Yoho national park is most famous for being home to the brilliant Emerald Lake, its striking colour and easy accessibility make it a top stop on your standard tourist routes. For me the brilliance of this park lies within the towering peaks of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Sheer cliffs, towering waterfalls, alpine lakes and over 400kms of trails to choose from!
The Natural Bridge
As we headed for Emerald Lake we had to make a quick stop to check out the Natural Bridge. Just a short walk from the car park you’ll be greeted with this incredible natural wonder and about 1000 other tourists that are jumping over barriers and scrambling over slippery rocks to get that perfect photo… I was actually quite concerned someone was going to topple into the thundering waters of river but thankfully no one did! As always masses of tourists have a way of detracting from how wonderful a place but I still managed to see through them and appreciate the spectacle of this natural rock formation that spans accross flow of Kicking Horse river.
Emerald Lake Trail (5.2 km loop – easy)
As today was a travel day from Revelstoke to Lake Louise (approx 3 hours drive), this easy lakeshore trail was perfect for us. It’s flat nearly the whole way round and if you’re like us the biggest hurdle you’ll face is sloshing through some mud. This trail is beautiful and gives incredible views of the lake and the Rocky Mountains that surround it! There are a few no stop avalanche zones so we rushed through these sections, thankfully no sign of avalanches on the day we visited!
Standing at a whopping 302m Takkakaw Falls is definitely worth your time! It was also super convenient because it was the starting point for the hike we’d chosen for the day. Fed by the melting ice of Daly Glacier this waterfall is truly spectacular. We visited the falls at about 6 in the morning so we had them almost to ourselves which was delightful!
Iceline trail (approx 17 km return + 710m elevationa gain – difficult)
There are two options when setting out for the Iceline – return via Little Yoho or return via Celeste Lake. We did neither of these, following the advice of the lovely lady who helped us at the visitor information centre we did “the best bit twice”. Basically we hiked up and along the iceline and then returned the way we came, this gave us more time to soak in the spectacular mountain scenery rather than returning below the treeline where its difficult to see much other than forest. We did get a bit confused about where exactly we should turn back but in the end we went about 5oom past the Celeste Lake turnoff before we turned around for the return hike.
This trail is insane! Initially it was super tough as we climbed an extremely steep trail through the forest before popping out above the treeline. Trust me when I say its worth every second of the burning you feel in your legs! Once we were above the treeline the trail continued on in a fairly steep manner but not quite as bad as before! And the views in every directions were absolutely spectacular, Takkakaw falls are visible in the distance, the glacier that feeds it is also visible along with spectacular snow capped mountains in every direction! Eventually the trail reaches its high point and then it continues along passing the foot of glaciers, subalpine lakes and we even got a bit of snow to add the the whole experience!
Stay tuned for the next installment – Hiking Banff National Park