Have you ever driven the Trans-Canada Highway between Golden, British Columbia and Lake Louise, Alberta? If you have then you’ve driven through Yoho National Park, a park that’s been around since 1886. The park sits entirely in British Columbia, with a visitor center located just outside the pretty town of Field.
Yoho National Park is famous for its high impact scenery. Stunning hiking trails – 400 kilometres of them, can keep you busy for weeks. Throw in 28 peaks over 3,000 metres and one of the highest waterfalls in Canada – Takakkaw Falls and you can see why it’s worth a visit. And if you’re into mountain goats you’ll find them here.
Include these highlights if you make the trip to Yoho National Park.
- Take a two hour hike on the trail around Emerald Lake. Better yet, stay at the Emerald Lake Lodge and enjoy the mountain scenery for a few days.
- Take the short hike to Takakkaw Falls and stand in awe of water cascading 254 metres (833 feet).
- Do one of the outstanding full day hikes? You can’t miss with the Iceline Trail (8 miles to 13.1 miles round trip), Sherbrooke Lake/Niles Meadow (12.2 miles round trip to the meadow) or any of the hikes that make up the Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit – and there’s a week’s worth of hiking in this area alone. The only problem with the Lake O’Hara hikes is that everyone else wants to do them too. In theory you could book the bus up and go for a day hike. A better option is to get on the phone at 8 am SHARP, 60 days to the day that you want to go in and book a campsite – for a maximum of four nights. Put your phone on redial and pray that you get lucky. I didn’t and have decided I need to go up on a weekday as it’s nearly impossible to get a weekend. You have two other options – and you’re going to need Lady Luck on your side. Book a few nights at the Elizabeth Parker Hut or try and get a cancellation at Lake O’Hara Lodge. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to score a room there in the summer. Still it’s worth a try. (UPDATE: Aug 25, 2015 – You can now reserve the Lake O’Hara bus online or call 1-877-737-3783.)
- Another hike worth doing – and it’s a long one – is to the Burgess Shale Beds – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’re only able to visit with a guided group so you must reserve beforehand. The Wolcott Quarry overlooks Emerald Lake and is located above treeline. It’s a 22 kilometre, 10 hour round trip hike that costs $70 per adult. A shorter version to the Mt. Stephan Fossil Bed is $55 and takes seven hours to complete. (UPDATE: Aug 25, 2015 – You can now reserve the Burgess Shale hike online or call 1-877-737-3783.)
- Check out Wapta Falls, located 22 kilometres west of Field via a 90 minute round trip hike.
If you need somewhere to stay or something to eat you’ll find a few places in Field. I love this little town full of quaint houses with good mountain views. There are loads of B&B’s – which you can’t miss as you drive in on the main street. Plus there’s a small hotel – the Kicking Horse Lodge. Adjacent to it is the Truffle Pigs Bistro where you’ll find a friendly atmosphere, very good food and BC beer.
And another lodge worth a visit is the Cathedral Mountain Lodge; it sits on the Kicking Horse River and is just minutes from the town of Field and Lake Louise.
Have you visited Yoho National Park? Do you have any suggestions you’d like to make to enhance the experience?