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410km (255 miles) W of Calgary; 565km (351 miles) NE of Vancouver

Located on the Columbia River at the foot of Mount Revelstoke National Park, Revelstoke sits in a narrow fir-cloaked valley between the Selkirk and the Monashee mountains. It's a spectacular, big-as-all-outdoors setting, and unsurprisingly, Revelstoke makes the most of the outdoor-recreation opportunities on its doorstep. Winter is high season here, as the city is a major center for powder skiing and boarding, heli-skiing, and snowmobiling. Summer activities include rafting, hiking, and horseback riding.

The town was established in the 1880s, when the Canadian Pacific Railway pushed through. Much of the handsome downtown core was built then; most restaurants and hotels are housed in century-old buildings. Revelstoke is a charming and beautiful destination, and for years it's been surprisingly unheralded. But with the opening of a new destination ski resort just south of town, Revelstoke is suddenly poised for the big times.