The Ultimate Guide to Yoho National Park in Canada

21 min

Kicking Horse River Yoho National Park


Every thing you must learn about Yoho Nationwide Park in Canada – the most effective mountain climbing trails, the place to remain and suggestions from an professional!

Kicking Horse River Yoho National Park

Kicking Horse River in Yoho Nationwide Park.

Yoho Nationwide Park: Banff’s Much less Well-known Neighbour

“Have you ever heard of Banff Nationwide Park?”

“Sure, in fact! I liked it/am determined to go there”

“Nicely, have you ever heard of its neighbour, Yoho Nationwide Park?”


The dialog just about all the time goes the identical manner. Eeeeverybody has heard of Banff National Park within the Canadian Rocky Mountains, however it nonetheless surprises me that no more individuals have heard of the park immediately subsequent door, Yoho Nationwide Park.

Many Canadians I’ve requested about it have by no means heard of it and even individuals which were to Banff Nationwide Park have by no means heard of it!

It utterly baffles me why one park is so well-known whereas the opposite is nearly unknown.

Emerald Lake in Yoho Nationwide Park rivals the great thing about Banff’s Lake Louise. Identical to Banff, Yoho boasts beautiful mountain surroundings, an image excellent alpine village, raging rivers, a great deal of wildlife, and vivid blue lakes.

Moreover, Yoho Nationwide Park is residence to the second highest waterfall in Canada – Takakkaw Falls, a world famend fossil website – the Burgess Shale, and the Lake O’Hara Alpine space, which lots of people say is essentially the most stunning spot within the Rocky Mountains.

So why? Why aren’t individuals flocking to Yoho like they’re to Banff?

I actually don’t know the reply to this query. It’s one in every of life’s nice mysteries.

I imply, Banff is known for a purpose – it’s jaw-droppingly stunning, however I believe that Yoho affords simply as a lot to the customer as Banff and also you get the added bonus of not having to battle by means of crowds to get pleasure from it.

And for somebody like me that doesn’t like crowds, this can be a win-win.

The place Is Yoho Nationwide Park In Canada?

Positioned on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Yoho Nationwide Park encapsulates the entire Rocky Mountain expertise inside its nearly 319,000 acres of land.

Positioned solely within the province of British Columbia, the park borders Banff Nationwide Park and the province of Alberta alongside the continental divide.

In the course of the park is the small city of Subject, residence to a vibrant and close-knit neighborhood of 200.

That is the one settlement in Yoho Nationwide Park and though there are a few locations to eat, a publish workplace and a fuel station, there isn’t a lot else.

The Yoho Nationwide Park Guests Centre is situated simply off the freeway as you flip off for Subject.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to reside in Subject for six weeks throughout late summer time/early autumn 2015 and ever since leaving, I’ve been plotting my return.

Not that you can blame me. Yoho is a Cree expression of awe, and that claims all of it actually.

Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park

The well-known Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Nationwide Park.

Issues To Do In Yoho Nationwide Park

There are such a lot of issues to do in Yoho Nationwide Park!

Takakkaw Falls

This mighty waterfall is purpose sufficient to go to Yoho Nationwide Park. It’s the second highest waterfall in Canada dropping a whopping 384 metres to the valley flooring under.

Takakkaw Falls is called for a Cree phrase that means ‘the magnificent’ and it definitely is.

The 8km drive out to the Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Nationwide Park from the freeway is fairly awe-inspiring in itself, particularly when the timber flip a beautiful shade of gold within the fall.

Emerald Lake

Simply as stunning as Lake Louise however simply missing the world-wide fame, Emerald Lake shouldn’t be actually emerald in any respect, however fairly an electrical aquamarine that must be seen to be believed.

It’s the largest of 61 lakes in Yoho Nationwide Park and is residence to the high-end Emerald Lake Lodge, which is situated on a small peninsula that juts out into the lake.

Quite a lot of hikes originate from right here and it’s the excellent spot to paddle out in a canoe or to simply sit by the water with an ice-cold beer.

Emerald Lake Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake in Yoho Nationwide Park.

Burgess Shale Fossil Beds

For all you fossil fans on the market, I’m guessing you may have most likely heard of the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds in Yoho Nationwide Park.

It’s a world famend fossil website with a number of the finest examples of soppy physique preservation of prehistoric marine organisms on the planet.

To go to the fossil beds you may be a part of a guided tour which might be booked by means of The Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation.

Lake O’Hara Wilderness Space

Lake O’Hara is a pristine wilderness of glacial lakes, waterfalls, and sub-alpine forest, situated throughout the already beautiful Yoho Nationwide Park.

It might probably solely be reached by a restricted shuttle service or by strolling alongside an 11km gravel street to limit customer numbers.

It has been stated that Lake O’Hara and the surrounds is essentially the most stunning a part of the Rocky Mountains and when you go to, you may positively see why.

Areas on the shuttles promote out nearly instantly and go on sale in April every year for the approaching summer time. You’ll find out extra particulars about reserving the shuttle on the Parks Canada web site.

The posh Lake O’Hara Lodge additionally operates their very own bus service which you’ll catch in case you are staying with them.

Lake O'Hara Yoho National Park

Lake O’Hara within the winter time.

Pure Bridge

A picturesque spot on the Kicking Horse River, the place the sturdy power of the water has carved a bridge into the traditional rock, making a waterfall beneath. It’s a straightforward cease off the street to Emerald Lake.


Subject is a quintessential alpine village that’s nearly too picture-perfect for phrases.

Positioned within the coronary heart of Yoho Nationwide Park in a valley surrounded by mountains, Subject is residence to 200 fortunate locals and is the one settlement within the park.

It began life as a railway city somewhat over 100 years in the past and nonetheless has sturdy hyperlinks to the railroad at the moment, with the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bunkhouses being situated right here.

With a great deal of lodging choices, scrumptious eateries, entry to mountain climbing trails, a historic cemetery and even a pond to swim in throughout the scorching summer time months, Subject is unquestionably price a go to.

Twin Falls Tea Home

The country Twin Falls Tea Home was designated a Nationwide Historic Web site in 1992, commemorating the early Nationwide Park structure together with its position in early tourism in Yoho Nationwide Park.

The Tea Home is ready within the Little Yoho Valley and may solely be reached by an 8.5km hike every manner from the Takakkaw Falls Parking Lot.

The Tea Home in its present type was constructed within the 1920s and has no electrical energy or operating water. Tea and lightweight meals choices are served to hikers from midday to 3pm in summer time, however provided that they’ve provides.

You may as well keep on the Tea Home in one of many 4 lodging rooms out there.

Hiking Trails Yoho National Park

Good mountain climbing trails in Yoho Nationwide Park.

Climbing In Yoho Nationwide Park

Regardless of residing in Yoho Nationwide Park for six weeks and mountain climbing each time I had free time, I nonetheless solely managed to do lower than half of the hikes on supply, however the ones I did full have been fairly superior.

Listed below are a number of the finest Yoho Nationwide Park mountain climbing trails:

Yoho Cross

  • Distance: 12.8km
  • Problem: Intermediate
  • Trailhead: Behind Whiskey Jack Hostel close to Takakkaw Falls or from Emerald Lake Parking Lot
  • Finest for: Attractive views of Emerald Lake and waterfalls

Coming from Takakkaw Falls, the hike begins with steep switchbacks by means of thick forest earlier than levelling out and passing the tranquil Yoho Lake.

The path then descends previous gushing waterfalls to an alluvial fan after which alongside the shores of otherworldly Emerald Lake.

Sherbrooke Lake

  • Distance: 6.2km
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Parking Lot throughout from Wapta Lake, 11km east of Subject
  • Finest for: A straightforward hike to a ravishing lake

The hike to Sherbrooke Lake is a straightforward one by means of alpine forest, ending at a glacial lake with a wonderful shade of blue. I did this late within the season so it snowed frivolously on the way in which up which solely added to the expertise.

Subject Stone – Part of Mount Burgess Path

  • Distance: 3.5km
  • Problem: Simple/Intermediate
  • Trailhead: Parking Lot on reverse aspect of the freeway from Subject, about 1km east.
  • Finest for: A fast hike from Subject with nice views of city

One of many few hikes you are able to do from Subject and nice in case you are staying there and don’t have a automotive. The path is steep and travels by means of dense forest to a big stone generally known as ‘Subject Stone’ that overlooks city.

This path continues on to Burgess Cross and the summit of Mount Burgess.

Laughing Falls

  • Distance: 8.8km
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls Parking Lot
  • Finest for: A straightforward hike by means of the forest to a waterfall

Comparatively flat and following the river the entire manner, the Laughing Falls path is a forested hike with mossy groundcover that results in a waterfall on the confluence of the Yoho and Little Yoho rivers.

I like this one in fall for the brilliant purple leaves and purple berries that develop on low bushes alongside the trail.

Emerald Lake loop

  • Distance: 5.2km
  • Problem: Simple
  • Trailhead: Emerald Lake Parking Lot
  • Finest for: A pleasing stroll round Yoho’s most opulent lake

It could be straightforward however it’s a stunner. With lake views the complete manner round and thru lush forest, the Emerald Lake loop is unquestionably price doing.

Emerald Lake Hiking Yoho National Park

Autumn colors at Emerald Lake.

Iceline by way of Celeste Lake

      • Distance: 17.5km
      • Problem: Intermediate/Troublesome
      • Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls Parking Lot. Begins behind Whiskey Jack Hostel and ends at Parking Lot.
      • Finest for: Having fun with the most effective of what Yoho Nationwide Park has to supply.

Waterfalls, glaciers, spectacular views, alpine meadows, rocky terrain and thick forest – this hike has all of it. The Iceline path was completely my favorite hike that I did in Yoho Nationwide Park.

You possibly can add one other 3km on to this by persevering with on to Little Yoho Valley as a substitute of descending at Celeste Lake. It began snowing so I made a decision towards this however I’ve heard that the choice is great.


      • Distance: 5.2km
      • Problem: Simple/Intermediate
      • Trailhead: Hoodoo Creek Campground, 23km west of Subject
      • Finest for: Loopy trying rock formations

Quick however steep, this path is dry and uncovered. It results in hoodoos, that are capped pillars of glacial particles that look an terrible lot like …, effectively, what do you assume they seem like?

Hoodoos Yoho National Park


Abbott Cross in Lake O’Hara (in a single day hike)

      • Distance: 24km
      • Problem: Very Troublesome
      • Trailhead: Lake O’Hara. See particulars on reaching Lake O’Hara underneath principal sights above
      • Finest for: The journey of a lifetime and the possibility to remain within the second highest everlasting construction in Canada

This hike is unquestionably not for the unfit or faint of coronary heart! I actually didn’t know what I used to be letting myself in for however I’ve no regrets: it was one of many most epic adventures I have ever experienced.

This insane hike begins on the unimaginable Lake O’Hara and ascends previous smaller alpine lakes to a historic hut on the continental divide. The final part is a really steep scramble up unfastened rocks and boulders.

Helmets and strolling poles are extremely advisable.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

The Pure Bridge.

Different Yoho Nationwide Park Climbing Trails

I didn’t get an opportunity to do any of those hikes myself however they’ve been advisable to me by mates. Subsequent time for positive.

Emerald Basin

      • Distance: 9.2km
      • Problem: Simple/Intermediate
      • Trailhead: Emerald Lake Parking Lot
      • Finest for: Getting a style of the wilderness

My pal Paulina lived at Emerald Lake for 3 years and has achieved this hike just a few instances along with her canine. It’s a nice hike by means of dense forest to a pure amphitheatre.

This path doesn’t see numerous hikers so it’s seemingly you received’t see one other soul.

Be careful for bears right here.

Hamilton Lake

      • Distance: 11km
      • Problem: Intermediate
      • Trailhead: Emerald Lake Parking Lot
      • Finest for: A shocking glacial lake surrounded by cliffs

My pal Katja advisable this hike to me. It’s a steep slog to rise up to the lake however it’s a magnificence and completely price it when you get to it.

Encircled by cliffs and a superb shade of blue, lots of people don’t make the hike up right here so you may benefit from the peace and quiet the solitude affords.

Twin Falls

      • Distance: 16.4km
      • Problem: Simple/Intermediate
      • Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls Parking Lot
      • Finest for: Stunning waterfalls and tea at a historic teahouse

One other hike advisable by Paulina, it travels alongside the river passing Laughing Falls to the much more spectacular double cascade of Twin Falls.

The historic teahouse has a country appeal and is a superb spot for refreshments (if they’re open) earlier than turning again.

Lake O’Hara Climbing

      • Distance: Numerous
      • Problem: Numerous
      • Trailhead: Lake O’Hara
      • Finest for: Discovering the Lake O’Hara wilderness, one of many jewels of the Rocky Mountains

I solely acquired the possibility to do the return hike to Abbot Cross however I’ve heard from many individuals about the great thing about the opposite trails within the space.

The hike to Abbot Cross incorporates the 6.4km return hike to Lake Oesa and I extremely advocate that should you solely have a day within the space. 

Lake Oesa Yoho National Park

Lake Oesa within the Lake O’Hara space.

How To Get To Yoho Nationwide Park

With the closest main airport to Yoho Nationwide Park being in Calgary, 200km/125 miles drive away, one of the simplest ways to get to Yoho Nationwide Park is by renting a automotive from the airport or downtown and driving there.

In the event you don’t drive then it’s doable to catch the Greyhound bus from Calgary to the close by cities of Golden and Lake Louise. From there you would want to catch a taxi or hitch-hike.

Sadly the bus not stops within the park. You may as well catch an in a single day bus from Vancouver to Golden or Lake Louise. 


There are lodging choices for each journey model and funds in Yoho Nationwide Park from primitive tenting by means of to luxurious Lodges.


There are 4 established campgrounds within the park: Monarch, Kicking Horse, Takakkaw Falls, and Hoodoo Creek. The entire campgrounds besides Kicking Horse are fundamental with pit bogs and no different services.

In order for you one thing a bit extra luxurious, the Kicking Horse Campground affords flush bogs and showers. All front-country campsites function on a primary come, first served foundation.

There may be additionally quite a few back-country tenting out there all through the park. These have to be reserved as much as three months forward of time with the Yoho Customer Centre or the Lake Louise Customer Centre.

You additionally should buy a Wilderness Cross which might be bought from any Parks Canada Customer Centres.


Just about each second home is both a Guesthouse or a Mattress & Breakfast within the city of Field, smack bang in the course of the park.

You possibly can additionally base your self close by within the cities of Golden or in Lake Louise. Listed below are a few well-run guesthouse suggestions, each owned by mates of mine:

Mount Stephen Guesthouse

I volunteered on the Mount Stephen Guesthouse in summer time 2015 so I can say first-hand how nice the 2 one-bedroom suites are as a result of I cleaned them!

They’re absolutely self-contained, quiet and centrally situated within the little village of Subject.

Hummingbird Suite

Proper subsequent door to the Mount Stephen Guesthouse is the beautiful Hummingbird Suite, a totally self-contained one bed room suite owned by my good pal Paulina and her husband Darren.

They each additionally work on the Emerald Lake Lodge so that they know their stuff relating to working in hospitality. They just lately opened the Hummingbird Suite and the pictures I’ve seen look improbable.

Cilantro Emerald Lake Lodge Yoho National Park

Cilantro at Emerald Lake Lodge.


For the very best degree of luxurious within the park, your finest wager can be to remain at one of many Lodges. There are just a few lodges to select from within the park:

      • Truffle Pigs Lodge is centrally situated within the city of Subject and is residence to a improbable bistro of the identical title that serves up a number of the finest meals within the Rockies, together with their signature cocktail, the shaft.
      • Emerald Lake Lodge is situated on the beautiful Emerald Lake and affords a sublime eating room, quite a few mountain climbing trails at the doorstep and a scorching tub to chill out your weary bones after a very strenuous hike.
      • Cathedral Mountain Lodge is situated on the street as much as Takakkaw Falls and affords lodging in luxurious log cabins, nestled within the mountains.
      • Lake O’Hara Lodge is a backcountry lodge situated within the pristine wilderness that surrounds Lake O’Hara. With goose-down comforters and claw foot tubs, a keep on the Lodge is a perfect strategy to expertise the wilderness with out forgoing luxurious.


There are two hostels inside Yoho Nationwide Park. In case you are travelling by your self, staying at one of many hostels might be your finest wager for assembly different vacationers.

      • Fireweed Hostel is a small, boutique hostel situated within the city of Subject. I volunteered right here and I can attest to it being probably the greatest hostels I’ve ever seen. It feels extra like a Ski Lodge than a hostel with a fully-equipped kitchen, a comfy lounge with hearth and a wraparound deck with a BBQ and mountain views. There are dorms, personal rooms and a two bed room suite within the basement.
      • Whiskey Jack Hostel is an HI Hostel and is situated up by Takakkaw Falls. It is a wilderness hostel with way more fundamental services than the Fireweed Hostel (no electrical energy and no Wi-Fi). Dorm rooms can be found. 

Backcountry Huts

The Alpine Club of Canada operates a handful of huts in Yoho Nationwide Park in Little Yoho Valley, Daly Glacier and within the Lake O’Hara wilderness. You possibly can solely e book them in individual or by telephone. See their web site for extra particulars.

Fireweed Hostel Field Yoho National Park

The superior Fireweed Hostel in Subject.

Getting Round

One of the simplest ways to get round in Yoho Nationwide Park is by automotive as there is no such thing as a public transport service.

In the event you don’t have a automotive and you’re staying at Emerald Lake Lodge, Whiskey Jack Hostel by Takakkaw Falls, or within the city of Subject, there are just a few hikes that originate from these locations.

In any other case you will want to stroll, hitch-hike or befriend another person at your lodging that has a automotive.

If in case you have a motorcycle, this may even be an effective way to get between locations within the park.

The place To Eat And Drink

There aren’t loads of choices in Yoho Nationwide Park for eating so I might positively advocate bringing your individual meals to cook dinner for many meals.

In saying that, the meals choices which are out there are fairly rattling superb so be sure to attempt these spots out while you’re visiting the park.

      • Truffle Pigs Bistro, situated in Truffle Pigs Lodge within the coronary heart of Subject is just about unbeatable, providing a number of the finest meals and cocktails round. It was a two minute stroll to my home so I frequented it so much, both for dinner or just a few (too many) drinks. You positively should attempt their well-known bulgogi nachos that are filled with tender pork stomach and a scrumptious candy & bitter BBQ sauce. The mussels and the flatbread pizza are additionally superb. Wash it down with their signature cocktail the shaft, a dangerously good espresso concoction, or attempt their ginger beer which mixes one of many native beers on faucet with a house-made ginger pulp. Sit on the bar to fulfill locals and different guests – it’s a pleasant place.
      • The Siding is Subject’s solely different possibility for meals and is a superb spot for breakfast or lunch (it isn’t open for dinner). The burgers listed here are particularly superior.
      • Cilantro at Emerald Lake Lodge has probably essentially the most stunning setting of any restaurant within the mountains – it sits proper by beautiful Emerald Lake and is surrounded by lofty peaks. It is likely one of the finest spots to take a seat on a sunny day, sipping an area honey beer and grazing on the bread basket with olive tapenade or one in every of their scrumptious pizzas.
Field Yoho National Park

The attractive city of Subject.

Issues To Know

      • You possibly can seize petrol within the city of Subject, at Lake Louise or in Golden.
      • There aren’t any grocery shops within the park. The closest massive grocery retailer is within the city of Golden, 60km drive away from Subject. There’s a small grocery store in Lake Louise, 26km away, however it is rather costly. You possibly can decide up fundamental meals objects from the store related to the petrol station in Subject.
      • Go to in fall for spectacular colors with loads of timber turning a superb golden hue. The drive to Takakkaw Falls is particularly spectacular right now of 12 months.
      • There are numerous bears in Yoho Nationwide Park so it’s a good suggestion to have bear spray, though this isn’t required. I had it and it made me really feel infinitely safer.
      • There isn’t a liquor retailer in Yoho Nationwide Park however you may seize some beers and wines from The Siding in Subject.
      • There are ATMs situated in The Siding Café and Truffle Pigs Lodge in Subject
      • In case you are catching a Greyhound bus, ensure that to e book a minimum of a few weeks prematurely to get an excellent deal
      • There are coin-operated laundry services downstairs at Truffle Pigs Lodge

Have I satisfied you to go to? Let me know within the feedback under!

Autumn Yoho National Park

Autumn mountain climbing in Yoho Nationwide Park.


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Katie Bell

A self-professed loopy cat girl and world traveler, Katie is initially from New Zealand however has been residing overseas and travelling the world for over 12 years. She is at present primarily based between the US and New Zealand, the place she is studying the ropes to this digital nomad factor and attempting to see extra of this excellent world we reside in. You possibly can observe her adventures on her web site The World On My Necklace.

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