The Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail is right by the main road from Revelstoke to Banff. It would be easy to drive straight past (we did the first two times!) But if you stop to stretch your legs, you get to visit an amazing grove of giant old-growth cedar trees. The surrounding mountains draw in precipitation to this area, so the rainforest is like the soggy woodlands near Vancouver or Vancouver island. It is basically paradise for western red cedar trees, and somehow it survived the logging from the last 150 years. That means you can walk in a grove of 500+ year old trees. My lovely sister in law, Cerys loooves cool trees, so this was high on our list of fun things to do near Revelstoke.
Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail Map
Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail – the basics
Elevation gain: 29m
Time: less than half an hour
What to bring:
Your National Park Pass! Or, you can buy one at the gate in the summertime.
You don’t really need anything for the walk apart from a camera.
There is a car park, and a pit toilet.
Open: Normally from June – September. 8am-4pm
We went in April, and it was closed, but we could park just outside and walk in.
Dogs are welcome if you keep them on a lead.
How hard is it?
Having said that, there are steps, so it wouldn’t be good for wheelchairs or buggies.
Can you visit the Giant cedars in winter or spring?
The Giant Cedars Boardwalk is part of Mount Revelstoke National Park. The gate is closed until June, and the car park was too full of snow for anyone to visit officially. However, there was plenty of space to park just outside the gate, so we left our car there and peeked inside. There were quite a few other footprints, so other people must also have visited in the springtime.
You cannot tell from the road (or even from the car park) that there are amazing trees hidden on this mountain. It looks the same as the rest of the surrounding forest. However once you follow footprints to the start of the trail, you’ll be greeted with massive trees. We only intended to have a quick look, but those giant cedar trees lured us in further.
How to spot Western Red Cedar trees:
Western Red Cedars are British Columbia’s official tree. Their trunks are like jeans from the 70s; They flare out at the base. The bark has long ridges and is grey or reddish-brown. If you peel back the bark a teeny bit, it will be a brighter reddish-brown underneath. The leaves are spread out on the twigs in flat, fan-like swooshes. They also have a lovely smell.
The Giant Cedars Boardwalk trail did have some large Doulas Fir trees as well. Those have bumpy-wrinkled bark and most of their leaves are up high (their shape reminds me of a a giant toilet brush) so it is pretty easy to tell the difference.
Once you have found the trail, you can’t get lost. There are steps the whole way up to stop people from trampling on the vegetation. When we visited in April, the path was covered in deep snow in the middle, but the edges had melted away, so we could hike up in a long line. The walk goes right up to some of the trees, so you don’t need to veer off the trail to see them.
There aren’t many things that can make my super-tall brother, George look teeny. It turns out giant cedar trees can!
The entire walk is only 300 m long, so in no time at all, you’ll find yourself descending down the steps back to the car park.
This is a pretty speedy stop on the road from Revelstoke to Banff. If you’re driving past, would you stop off to visit these giants?
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