If I had more time in Revelstoke then I would have loved to do some of the hikes on offer. Surrounded by national parks, provincial parks and protected areas, Revelstoke offers adventurers access to wilderness paradise. From flat forest walks to steep alpine routes, there’s a trail and a view for everyone in the area surrounding Revelstoke. Of notable mention is Eva Lake and Broken Bridge. These are just two of the many walks available. You can find more here https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/revelstoke/activ/randonee-hiking on the Parks Canada website. You’ll also find safety information (about bear sightings), trail conditions, as well as warnings and fire risk levels for the trails. The website also has an abundance of information on events happening around Mount Revelstoke, family fun, sports and other activities and ways to discover the history and archeology of this unique place.
WAPTA FALLS TO REVELSTOKE
(2 hours and 15 minutes drive)
After some incredible breakfast (and some equally incredible views), we had to leave the falls and Yoho National Park behind us and make an early start for Revelstoke. The drive to Revelstoke was beautiful as it led us through the ascending roads of Glacier National Park and eventually curving around the perimeter of Mount Revelstoke National Park. Picking Revelstoke was sort of a hat trick as we both hadn’t really heard about it. We just needed somewhere to stop to break up the drive from Yoho to Kelowna.
I’ve since found out that it’s name is very fitting for this town – revel, being related to taking great pleasure or delight, and stoke, pertaining to the act of stirring up or feeding the fire or being generally stoked. It literally means to soak up the good times and good vibes. This little town was buzzing with excitement. It had a bunch of cute vintage and niche shops and then there was this sweet shop where I could have spent all my savings on its ridiculous selection of lollies. They also sold heaps of colourful and delicious gelato flavours! (The one pictured below was candyfloss).
REVELSTOKE TO KELOWNA
(2 hours and 35 minutes drive)
The drive from Revelstoke to Kelowna was predominately along highways. You could definitely notice the change from Alberta to British Columbia. The roads were no longer lined with an array of colours from a burnt orange sunset palette. Rather they were lined with fences and grass and a whole lot of traffic works. We gained an extra hour that day by switching from Alberta to British Columbia… but I’d say that that hour was 100% lost to roadworks. Some of the roadworks advised you how long the delay was going to be. One such roadwork was around Mount Revelstoke where we were told the wait was going to be roughly 15 minutes. Sure enough those 15 minutes passed, the truck came around the mountain, passed us and we were waved on through by the road worker. Others were a little more ambigious and taught me the very important lesson of always using a toilet before long-ish car journeys.
We arrived in Kelowna for dusk and had just enough time up our sleeve to wander around the harbour, suss the area out and grab some bits for dinner at the supermarket before heading up to our sleep spot for the night.
So our camping spots were getting more and more ‘wild’ over the course of our trip and this was the first night where we decided to stay in a completely random spot near Kelowna. After picking up supplies from the store, we drove out of the main part of Kelowna, over the bridge and up into the hills. It was very dark and we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. There was one spot where you kind of had to drive up on part of the mountainside. It wouldn’t have been a problem for a car I don’t think … but the extra length on the van proved problematic … and my mind had flashbacks of those films where a vehicle goes zooming off the edge of the cliff and into the perilous doom of the waters below. We decided to turn back and park in a little layby on the side of the road. It didn’t seem overly busy and we were out of everyone’s way.
Using the risotto idea (and rice) from a few nights prior, we whipped together some salmon risotto. It followed the same rough method as the mushroom and pea risotto … but only half way through cooking our dinner did we realise that we were frying up what is most likely a bear’s favourite meal on a very dark mountainside. The con of cooking risotto on a roadtrip is that you are kinda forced into making it several nights if you want to avoid wasting food. It turns out Canada doesn't believe in such things as selling two serve risotto rice packets. The pro is that risotto is easy and really delicious. And also another major pro from that night is that we didn't get eaten by a bear. The sweet potato from a few nights prior must have mellowed the bear's appetite so he didn't need a two part human dessert.
We woke up with candy floss skies as the backdrop to what would soon become one of our favourite cities on our travels. The weather that we had in Kelowna was amazing. We were blessed with the bluest of skies, sunshine and all the good weekend vibes. And, although I did enjoy our time in Jasper and Banff, it was a welcomed change after the chilly nights and frosty mornings.
Kelowna is located along the beautiful shores of Okanagan Lake, in the heart of the stunning Okanagan Valley. The lake offers opportunities for boating, swimming or fishing, while nearby mountains attract hikers, skiers and outdoor enthusiasts. Your google search for Kelowna will most likely bring up a lot of winery tours. And it’s unsurprising seeing as though Kelowna’s climate is the perfect temperature for growing some of the world’s finest wine grapes.
My google searches make the Okanagan Valley look as though it is pure magic. It seduces you with its bright sunshine, abundance of beaches and sparkling blue waters of Lake Okanagan. Farmers Markets and roadside stands are filled with baskets overflowing with fruits and vegetables … and then there is the wine. The valley boasts nearly 200 wineries, each uniquely different and all with the same goal: to produce a wine that is reflective of the valley. We didn’t get the chance to test out these wineries … but we did drink A LOT of wine … and I also found this website that lists some of the more popular spots among local folk: https://classifieds.vancouversun.com/. Also, it’s nice to know that liquor stores only stock and sell wine from the surrounding regions! Yay for supporting the locals!
KELOWNA TO HOPE
(2 hours and 30 minutes drive)
Hope is a small town at the far east of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. Hope is well-known as the gateway to British Columbia's interior, and serves as the junction of four major highways. Outside of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and Whistler areas, going anywhere in British Columbia by road requires travelling through Hope (and that’s why we stopped here). I saw a little sign in this town that said that ‘the rest of British Columbia is "Beyond Hope". And another cute one that said that ‘there’s no place like Hope’. We didn’t really give Hope the chance it deserved but it was there was something special about its quietness and its beautiful little town charm.
Trying our luck for the second night in a row, we decided to stay somewhere completely random, and hope our results were just as rewarding as the morning’s sunrise. We drove outside the main part of the town (if you can call it that) and turned towards a road that looked kinda promising. We followed some bumpy roads and then some more before we found a spot nearby another camper. Even though there’s something special about having a slice of nature to yourselves for a night, it’s also nice knowing that you can enjoy this slice with some human safety net close by. Little did we know that our spot was actually just a stone’s throw away from Silver Lake. This beautiful lake is so peaceful and there was a handful of fisherman trying their luck and some keen kayakers treading on the surface of the water.
We set about packing our stuff, cleaning the camper, cooking dinner and attempting to set up a fire for our last night in our van. In the background we soon heard the roar of a chainsaw and I wish I hadn’t watched chainsaw massacre all those years ago. Luckily for us, we lived to see another day (though I can’t say the same for those poor trees), and we soon saw our camper neighbour walking towards us with a bunch of freshly cut logs. He said that we could chuck them on our own fire once it started to spark up a little heat. But that moment didn’t come … and so our camper neighbour soon returned with some fire starters that might help us. We strategically placed these in the fire in the hope they would turn our fire frown upside down. And it did. For a second or two... Our small fire win was soon drowned in ashes and we decided to quickly get in our camper and go to sleep before our neighbour came over and laughed at us. I think we had lost all those camper points we gained from finding this unreal spot. But, oh well, we left our fire troubles behind and fell asleep pretty fast with the sounds of the waterfall just across from us.
HOPE TO VANCOUVER
(1 hour and 30 minutes drive)
Staying in Hope made the drive back to Vancouver short and sweet. We woke up quite early and started our journey back to return the van. This also reduced our chances of any awkward encounters with our neighbour about our abysmal fire efforts the night before. Returning our campervan was just as easy as the pick-up and they were super understanding of the hiccups we had encountered with the sink and of the just less than full fuel tank. I was pleasantly surprised because rental companies would usually jump all over that and charge you extortionately.
Now for the part that I have been waiting all this time to talk about …VANCOUVER!
One thing that I found out about Vancouver is that it’s just about as sunny as London. I was shocked to discover that it in fact rains around 160-170 days of the year in Vancouver. And, unlike the dainty and sprinkle-like rain in England, this rain was absolutely chucking it down for the two days we were there. Honestly, I thought we were going to get swept up in a river of rain and washed away at one point during our second day. I’ll try to not let our experience of being drowned rats taint the following recommendations of what to do in Vancouver.
So, weather aside, I have created an ideal one day itinerary for you.