One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Yoho National Park is to strap on a pair of cross country skis and venture out into the vast wilderness while it lies under a thick blanket of fresh snow.

Skiing past the Meeting of the Three Rivers on the Kicking Horse Trail
Skiing past the Meeting of the Three Rivers on the Kicking Horse Trail

Visitors to Field find themselves delighted by easy access to trails from within the village itself. Trail maps can be picked up at the Yoho National Park Information Centre at the entrance to town. The Tally Ho groomer trail winds its way 12km (7.5 miles) around Mount Burgess from Field to Emerald Lake, where some of the best cross-country skiing in the area is found. On the way, make a stop at Natural Bridge to view this impressive rock formation encased in ice and snow, and detour down the Kicking Horse Trail past the meeting of the Emerald, Amiskwi, and Kicking Horse rivers.

The popular Emerald Lake Loop, a 5km (3 mile) groomed run, is also accessible by car, and keen visitors who haven't brought along their cross-country equipment are not to worry: ski and boot rentals are available at Emerald Sports, found lakeside. Parents of young children need not sit inside and sip cocoa, as a baby transporter is available for rent to keep toddlers in tow. The flats at the far eastern end of the lake are home to the 5km Emerald Basin Loop that approaches the base of Yoho Pass and traverses gently-sloped tree-lined glades below the imposing peaks of the Presidents and Wapta Mountain before re-connecting with the Emerald Lake Circuit.

Ski Touring in Yoho's Backcountry

Cross-country Skiing at Emerald Lake
Cross-country skiers on the Emerald River Connector Trail

Skiers looking for prime ski touring will find Yoho National Park's extensive network of backcountry trails to be a magical backdrop for their adventuring. Lake O'Hara's serene beauty is accentuated further when enveloped in powdery pillows of snow. Takkakaw Falls' thunder takes the winter off as the Yoho Valley awaits visitors in silence. Grizzly Bear habitats within Yoho where limited summer access is permitted become the playground of winter warriors.

Backcountry Lodging may be found at Lake O'Hara, within the Yoho Valley, and at the end of the Amiskwi Fire Road

Yoho XC Trail Maps

Parks Canada's Yoho National Park Cross Country Skiing and Ski Touring Map can be found here (pdf file).

Kicking Horse Ski Club

The Kicking Horse cross-country ski club helps to raise the level of cross-country skiing in Yoho National Park. Trail users are encouraged to support the club through a variety of fundraising events, donation boxes at the trail heads, or by purchasing an annual membership. Learn more at khsc.ca