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A place of awe and wonder. These are the western slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Towering rockwalls, spectacular waterfalls and soaring peaks earn the park its name; Yoho is a Cree expression of awe and wonder. Here in the shadow of the Great Divide are the secrets of ancient ocean life, the power of ice and water, and the stories of plants and animals that continue to evolve today. Yoho, named for a Cree word expressing awe, is a park of rock walls, waterfalls and glacial lakes. It's a park with snow-topped mountain peaks, roaring rivers and silent forests. It's a park whose history is bound up with a railroad: spiral tunnels inside mountains and stories of runaway trains. Established in 1886, the park currently spans 1,310 square kilometres (507 square miles) on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, and borders Banff National Park to the east and Kootenay National Park to the south.

Takakkaw Falls is a powerful and amazing waterfall to see in Yoho National Park. I visited in August 2017.

A winding and narrow paved road leads from the Trans Canada Highway cutting through the park to the waterfall which is located at the very end of the road. The drive was incredibly scenic as the road passed through beautiful lush forests with mountains all around and openings in the trees providing amazing views of the landscape. There was a series of intimidating-looking switchbacks up a steep mountainside along the road which were somewhat difficult to maneuver even with a small car (a 2-3 point turn is required), but a fun challenge. I even saw remnants of a recent avalanche along the road with huge piles of snow and broken trees.

It took roughly 30 minutes to arrive at the Takakkaw Falls parking lot along the Yoho Valley Road from where it stemmed off from Highway #1. The parking lot was small mostly full and I was lucky to find a spot in the afternoon. I could see and hear this powerful and spectacular waterfall and couldn’t wait to get closer!

From the parking lot, there was a short and well-trafficked paved path which crossed a bridge over a rushing river and wound through the trees with great views of the falls along the way before arriving at the base of Takakkaw Falls (it took about 10 minutes to get there). The waterfalls got louder and louder as I got closer and they were so powerful that I could feel the mist long before I even reached the base. The mountainous scenery surrounding the waterfall was so gorgeous and there were lots of places along the pathway to take photos of the views and the waterfall. The water plummeted at high speeds off the edge of a tall vertical cliff and into the river below. It was super windy, cold and wet standing at the base that I could only stand there for a few minutes before turning back as my camera was getting soaked. The sound of the falls was like thunder and it was incredible to experience and admire the waterfall while being SO CLOSE to and literally right in front of this breathtaking natural beauty! There were lots of large boulders off the main trail on a slope beside the falls that you could climb to get even closer, but I chose not to. The trail to the waterfall was quite crowded during my visit but not too overwhelmingly busy that it detracted from my experience, but if you arrived early in the morning you would probably be able to enjoy this place in peace.

Takakkaw Falls were a very impressive and stunning tall waterfall to see and there were plenty of great viewpoints of the falls for some amazing photos. This waterfall is definitely a must-experience when in Yoho! There are some picnic tables and washrooms near the parking lot of the falls as well. Make sure to wear a rain jacket because you will get wet at the base of the waterfall.

Emerald Lake is a spectacular and serene turquoise glacial lake in Yoho National Park surrounded by mountains. It is so picturesque. I visited in August 2017.

The drive from the Trans Canada Highway along the narrow but newly paved road to Emerald Lake was absolutely gorgeous as it cut through the dense forest. From Field, it took around 15 minutes to arrive at the parking lot and I was one of the first people to arrive there at 8 am. The lake was visible from the parking lot and a wooden bridge crossed a portion of it leading to the Emerald Lake Lodge and a restaurant called Cilantro on an island.

Emerald Lake was so breathtaking and the colour of the water was an incredible and vibrant turquoise colour. The lake was surrounded by snow-peaked mountains on all sides and it was quite an inspiring landscape.

Upon arriving to the lake, I did the easy 5.2 km walk around the entire shoreline of the lake going in clockwise direction. The hike started off along a paved trail through the beautiful forest with many openings through the trees along the way to provide stunning views of the lake and mountains. The beginning of the trail passed through an avalanche path along the slope of the mountain which was filled with lush grasses and colourful flowers but no trees and was interesting to see.

The trail continued along the lakeshore with wooden benches positioned perfectly along the way providing lovely views of the peaceful lake through the openings in the trees. I was the only person walking this trail at 8 in the morning and the atmosphere was so serene and pleasant with only the calming sound of a loon on the lake. The pathway turned from pavement to gravel and reached the far end of the lake where there was an open area with incredible views of the mountains and lake from a different perspective. It then looped back around on the opposite side.

The second half of the hike passed through much different terrain than the first half of a largely pine tree forest, which made it really interesting. The vegetation was lush and almost tropical as mosses and other unique jungle-type plants thrived on this shaded portion of the walk, due to this side of the lake being protected by the shadow of the towering mountains much of the time and seeing lots of rain. I enjoyed reading the interpretive signs along the entire path from start to finish which explained more about the history and vegetation around the lake. There were fewer openings with views of the lake along this half of the trail and it mostly passed through the dense forest along a narrower and slightly less maintained path. As I got closer to the end of the hike though, there were some stunning views in openings through the trees. The early morning reflections of the pine trees and snow-capped mountains on the pristine and glass-like waters of Emerald Lake were absolutely amazing and so pretty.

Close to the end of the trail just before it met back up with the Emerald Lake Lodge, it passed through a gorgeous meadow area along the lake with colourful flowers and then returned to the beginning of the loop. Walking this trail and being in the presence of such awe-inspiring natural beauty was such a great experience. The trail provides plenty of spectacular views of the turquoise-coloured lake and mountains from all angles and is completely flat the entire way making it great for accessible for almost everyone. Even if you don’t do the hike, you can still find beautiful views of the lake from the road that crosses over to the lodge and restaurant. There are so many wonderful photo opportunities at Emerald Lake and it’s a gorgeous place to relax and explore for a half-day. It took me just over 2 hours to complete the 5.2 km walk at a relaxed pace and making many stops along the way to take photos.

Emerald Lake is much less crowded and quieter than other glacial lakes in the Rockies like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and is just as beautiful, making it a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for a more peaceful atmosphere with less of a touristy feel. If you are in the Yoho National Park area, I highly recommend making a trip to this lake. It’s also definitely worth arriving here early in the morning to experience the tranquility of the lake and area.

cross country skiing
21 days ago

We spent the last 2 days at the Elizabeth Parker Hut. The ski in is not track set and we had about 15cm of snow in the past 2 days. The road in has been skier set and with the number of users the track can be challenging.

It took about 5 hours in from the parking lot to the hut a total of 12 km. We skied with 5 families and lots of kids. It was an amazing experience. If you are heading to the huts then you should head out early and enjoy the time on the trail rather than rush. There was so many views and pictures to be had along the way.

This is an extremely easy hike that allows you an extremely beautiful view of impressive falls. There is very little incline, and not far to go before you are confronted with the roar of the falls. Once at the main viewing point, you can step around the chain link fence to get a spectacular shot, albeit a wet one, as the spray is hitting you. I’m not sure if this is discouraged or not, but you can continue down the slippery slope to the bottom, which gives you a different perspective. I’m pretty sure there are further trails, and it appears even a small trail on the adjacent island that I’m sure offer a fantastic view. I just have no clue how to get over to it, apart from wading through the river. I’d definitely recommend seeing this, especially considering the ease of getting to the falls, and the relatively low amount of people competing for views. Perhaps this changes during peak season.

25 days ago

Terrific landscape, absolutely amazing! We were pretty much alone there, since it was on Boxing Day. Can’t wait to go again on summer for a different perspective.

1 month ago

Completed the trail just yesterday. During winter the road is closed so you have to hike 2km to the tail ahead along the road, which isn’t all that enjoyable. The trail is also pretty easy and unexciting, but it’s all worth it once you get to the falls. They were absolutely gorgeous and partially frozen. Bring micro spikes to help get close to the falls and feel the spray and power of the water. Also, because it was winter we were the only people there which really added to the experience and beauty of the area.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail that was quite well maintained. Used micro spikes for the most part and glad we brought our snowshoes to complete the final 500-700m as there was a good foot of snow.

We only hiked up to the falls as a last hike before we left the area for a couple of days, but the trail was short and medium-easy to the falls. Snow was packed most of the way and ice cleats were helpful on the way down. The falls were mostly frozen which made it a light trickle, but it was pretty nonetheless. We saw no one else on the trail despite many people getting off buses to take pictures of the lake.

Beautiful hike and very easy. It was snowing for much of our hike, but the trail was already well packed. There is very little elevation change so it was easy to bring our younger niece with us. The lake was mostly frozen, but the far end (from the trailhead and resort) was unfrozen and there were opportunities to see the reflection of the mountains and forest off the water. We also saw moose in the avalanche chute at the start of the trail along the lake (but made sure to stand there for too long).

The view of the natural amphitheater at the end was well worth the steepness of the trail and the snow. We went up without snowshoes, but luckily some snowshoers had gone ahead of us and packed down some of the trail. The footprints ended at the start of the amphitheater, maybe 200m from the end of the trail, but the view was already incredible so it was no loss. The snow was knee deep for the last half kilometer or so. The trail had few others on it, even on the parts along the lake (although there are many sightseers coming off buses at the trailhead parking lot).

2 months ago

This trail is absolutely stunning. A must do if you can pop over to Yoho.

2 months ago

Lots of snow but beautiful views!

Beautiful lake. Calm, isolated feel. Not a lot to see along the way.

Amazing. We saw it in the snow. It was a winter wonderland in September.

2 months ago

Well worth the time. When you get to the falls and start to go down, the easier path goes straight while a steep and slick path goes to the left. I wish the huge pile of dirt didn't block the views from the bottom.

Hiked the road last weekend, about 1/2ft snow the first km, then goes down to almost nothing and then 3/4ft snow the last two km coming up to the lake. Spent the weekend at Elizabeth Parker Hut and much more snow from the lake to the hut- but so worth it!

Easy, beautiful hike with tons of wild flowers in the Summer!!

We did these never ending switchbacks the day after snow (enough for snowshoes at about 6k ft+) and with low hanging clouds around the lake. The beginning was an amazing hike through the dense forest with a handful of various animal tracks. We had lunch on the ridge line with the nicest viewpoint we found. We would have liked a clear submit or more view points. A lot of work for not a lot of views, but we did love being alone on the trail which has been hard to find in the Banff area.

Nice easy hike with great views. The vegetation is quite different from one side of the lake to other.

3 months ago

Really beautiful views - not hard at all, easy way to spend ~2 hours in the morning. There’s also an ice cream shop at the beginning. So that’s a plus.

3 months ago

You can’t do much if you just drive there, next time I go I’d want to approach via Yoho

Hiking on that road is really boring, especially if you have to do the 22 km in and out in one day. There is no view on that road, and it is a road not a pretty trail. It is best to reserve a bus "months in advance" and hike other trails around the lake. Those other trails are breath taking! A amazing view from all the other trails.
In the winter, you can x-country ski the road. It is track set and easy enough and at least, it is way faster on the way down!!!

Nice that this trail had very little snow, except for approx 50 metres from the upper lookout.

After the lower lookout, it seems as though this trail has not been maintained for some time. There were a lot of trees down across the trail.

Overall, awesome hiking conditions for this time of year.

Did the 10km hike from emerald lake through the snow, it was not easy but well worth it .

Great hike

3 months ago

Even on an overcast day the trail afforded very nice views, especially from the southern bend of Emerald Lake. I extended the hike over Yoho Pass (nothing special) and continued to Yoho Lake (isolated and very pretty) before turning back. Unless you really enjoy a long uphill in increasingly deep snow the work/view tradeoff for heading out to Yoho Lake probably isn't worth the effort at this point in the season.

3 months ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The trail is rated as easy and that is accurate. There are a few muddy spots so hiking boots are recommended. I'm 62 and had no trouble with the hike. But be aware that I didn't complete the entire loop. I found a beautiful spot for photography on the east bank and I stopped after getting the picture I wanted.
This a trail that requires some patience. I started at the lodge and the trail is a bit difficult to find. Also, the lodge area is madhouse with tour buses dumping off 50-60 people at a time and there must have been 200+ milling around. Quickly leave the lodge area by walking east and you'll come to the trail.

The photography is frustrating at first because the trail doesn't run adjacent to the lake but is up the ridge and the view is obstructed by trees. But after a mile or so the trail is right beside the lake and you'll notice small herd paths that give you outstanding views of the lake. If you are there in late summer or early fall the sun will be to your left so you won't be shooting into it. If you can try to go early in the morning since the winds my be calm and you can get some outstanding reflections in the lake.

3 months ago

Hiked today the trail was icy in spots after the early snows. The trail was muddy in other spots, but passable. There are numerous spots to take pictures of the scenery.

3 months ago

Super easy walk to a spectacular view. Could see it being really busy on a nice day

Went on a rainy day with snow at upper elevation. Only saw a couple of other people during the hike. Trail was a little difficult to follow at the top elevation due to snow, but overall an amazing hike. We loved it.

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