Cycling Canada’s Mt. Revelstoke
25.4 km to 1853m gaining 1359m at 5.4% average grade
This gorgeous climb begins on Summit Road at the outskirts of Revelstoke, BC just off Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy). This is the #2 climb in Canada and is situated generally in the center of the top Canadian climbs which are predominantly located in the southern portion of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, at the confluence of the Illecillewaet and Columbia Rivers at the north end of the Arrow Lakes.
Ken Read (CAN Olympic Team 1976, 1980; 5 World Cup wins), Canmore, Alberta, Canada, writes of this climb: “One we need to give more profile to is Mt. Revelstoke - it is, without question, the best climb in Canada. Freshly paved, minimal traffic, easy to access and cyclists are encouraged ….”
Ken Read on Canadian Corner, Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen, Switzerland - 1980
Photo - skiracing.com
The climb begins just downhill from the entrance to Revelstoke National Park and finishes 25 kilometers/15 miles up the mountain at the end of the paved footpath leading to a trailhead and information kiosk.
Continue to finish 1.3 km on footpath
The final .6 miles is on a paved footpath that is closed to motor vehicle traffic and gains 251’ at 8.2% average grade. The entrance to Revelstoke National Park is at kilometer 1.3 / mile .9. As with all Canadian National Parks, there is an entrance fee for all – even cyclists (day use of $7.80 as of July, 2016).
The roadway is bordered by tall trees (red cedar at the lower elevations and spruce and fir higher up the mountain). The ground cover is lush with many ferns at lower levels and a plethora of wildflowers the entire climb.
There are three main viewpoints just off the roadway: at 5.5 km and approximately 10 and 12 kilometers which give us spectacular views of the Revelstoke area, the Columbia River and the Columbia Mountain Range:
From one of the 3 viewpoints on the climb.
“Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks of Canada together represent the Columbia Mountains Natural Region within Canada's system of national parks. The Columbia Mountain ranges (Purcells, Selkirks, Caribou, Monashees) form the first tall mountain barrier east of the Coast Mountains. They are geologically and climatically distinct from the Canadian Rockies, found east of Glacier National Park. Mount Revelstoke National Park lies entirely within the Selkirk Range of the Columbia Mountains.” See, Parks Canada.
Along the lower segment of the climb there are a few randomly placed elevation and KM markers. This is a bike-friendly park with many cycle-advisory images painted on the roadway surface. There is also a sign at the park entrance requesting that cyclist ride single file.
Roadway surface and traffic: The roadway surface is exceptional and there is minimal and slow moving traffic the entire climb – this is a very safe ride.
60 km on that thing!
Bren - the Belgium Wildman!
Weather – it can be cold at the top, even in the summer, so come prepared for temperature drops of 10 or more celsius (15-20 degrees) from the bottom to the top. Always bring something warm for the descent from the higher level when climbing significant mountains such as this one. On July 2, 2016 there was snow along the side of the roadway beginning at about km 24.
Final note: Beware of bears on the descent. A cycle-friendly ranger said he almost hit a bear as he was descending at about 60 kph when it ran directly into his path while running out of the woods and across the road.