s Last Spike.

By the time we reached Craigellachie, the rain had stopped though it still remained overcast. The historic site was much easier to access than the Golden Spike Historic Site in Utah, and the tracks were still in use. While we were there a Rocky Mountaineer passenger train rolled by and we stood on the platform and waved; we must be in lots of vacation photos! Also at Craigellachie, Zach realized we were only 30 minutes from a winery in Salmon Arm. With no other plan, we set off in that direction.

The Last Spike location is spray painted gold

The weather had cleared up considerably, and we enjoyed the drive along Shuswap Lake. When we arrived at Marionette Winery, just outside Salmon Arm, it was warm and sunny – yay! We did a tasting and bought a bottle, so we could enjoy a glass on the patio. It was the perfect change of scenery and weather.

Spirits lifted, we drove back to Revelstoke in search of dinner and decided to try Mt. Begbie Brewery. The brewery sits above the city and must have a nice view on a clear day. We had beers and dinner, then ventured back into town for the summer street fest on Grizzly Plaza. The rain finally let up and the sky was clearing into a beautiful evening. We wandered around in search of a night cap and discovered Monashee Spirits, a local small-batch distillery. Their bar looked warm and inviting, so we set up on their comfy sofa with cocktails to round out the day.

Mt. Begbie Brewing
Live music at Grizzly Plaza
Ending the day at Monashee

In the morning, we awoke to more rain. We grumpily packed up our site and went into town for coffee and breakfast at Dose, a friendly (and very hip) coffee shop. We hung out for a while, giving ourselves time to regroup and plot out the next few days. Hopefully our next trip to Revelstoke will involve more sun!

4 replies »

  1. Your campground story made me laugh because we had a similar experience at a Gallup, New Mexico, campground once. It was so close to Interstate 40 (and no trees of any kind, if I remember correctly – nothing to act as a sound barrier) that I though 18-wheelers were going to come crashing into our tent all night long.
    That town looks adorable, by the way!

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