Day 7: A guide to cycling across Canada.
Vernon to Revelstoke

Today you will leave behind the sunny confines of the Okanagan Valley, biking first through the Shushwap Valley along the shores of Mara Lake towards Sicamous. Here you will turn right to head east towards Alberta.

The next two days of cycling to Golden are lengthy. I have scheduled these long days with overnight stops in towns offering grocery stores and supplies. Expect to be on your bike for up to eight hours a day. Start your day early and take short breaks at regular intervals.

The first town you will visit after leaving your campsite is Armstrong. If you are hungry and have some spare time, consider touring the Village Cheese Company, a cheese factory based on the estate winery concept.

Continue through Enderby, a small town on the banks of the Shushwap River, with the Enderby cliffs towering overhead. Check out the tidy downtown with many shops and services reminiscent of earlier days.

Rocky rugged shorelines with sandy beaches starkly contrast the dark blue water of Shushwap Lake. The lake consists of four arms that form a shape similar to the letter H. Salmon Arm is to the southwest, Anstey Arm to the northeast, Seymour Arm to the north and the main lake to the west. Throngs of tourists flock to this area in the summertime to cruise the lake in giant houseboats.

Sicamous, population 3 192, is known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. Stock up on supplies here before leaving as there are scant services between Sicamous and Revelstoke. Camping and groceries are available in Sicamous.

Expect to notice a distinct change in both landscape and temperature after leaving Sicamous. HWY 1 cuts through the sweeping views of large mountains covered in coniferous trees and often snow. Listen for waterfalls in this area; you will often hear them prior to seeing them.

HWY 1 will be your trail from here until Regina. Generally, traffic flows briskly down a double-lane highway next to large paved shoulders, which are ideal for bike tourists. With a few exceptions, you will not suffer through many long climbs. Engineers have designed the highway with large freight-hauling trucks in mind, thus grades are usually mellow.

Take a break at the Last Spike. Soak up the park surrounding the spot where the last spike was driven into the ground to signal the completion of the cross-continental Canadian Pacific Railway on November 7, 1885. The completion of this railroad linked the east and west coast and was a major factor in British Columbia’s decision to join the Canadian Confederation. There is a small gift shop with washrooms here.

Kay Falls is one of the more stunning waterfalls on the entire route across the continent. Stop and enjoy its splendor for a moment before pushing onto Revelstoke.

Revelstoke is a small mountain town on the shores of the Columbia River. The townsite is located just north of where the Illecillewaet empties into the Columbia and a short distance to nearby Mt. Revelstoke National Park. Locals appreciate the area for its natural beauty and opportunity for an array of outdoor pursuits including hiking, cycling and rafting in the summer. In the winter, expect locals head to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, famous for the mass amount of powder snow that falls here in the winter. If you want to sound like a local, refer to the town as Revy.

The 2 000 kilometre Columbia River originates around Columbia Lake and the adjoining Columbia Wetlands just south of Invermere. It flows north through Golden before taking a hard left turn to begin heading south around the Selkirk Mountains. The river flows through Revelstoke, then into Washington where it heads towards the Pacific Ocean to form the border between Washington and Oregon. The Columbia River descends an average 40.9 centimetres per kilometre, which is why the river has been so thoroughly exploited for hydro-electricity production.

Lamplighter Campground is a quiet campground located near both the HWY 1 and historic downtown Revelstoke. Flat grassy lots as well as laundry and free wireless internet make the Lamplighter a sound choice. Cross the Columbia River into downtown to purchase supplies for the evening. Revelstoke’s bike shop, Flowt Bikes and Skis is located downtown. If you need a roof over your head check out Revelstoke’s SameSun Hostel.

Kilometre Log
0.0Leave Swan Lake Campground on Old Kamloops Road heading north.
2.8Old Kamloops Road runs into HWY 97.
4.3Turn left onto HWY 97A and head north.
17.1Exit to Armstrong.
37.0Exit to HWY 97B. Continue heading north on HWY 97A.
50.3Whispering Pines Campground.
53.3Mara Lake Provincial Park. No camping available.
68.5HWY 97 dead-ends into HWY 1. Turn right on HWY 1.
80.6Road splits to double lane with large shoulder.
81.6Sicamous KOA Campground.
82.8Cedars Campground.
83.4Cross over Eagle River.
87.3Malakwa. Small gas station on highway.
90.3Craigellachie & The Last Spike.
91.2Eagle River Campground.
92.2Small gas station.
111.2Crazy Creek Resort.
111.9Kay Falls.
122.1Three Valley Gap Hotel on Three Valley Lake.
135.8Smokey Bear Campground.
139.5Descend towards Revelstoke and the Columbia River Valley. Turn right onto HWY 23.
139.8Turn left onto Nixon Road.
140.1Lamplighter Campground.

View Larger Map