I have driven past the entrance to Mount Revelstoke National Park without stopping at least a dozen times. When I finally made the park my destination I was sorry I hadn’t stopped sooner. The park is known for its exceptional summer wildflower displays and there is some excellent hiking – as we found out on the Eva Lake hike. I had planned for a visit in early August specifically to try and catch the wildflowers. They peak from early to mid-August.
It’s a long drive up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway, but that means access to the alpine is that much faster for hikers. If you’re a cyclist looking for a good leg burn and a fun, fast downhill, this road would be well worth the effort.
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Eva Lake hike summary
Distance: 14.2 km (8.8 mi) return
Elevation gain: 465 metres (1,526 feet)
Time needed: Allow 5 – 7 hours to do the Eva Lake hike. I wouldn’t say its a good choice for young families but those with active kids 10 – 12 years of age or older, should be able to handle it.
Type of hike: Out and back though there is the option for backcountry camping at Eva Lake.
Best time to do the Eva Lake hike: Mid-July through till October. If you go to early in the season, you risk running into a lot of snow.
Dogs: No longer allowed though they were when I did the hike to Eva Lake.
Animals: Mount Revelstoke National Park is home to black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, and wolves. Be sure to make noise when you hike and always carry easy to access bear spray. I’d suggest you put it in a bear spray holsterso you don’t inadvertently set it off.
Don’t forget: Pack the 10 hiking essentials. Let someone know where you’re going and as always, pack out what you pack in including orange peels and apple cores
Swimming: It is possible to swim in Eva Lake but it will be a refreshing experience.
How to get to the Eva Lake Trailhead
Access to the beautiful, turquoise-coloured Eva Lake is via a trail at the top of the 26-kilometre-long Meadows in the Sky Parkway.
From Revelstoke, drive approximately 5.6 km to reach the turnoff to the Meadows in the Sky Parkway. The 26-km-long road switchbacks over 10 times as it climbs up the side of a mountain, gaining 1,600 m (5,249 ft).
Pop out at a parking lot by Balsam Lake, in a beautiful landscape of sub-alpine tundra. From there you have the option of hopping on a shuttle beginning at 10 AM, but it’s an easy one kilometre walk to the actual Eva Lake Trailhead via the Upper Summit Trail.
Eva Lake trail hike description
The straightforward Eva Lake trail changes character as you hike it. Initially, it takes you through forest broken by beautiful meadows filled with wildflowers. There are intermittent views of the Columbia River, thousands of feet below.
After you pass though the last of the meadows, you enter a world of rock and boulders, home to marmots and pikas. At the 5.4 km mark, look for the first trail intersection to Miller and Jade Lakes. Many people will want to make the short detour to Miller Lake.
Stunning Eva Lake is seriously take-your-breath away beautiful. It may not be a big lake but the views around it are lovely. There are some views, if you do the loop hike around Eva Lake, where you can survey the mountainous landscape of Mount Revelstoke National Park.
To return to the trailhead, simply retrace your steps to the parking lot at Balsam Lake. All told it will probably take you 5 – 7 hours return.
Option to hike to Miller and Jade Lakes
You have the option of doing a short (0.4 km) one way side trip to Miller Lake from the Eva Lake Trail. If you do that without going to Eva Lake it will be 11.6 km return with 405 m of elevation gain. But if you continue on the trail to Eva Lake, you’ll arrive in roughly 15 minutes.
To get to Jade Lake, it’s 18.8 km (11.7 mi) return from the trailhead with 714 m (2,342 feet) of elevation gain. You’d have to be in great shape to do the Eva Lake – Jade Lake hiking combination in one day. Summer with lots of daylight would be the best time to do it.
Backcountry camping at Eva Lake
As the Eva Lake trail is only 6 – 7 km one way with a moderate elevation gain, Eva Lake would be a great destination for first-time backpackers. Plus, it’s beautiful.
There are only four backcountry campsites available at Eva Lake. Two can be reserved and two are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices are $12.75 per person per night (2023 prices). Campfires are not permitted. There is bear-proof storage and an outhouse.
The campsites can be reserved from July 28 – September 17, 2023. You can reserve Eva Lakes backcountry campground online at reservation.pc.gc.ca or by telephone at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783) but launch dates won’t be known until later in January.
Map of the hiking trails in Mount Revelstoke National Park