Yoho Valley

Yoho Valley is one of Yoho National Park's most beloved hiking and camping areas. Access to Canadian Rockies backcountry is easily reached by travelling to Yoho Valley via car on Yoho Valley Road, beginning just 4 km east of Field. During the winter Yoho Valley Road is closed to vehicles, but the valley may still be accessed by cross country skiers.

Autumn colours line Yoho Valley Road golden as it climbs from the foot of Mount Stephen.
Autumn colours line Yoho Valley Road golden as it climbs from the foot of Mount Stephen.

Yoho Valley Road

The scenic drive into Yoho Valley should not be missed by anyone visiting Yoho National Park. With many beautiful views along the way, this trip is well worth the effort for cyclists who enjoy a good uphill climb. While traveling the road you will pass a few notable viewpoints -- the Upper Spiral Tunnel Lookout offers an excellent vantagepoint to watch a train pass into the depths of Cathedral Mountain, with the vast backdrop of Mount Stephen and its glacier that dangles over 1km above the valley floor -- the next stop is the Meeting of the Waters where the raging Kicking Horse River is joined by the Yoho River. As you reach the top of the last hill you will catch your first glimpse of the lofty Takakkaw Falls where water plummets 380m down into the valley; truly a sight to behold.

At the end of Yoho Valley Road you find the Whiskey Jack Hostel, parking for Takakkaw Falls and the Takakkaw Falls Campground. Here is where your adventures in Yoho Valley begin.

Takakkaw Falls

Takakkaw Falls as it is seen from the Iceline Trail
Takakkaw Falls as seen from the Iceline Trail.

For a brief outing suitable for the whole family, follow a short trail that bridges Yoho River and leads to the base of Takakkaw Falls, one of Yoho National Park's most spectacular waterfalls. You will hear and feel the great intensity of Takakkaw Falls as the meltwater of the Daly Glacier rolls off the mountain ledge and plummets into Yoho Valley.

Yoho Lake and the Iceline Trail

Hiking the Iceline over rocky moraines and past giant boulders.
Hiking the Iceline over rocky moraines and past giant boulders.

On the other side of the valley, travel past the Whiskey Jack Hostel and up towards Yoho Pass on steep switchbacks to reach Yoho Lake and its peaceful campground. Follow the Yoho Pass trail further into the next valley where you can reach the shores of Emerald Lake. Alternately you can take the Iceline Trail north-west traveling further back into Yoho Valley. The Iceline is a fascinating hike on one of Yoho National Parks premiere trails. You will travel from thick forest on to rocky glacial moraines, up along the edge of the Emerald Glacier and the Vice President Mountain, and eventually down into sprawling alpine plateaus. The Iceline trail climbs high above the valley, yielding an outstanding view of the Daly Glacier branching off of the Waputik Icefield feeding Takakkaw Falls. The Iceline trail gives visitors to Yoho a chance to witness glacial processes up close, as the Emerald Glacier retreats and leaves boulders, rock moraines, and scars across the mountainside.

Little Yoho Valley

In Yoho Valley glorious hiking trails weave along high alpine plateaus.
In Yoho Valley glorious hiking trails weave along high alpine plateaus.

Little Yoho is a small hanging valley tucked up behind the President Mountain range, above an elevation of 2000m. It can be accessed via the Iceline trail, or by following the Little Yoho Valley trail which leaves from the Laughing Falls campground. You can stay in Little Yoho Valley overnight either by reserving a spot in the backcountry campground located there, or by making reservations for the Stanley Mitchell Hut (Alpine Club of Canada.)

Twin Falls and Twin Falls Chalet

Twin Falls Chalet offers the true backcountry lodge experience without electricity or running hot water, but with plenty of character and wonderful meals.
Twin Falls Chalet offers guests the true backcountry lodge experience without electricity or running hot water, but with plenty of character and wonderful meals.
photo credit: Nigel Tobey

Here you will find one of Yoho National Park's more memorable waterfalls where twin cascades of creek water fall in tandem off a tall limestone cliff. Nearby, you will find the Twin Falls campground and the historic Twin Falls Chalet. Twin Falls Chalet was built in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. At the time, CPR wanted to promote tourism to the Canadian Rockies, and saw an increasing interest in mountaineering as a means to bring adventurous travelers in by train. The chalet was used as lodging for mountain guides and their clients. Yoho National Park now owns the Twin Falls Chalet and it is currently operating as a backcountry lodge under a private lease.

View Parks Canada's Yoho National Park Trail Map in a printable PDF format.

See more Yoho Valley photos at David Wasserman's IHTCR.