Canada 150: Visit Yoho National Park, British Columbia, with your National Parks Discovery Pass
Alberta often gets the credit for the Canadian Rockies, but BC plays host to a spectacular Rocky Mountain parks of its own – Yoho National Park. This park can be visited as a trip of its own, or it can be part of a larger circle tour through the Canadian Rockies. Either way, spectacular mountain peaks, alpine flowers, and shimmering lakes await you in Yoho National Park.
Yoho is the slightly western counterpart of the better-known Banff National Park. Covering 1,310 square kilometres, the park makes up a portion of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Yoho offers a bountiful range of both easily accessible and more challenging terrain, guaranteeing that you will find something to suit your interests no matter which direction you choose to explore.
What To Do in Yoho National Park
- Takakkaw Falls: A 254-metre waterfall with an easy walking trail that gets you close enough to the base to feel the spray. If you choose to stay at the Takakkaw Falls campground, the sound of the rushing water will sing you to sleep each night.
- Emerald Lake: An aptly named lake that provides stunning scenery and amazing opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Hungry? Check out Cilantro on the Lake, the bistro-style dining option at the Emerald Lake Lodge offering great food and even greater views.
- Natural Bridge: A short walk to see how the mighty Kicking Horse River has eroded a spectacular gorge.
- Lake O’Hara: Backcountry at it’s finest! Lake O’Hara is accessible only by reservation, as the area must be accessed by the Lake O’Hara shuttle bus. Both day trips and overnight excursions are available. Check at the Visitor Centre in Field as last-minute spots sometimes come available, but to guarantee your spot make your reservation well in advance.
- Burgess Shale: An ancient sea in the sky? Accessible only by guided hike, the Burgess Shale is known world-wide as one of the most significant fossil beds in the world.
In the Area
While you are visiting Yoho National Park, consider taking a day-trip to Golden where you can walk across Canada’s longest freestanding timber frame pedestrian bridge, take a gondola ride to 7,700 feet at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and hit the links at the Golden Golf Club. There are many more things to do in and around Yoho National Park.
Field, located within Yoho National Park, is the closest place offering any sort of services. This vacation town has numerous restaurants and shops, but if you are looking to do any major resupplying you may need to consider going further afield – no pun intended! Golden is about half an hour west, while Lake Louise is half an hour east.
Where to Stay
Yoho has four first-come-first served “front country” campsites. The largest of these is Kicking Horse, which offers showers, flush toilets, and a sani-dump. For a more unique experience, consider staying at the walk-in Takakkaw Falls campground. Don’t let the campground’s walk-in name deter you – Parks Canada provides wheelbarrows to transport your belongings the short distance to the campground and bear boxes to store your food and other scented belongings.
Yoho National Park is one of my favourite places to visit. The combination of alpine scenery and easy accessibility makes it a great option for people of all levels of physical fitness and offers endless opportunities for exploration. Whether you are young or young at heart, Yoho has something up its sleeve to keep you entertained for a day, a week, or beyond.
Watch for upcoming blogs on some of our National Parks & National Historic Sites. The next one will be published May 11. Also, find out more about the free 2017 Discovery Pass.
Check out more blogs in the Canada 150 series:
Published: April 13th, 2017
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