Some people dream of stumbling upon an enchanted forest similar to the way in which every Disney princess seems to do so in all the best movies. It's a rarity in real life to find a place that evokes such strong feelings of mystery and intrigue, and even rarer that a person can feel as though they've found a place that could be magical in its own right. This is true for most places except for a forest in Revelstoke, British Columbia.
Appropriately named the Enchanted Forest, this 40-acre wonderland was created by two creative souls who have truly devoted their lives to the art they so lovingly believe in. And, now, it has become one of the most well-known attractions in the area and across the region, with visitors coming from all over to experience its intrinsic artwork.
A Little About The Enchanted Forest In BC
Although the official Enchanted Forest park didn't open to the public until 1960, Doris Needham had been creating its artwork long before that. During the 1950s, Doris began shaping and molding unique fairy tale figures by hand and, eventually, her collection grew so large that she and her husband, Ernest, needed a place to put them all. These enchanting figurines found their place on what was then a remote piece of forested land. As the years went on, the couple had filled roughly eight acres with the magical hand-made figure before finally purchasing 40 acres of the land, marking the first steps toward what would become the Enchanted Forest.
Trails were cut through the acreage by hand, allowing people to walk between various figures and magical scenes. Ernest constructed what's known as the Candy Cane house in which he and Doris lived, and created a gravity water system - which is still in use today - with the waterfall across the highway. Walls went up surrounding the property and soon, it started to look far more like a fairy tale than just your average forest. By 1960, the park was opened with only the original buildings, a giant mushroom, and a modest shack.
Two years later, tourists were catching wind of this charming woodside attraction, and Earnest worked hard to build more stone walls and attractions, which would include the castle, the completed Candy Cane house, and the nature trail. By 1970, the park had seen upwards of one million visitors, some traversing the park's magical trails by lantern light. While the Needhams have since sold the park, it continues to be owned and operated as a family business to this day.
What Visitors Should Know When Touring The Enchanted Forest
Touring the park in full means seeing three of its key features: the Enchanted Forest main trail, Wildlands Interpretive Nature Walk, and a row across the Enchanted Forest pond. Walking the main trail through the park will take visitors past a total of 350 figurines, the tallest treehouse in British Columbia, the Giant Stump House, and Dungeons and Dragons.
- Time to Complete: 30 minutes
Touring the Wildlands Interpretive Nature Walk means traversing a 1.2-mile trail through this dense forest, appreciating the beauty of the fir, cedar, white spruce, hemlock, and cottonwood trees that surround hikers. This forest is also home to an 800-year-old cedar grove. Deer, moose, and, occasionally, caribou sightings sometimes pass through the area, and from the bridge, salmon and trout can often be seen. The tour is self-guided and hikers can collect a diploma at the Gift Shop for completing the entire loop.
- Time to Complete: An hour or less
Touring the woodlands via water is possible on the pond, located not far from the main trail of the Enchanted Forest. This is a great, casual way to enjoy the area's tranquility and appreciate its beauty and wildlife. Rowboats fit up to four people and lifejackets are provided; there are four rowboats that can be rented, so be sure to call ahead or get there early to ensure one.
- Time to Complete: Varies based on the speed of rowers, and how long one wishes to spend on the water.
Admission & Rates
All of these activities are included in the price of admission to the Enchanted Forest, and it's worth doing them all. The park is also home to various events throughout the year, and visitors can find their upcoming events via the park website. For those in the Revelstoke area of British Columbia, the Enchanted Forest is a must-visit for adults and children alike.
* Starting on May 7th, the park is open seven days a week.
- Hours of Operation: May 7th through June 25th, 9 AM - 5 PM / June 26th through September 6th, 9 AM - 7 PM / September 7th - TBD, 9 AM - 5 PM
- Admission: Adults (16+) $14, Senior (65+) $12, Children (3-5) $9, Infants (up to 2 years of age) free
- Address: 7060 Trans Canada Hwy V0E 2S0, Revelstoke, BC, Canada