Yoho National Park Things to Do Tips by madamx Top 5 Page for this destination
Yoho National Park Things to Do: 98 reviews and 180 photos
The Wapta Icefield from the Wapta Highline
This is a premier hike in Yoho National Park. The vistas are breathtaking, and when you look down on Emerald Lake, it shimmers like a jewel set into lush forest. Make sure to allow about 8 hours for this hike, to give you time to sit down and enjoy the jaw-dropping views. Expect glaciers popping in and out of view like a cast of characters. Do not attempt to do this hike unless you are at least moderately fit and used to walking long distances -- the total hike is about 23 km.
A bonus of this hike is that it will take you up onto the Wapta Highline. If that isn't reward enough, you actually go by the Burgess Shale, which is a World Heritage Site still being excavated and researched for it's world-class fossils. If you look carefully, you will see fossils on the trail.
There are steep switchbacks on the last part of the trail, and if you don't like coming down those, I suggest you walk along the Wapta Highline, then turn back, and go the way you came, not doing the whole loop.
Please e-mail me if you want specific directions
Address: Emerald Lake
Directions: Start off from the Emerald Lake Parking Lot, then head to the alluvial flats at the end of the lake, going up to Yoho Pass. Follow the signs for the Wapta Highline, going up to Burgess Pass, then down back to Emerald Lake.
Approaching Emerald Glacier
The Iceline Trail is a premier hiking trail that starts near Takkakaw Falls. If you can do one hike in this area, this is it. This hike I would classify as high moderate, so something not to attempt if you are only used to strolling around the block. The trail covers a 22 km loop, but most people are satisfied with hiking up to Emerald Glacier, and wandering around the moraines.
If you do make it here, the vistas are fabulous; you get to snuggle up close to a glacier, and you feel like you're in Mother Nature's living room. The seating under Emerald Glacier is naturally formed step-like sofas out of rock along glacial moraines, and your "tv" is watching mini avalanches coming off from the glacier. It's great fun to explore the moraines and discover little waterfalls here and there, coming off the melting glacier.
Directions: Take the Yoho Valley Road oand follow it in almost to Takkakaw falls. Park by the Whiskey Jack HI hostel (on the road, hikers are not allowed in their lot). Follow the access road past the hostel on foot, and the trailhead is clearly marked.
"Wapta" means in "running water" in Stony Indian, and these magnificent falls are a very nice diversion plus a great chance to stretch your legs if you are on a long road trip. The trail from the parking lot is about 50 min to walk or 2.5 km, and is quite easy.
Directions: Only accessible if you are east bound on the Trans Canada. Please refer to your handy dandy Yoho Parks map in your guide, which you unfailingly picked up at the park gate.
The Natural Bridge is located not too far from Emerald Lake. It was formed by the natural force of the Kicking Horse River for thousands of years on the limestone rock. This isn't a picture of Natural Bridge at it's best, as spring melt wasn't in full force yet, but can give you an idea of how forceful the water can be.
It's tempting to try and get a picture of onseself on the bridge, as I have found many tourists trying to attempt, but it's very dangerous to go past the fenced areas. The rock can be quite slippery due to water mist or spray, and a fall can be fatal here.
There is a small hiking trail around the area.
Directions: 3 km or 5 min. west of Field, BC; for the best idea of how to get there, refer to your Park map, that is in The Mountain Guide (obtained at the park gate)
This legendary beauty takes a little work to get to. I hesitated to put this tip on my page, but part of me is torn to share this wonderous place with others. Even though coming here takes some planning, just remember one day you will stand on a cliff overlooking Lake O'Hara and thank your God that places like this exist. The layer upon layer of breathtaking scenery, turquoise water, waterfalls, and A-list hiking make this destination a top life-time experience.
There is a huge bear population here, so don' t be surprised if some trails are closed off due to bear sightings. Other wildlife you might see are picas, marmots, and snowy-white mountain goats. The other not-so-pleasant wildlife are biting deer flies. If you don't hike, plan to spend up to 4 hours here; if you do hike, you may never want to go home.
Access to the Lake O'Hara region is closely regulated by the Park Service for many reasons, including keeping this area as pristine as possible and letting wildlife live with as little disturbance as possible. Only 42 day users are allowed per day, so it does take a little planning to get here. Please carefully read the website below for details on reserving for your trip here; access is only by the Parks bus system.
Directions: On the left side of the Trans Canada, about 10 minutes past Lake Louise, there is a parking lot for Lake O'Hara, it is well-signed. There will be a shelter-like "bus stop". Be 15-20 minutes early for loading.
Other Contact: see website for all details
One of the highest waterfalls in Canada, Takkakaw Falls is a highly-visited area, but very much worth the trip. You can visit late June to early October, and be forewarned that the road is very steep with lots of switchbacks.
Some very scenic hikes also start from Takkakaw Falls (more on the difficult side), but there is some foot paths that do go around and near the falls. I do recommend you bring hand sanitizer if you wish to use the facilities, as more often than not, the water for the sinks is not working.
Address: Yoho Valley Road
Directions: It's best to get a Parks Map when you enter at the gate to show you where it is exactly off the Trans Canada. The Yoho Valley Road turn-off is well-signed.
Today the lake is a smoky turquoise
Emerald Lake is the "jewel" of Yoho National Park. it's incredible green color is created by glacial rock flour, which positively glows in the right light. The lake can look pretty ordinary or blow you away, depending on what time of day you are there. Unfortunately, this lake is a huge tourist draw; the best time to come is in late May, when the ice is off the water, and the summer tourist crowds haven't come yet. September/October is a great time to visit as well.
There is a 5 km scenic, flat trail that goes right around the lake, and takes about an hour to hike at a fairly brisk walk. A fair part of the trail is wheelchair accessible. Many other more difficult hiking trails start off from Emerald Lake as well. On a hot summer day, the water just gets warm enough to take a quick dip.
The rustic upscale Emerald Lake Lodge is located along it's shores, and it is worth it to stop by and spend some time by the lake, then have lunch at the lodge and envy those people who get to stay and wake up to it's beauty on a daily basis.
Directions: Look to your right for the turn-off heading west on the Trans Canada Highway; Emerald Lake is about 20 minutes west of the Lake Louise turn-off.
More Reviews (10)
madamx's Related Pages
Yoho National Park Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Side Trip to Yo Ho National Park"
- "Yoho Ho Ho Ho"
- "THE BEST LITTLE NATIONAL PARK IN THE WEST"
- "The Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park."
- "Yoho National Park"
- "Yoho, a beautiful park in the Canadian Rockies"
- "Magnificently Awesome Yoho"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Yoho National Park
- Hotels in Yoho National Park
- Transportation in Yoho National Park
- Restaurants in Yoho National Park
- Shopping in Yoho National Park
- Warnings and Dangers in Yoho National Park
- See All...
Explore the World
- Wrexham Hotels
- Kananaskis Lakes Hotels
- Lough Caragh Hotels
- Motherwell Hotels
Badges & Stats in Yoho National Park
- 17 Reviews
- 22 Photos
- 3 Forum posts
- 11 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (21)
Have you been to Yoho National Park?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Yoho National Park
Photos in Yoho National ParkSee All Photos (22)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Calgary Intro, 79 reviews, 79 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Banff National Park Intro, 54 reviews, 77 photos, 3 travelogues
- New York City Intro, 56 reviews, 58 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Kananaskis Lakes Intro, 52 reviews, 52 photos
- San Francisco Intro, 54 reviews, 42 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Arizona Intro, 42 reviews, 46 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Mexico Intro, 35 reviews, 43 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Province of British Columbia Intro, 34 reviews, 37 photos
- Las Vegas Intro, 34 reviews, 37 photos
- Italy Intro, 31 reviews, 32 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (48)
Latest Yoho National Park hotel reviews
- Cathedral Mountain Lodge
- 244 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 8, 2013