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Mount Revelstoke National Park is located in southeastern British Columbia adjacent to the city of Revelstoke. It is Canada's eighth national park, and was established in 1914. The park is made up of 260 km2 of mountains, glaciers, alpine lakes, tundra, and deep valleys. The park protects a representative sample of the Columbia Mountains Natural Region. Mount Revelstoke is located in the Montane Cordillera Ecozone.
Map of Mount Revelstoke National Park
© Parks Canada
Moist Pacific air releases a large amount of precipitation over the Columbias. Heavy snowfalls, combined with steep terrain, render the park an active avalanche zone. January sees the greatest amounts of snow (150 - 200 mm) while July is both the warmest and driest month. There is only a loose seasonality associated with the precipitation, making it quite possible to experience rain in the winter and snow in the summer. Maximum average temperatures for January and July are -4ºC and 27ºC respectively.
The Columbias are massive steep-walled mountains with deep, narrow valleys. Water and ice continue to carve the ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks. A number of fault lines run through the park and there are extensive alpine glaciers. The avalanches that occur in these mountains can be both awe-inspiring and frightening. The mountain that the park is named after rises 1 938 m above sea level.
Four distinct vegetation zones occur in the park. From the valley bottom up to about 1 300 m, an interior rain forest of western red cedar and western hemlock towers over a dense undergrowth of devil's club, alder, and bracken fern. Above 1 300 m, the two main tree species are subalpine firs and Engelmann spruce. Near 1 900 m, the forest thins. Here, the snow lingers for 9 months of the year or more. A subalpine parkland dominates, with meadows of grasses and wildflowers among stands of trees. Closer to the summits, the trees disappear altogether. Patches of tundra cling among the rock and permanent ice and snow.
Mount Revelstoke National Park is famous for its large mammals, notably black bears and grizzlies, mountain caribou, mountain goats, and mule deer. Other mammals include hoary marmots, picas, the Columbia ground squirrel, and an exceptional variety of bats. Bird species include Steller's jays, ravens, four types of chickadees and a number of neotropical migrants like red-eyed vireos. Unlike the park's mammals, however, few bird species are year-round residents of the park. The area's bird life includes some 235 species, but only about 30 remain in the park throughout the year. The mountain environment is not particularly favourable for reptiles and amphibians, with only three species of reptiles and four amphibians known to exist in the area. Park waters contain several species of sport fish, including brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout.
Mount Revelstoke National Park offers 65 km of hiking trails, 7 km of cross-country ski trails, and many picnic areas and lookouts. There is no camping in this park, but neighbouring communities provide various accommodations. Visitors can partake in a unique experience during the summer, they can take a 26 km road from the city of Revelstoke to the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Visitors can also enjoy cycling, other scenic drives, fishing, ski-touring and snowshoeing. Wildlife viewing is also popular, but visitors are asked not to feed or approach any of the park's wildlife. Mountain climbing is excellent. Climbers, skiers, mountaineers and backpackers may register out at the Parks Canada office in Revelstoke; but must then also register their return. Registration is voluntary but recommended for hazardous activities.
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