Mount Revelstoke National Park

Summit of Mount Revelstoke Trails

Paintbrush and mountain arnica flowers Meadows in the Sky Parkway
© Parks Canada - Karen Best

Upper Summit Trail
Balsam Lake Trail
Eagle Knoll Trail
Heather Lake Trail
First Footsteps Trail
Firetower Trail
Koo Koo Sint Trail

Mount Revelstoke's summit area, easily accessible by automobile, gives visitors a special opportunity to explore an alpine area. Without stopping at the numerous viewpoints along the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, the drive to summit takes about 30 minutes.

Parking is provided a short distance below the summit, at Balsam Lake. Large recreational vehicles are asked to park in the first parking lot near the cabin, just before the lake. To protect the fragile flower meadows at the summit, the road between Balsam and Heather Lakes is closed to most traffic. A shuttle bus is provided at peak times to provide an easy lift between the lakes. Alternatively, you can walk up the road or hike the Upper Summit Trail.

Upper Summit Trail

Upper Summit Trail
© Parks Canada - Jeff Bolingbroke
Length: 951 m
Hiking time: 30 minutes (uphill)
Elevation change: 1835 to 1926 m (91m)
Trailheads:
Lower:
Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 24.6; Balsam Lake parking lot (lower shuttle bus stop)
Upper: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 25.5; Heather Lake (upper shuttle bus stop)
Map Coordinates: 118°8'56"W 51°2'29"N (trailhead)

This continuation of the Summit Trail is a pleasant walk through the upper subalpine forest between Balsam and Heather lakes.

To return from Heather Lake to Balsam Lake, you have the option of taking the shuttle bus if it is running or walking down the connector road. If the flowers are at their peak, you'll see some of the best displays along the road. If the skies are clear, you will be able to see Mount Begbie and other Monashee Mountains on the western horizon and the Selkirk Mountains to the east.


Balsam Lake Trail (around the lake)

Balsam Lake
© Parks Canada - Karen Best
Length: 500 m (loop)
Hiking time: 10 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1835 to 1843 m (8m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 24.6; Balsam Lake picnic site
Map Coordinates: 118°8'56"W 51°2'29"N (trailhead)

Balsam Lake offers a pleasant stroll completely around a tiny alpine lake. At one time there was a campground at one end. With growing visitation to the summit, the campground was removed to protect the fragile high-elevation environment.


Eagle Knoll Trail

Eagle Lake
© Parks Canada - Karen Best
Length: 1 km (loop)
Hiking time: 30 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1835 to 1862 m (27m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 24.6; Balsam Lake picnic site
Map Coordinates:
118°8'56"W 51°2'29"N (trailhead)

This litle trail takes you from the busy parking lot on a short stroll up to a forested knoll overlooking the Columbia Valley.

From the parking lot, follow the trail beside the picnic shelter at the far end of the lake. Along the shore, trail signs point the way to Eagle Knoll. For a bit more exploring, continue past this point to the next junction and a sign indicating the upper end of the Lindmark Trail. If you follow this dirt trail for about 10 minutes, you will discover a tiny gem known locally as 'Eagle Lake' nestled in the ridges. Return by the same route to the parking lot.

Heather Lake Trail

Heather Lake with bench and wildflower meadow in foreground and mountain in background Heather Lake
© Parks Canada - Karen Best
Length: 400 m (loop)
Hiking time: 10 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1914 to 1924 m (10m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 25.5; Heather Lake (upper shuttle bus stop)
Map Coordinates:
118°8'34"W 51°2'48"N (trailhead)

For a short stroll, you can walk right around this little lake - just follow well-used paths closest to the shoreline.

At least three species of mountain heather grow in this area. They are easily separated by their distinctive colous: red, white and light yellow. Mountain heathers are part of a high-elevation parade of colour we celebrate each year at the summit. The show starts with yellow glacier lilies in July and culminates in an August kaleidoscope of white valerian, yellow arnica, purple lupine, pink mountain daisies and paintbrush in many shades of red.

First Footsteps Trail

First Footsteps Trail First Footsteps Trail
© Parks Canada - Rob Buchanan
Length: 750 m (loop)
Hiking time: 30 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1920 to 1944 m (24m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 25.5; Heather Lake (upper shuttle bus stop)
Map Coordinates: 118°8'34"W 51°2'48"N (trailhead)

This short loop walk explores the subalpine meadows and provides several lookouts. First Footsteps presents the traditions of the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Okanagan First Nations through sculpture and artwork. The people of these three nations have lived in the columbia Mountains for thousands of years. This mountain-top sculpture walk presents their stories in their own words.

The trail passes the "Icebox" - a large cleft in the rock containing snow year-round.

First Footsteps can be easily linked with the nearby Koo Koo Sint trail for 60 minutes of reasonably easy mountain-top hiking.

Firetower Trail

Mount Revelstoke firetower trail with pond and wildflowers Firetower Trail
© Parks Canada - Karen Best
Length: 350 m (return)
Hiking time: 30 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1922 to 1933 m (11m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 25.5; Heather Lake (upper shuttle bus stop)
Map Coordinates:
118°8'34"W 51°2'48"N (trailhead)

The goal for this hike is the historic fire lookout you can see on the summit. Built in 1927 and in operation until 1988, it is now designated as a Federal Heritage Building.

Although the building is no longer used, it is surrounded by a viewing platform that provides outstanding views of the mountains. When the fire lookout was in operation, the tower person would look for forest fires from the upper story of the building. They also would hike to several natural lookouts in the summit area to make observations.

The trail winds steeply up the slope between the parking lot and the tower. For an easier grade, keep to the bottom trail (straught ahead) until you reach a more gentle slope up the back of the fire tower knoll.

Koo Koo Sint Trail


Koo Koo Sint Trail
© Parks Canada - Rob Buchanan
Length: 1 km (loop)
Hiking time: 30 minutes (round trip)
Elevation change: 1906 to 1934 m (28m)
Trailhead: Meadows in the Sky Parkway km 25.5; Heather Lake (upper shuttle bus stop)
Map Coordinates: 118°8'34"W 51°2'48"N (trailhead)

This trail celebrates the explorer David Thompson. During his explorations in the early 1800s, Thompson charted tens of thousands of square kilometres of western North America for the North West Company. The Aboriginal people of the mountains knew him as "Koo Koo Sint" - 'the man who looks at the stars.' Throughout his explorations, Thompson made frequent observations of the stars with a sextant, an instrument that allowed him to determie his precise location.

Thompson was the first European Canadian to travel the entire Columbia River from its source to its outlet at present-day Astoria, Oregon, USA. The stretch of the Columbia visible from the Koo Koo sint trail was the last reach of the river canoed by Thompson and his team in 1811. Watch for the signs on the trail presenting the epic story of Thompson's explorations.

Download the Koo Koo Sint trail guide (PDF, 400 KB)


To the top
Top of Page

Download the 'Hiking in Mount Revelstoke National Park' brochure (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Download the 'Welcome to Mount Revelstoke National Park and the Meadows in the Sky Parkway' brochure and map (PDF, 225 KB)


Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.

If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.

If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.