The Best Water Activities in Revelstoke, BC

Revelstoke’s stunning natural diversity makes it a great place for white-water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and more. Here are the best places to enjoy water activities in Revelstoke.

It’s Revelstoke’s tranquil lakes, fierce rapids and endless inspiring scenery that makes the area such a unique place to enjoy water activities. You can charge down savage white-water one day and then float along the glass-like veneer of a mountain-fed lake the next.
So if you love being on the water, check out some of the best places to visit in Revelstoke:

Columbia River

This enormous river spans from Canada to the USA, offering plenty of opportunities for thrilling rafting.
The Columbia River is one of North America’s largest rivers by volume and it has been traversed by many intrepid adventurers since it was mapped out by Lewis and Clark in the 1700s. It begins in the British Columbia Rockies and eventually flows south to Washington State and Oregon before reading the Pacific Ocean.
The stretch of the Columbia River near Revelstoke offers excellent rafting, canoeing and kayaking. Some of the famous rapids include “Big Eddy” (a whirlpool on a sharp river bend just above downtown Revelstoke) and the Steamboat Rapids (located about four kilometres below Revelstoke Dam). The river also offers some areas ideal for relaxed and scenic floats.
Keep an eye out for wildlife, as you are likely to spot deer, beavers, herons and other local creatures that live along the banks of the river.

  • The Columbia River is located just outside of Revelstoke
  • There are a variety of rafting options depending on the class of rapids you desire
  • This river is great for beginners, as it offers plenty of calm spots


Illecillewaet River

This historic river thrills with some truly epic white-water adventures.
The Illecillewaet River was formed by a glacier of the same name and was used by Albert Rogers, a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway, to discover Rogers Pass as a route through the Selkirk Mountains. Its name comes from a First Nations word that means “fast-flowing stream.” Over the years, the Illecillewaet has had a major influence on the history and development of the Revelstoke area.
These days, this beautiful icy-cold glacier-fed river is a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing and rafting. The white water here is rated at an intermediate class (around level II to III) and there are long tranquil stretches between each rapid, which gives you a chance to appreciate the spectacular natural surroundings.
You can take an organised rafting trip with one of the local companies or plan your own independent adventure.

  • This river is located in the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District and it cuts directly through Revelstoke
  • Difficulty level: Easy/moderate
  • Rafting class II to III


Lake Revelstoke

Lake Revelstoke is an artificial lake located north of the town of Revelstoke. It was actually the reservoir formed by the Revelstoke Dam and is located between the towering peaks of the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains.
Canoeing or kayaking on the 130km long Lake Revelstoke is a stunning scenic experience. The water is normally quite calm. In some areas, the shoreline is non-existent and the mountains plunge right into the lake. All around you are snow-capped glaciers and deep-green forests of fir trees.
While paddling around the lake you may discover a gorgeous waterfall, private beaches and shoreline water that is just warm enough for wading. Take a picnic with you and find a secluded spot in the wilderness to enjoy it.

  • The water in Lake Revelstoke is glacier run-off, making the water very, very cold
  • Wear a personal floatation device in case you do fall in, as even strong swimmers struggle to move effectively in the freezing water
  • The put-in is at Carnes, approximately 40km out of Revelstoke on Highway 23 North


Jordan River

The Jordan River is a popular run for local kayaking and rafting enthusiasts in the Revelstoke area, and it is also the home of the annual Jordan Creek Race. The river offers an interesting blend of boulder rapids, short drops and classic slides. It consists of six drops, until you finally reach the bridge over the river located on the Boulder Mountain road.
The best time of year to enjoy this river is between late July and September, as the water levels get too high during the snow melt in the spring. The length of the route is 3.75km, which will take about a couple of hours. This makes it perfect for a fragmented day of rafting or multiple runs.

  • This river is located only 10 minutes from downtown Revelstoke. Head toward the dump and turn right onto the Jordan River FSR
  • Rapids class III and IV


Arrow Lakes

A long and narrow body of water surrounded by wetlands, trails and mountains, Arrow Lakes features a lot to see and do.
The Arrow Lakes are made Upper Arrow Lake and Lower Arrow Lake, which are located between the Selkirk Mountains in the east and the Monashee Mountains in the west. They were created when the Hugh Keenleyside Dam was constructed.
These waters are very popular in the summer months for boating, as well as camping, swimming, fishing and bird watching. The mountainsides around the lake are heavily forested and they rise sharply in elevation, creating a beautiful and dramatic surrounding for a peaceful canoeing experience.

  • There is up to 220km of paddling in either direction on the lakes
  • Access to Upper Arrow Lake is via the city streets in Revelstoke, or from the Begbie Falls Trail
  • The lakes run from Revelstoke to Castlegar, approximately 230km
  • Be aware that when the reservoir is not at maximum level, rocks, stumps and debris can lie right below the surface. Boaters are advised to watch out for this especially in late summer, fall and winter



We have incredible Revelstoke accommodations located in Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the surrounding backcountry. Call our highly knowledgeable Destination Experts who can answer any questions you may have about water activities in Revelstoke, or our fabulous selection of vacation rentals. They’re available 7 days a week!