Yoho is known as a Cree exclamation of awe, which actually applies perfectly to this incredible national park. Yoho National Park is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is home to expansive glaciers, breathtaking lakes, and massive waterfalls.
Yoho is one of four national parks in Western Canada territories and helps make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. The park was established in 1886, becoming Canada’s second national park after the more well-known Banff National Park.
Yoho was my second national park on our road trip. I loved exploring the incredible hiking trails that not only had a great destination, but a pleasant walk along the way. One of my favorite moments was visiting Emerald Lake. We came as it began to sprinkle, scaring away the crowds and allowing us to explore this natural beauty in solitude.
Here’s my guide to Yoho National Park:
Before You Go:
- Check the season. The temperature at Yoho National Park can vary from -35 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius depending on the time of year. The coldest months being December and January.
- Give yourself at least a day to explore this massive park.
Iconic Viewpoints/Photography Spots:
- Emerald Lake: If you’ve looked up Yoho, there’s no doubt you’ve seen pictures of Emerald Lake. The lake is formed by glaciers which make the color an incredible turquoise. There are options for hiking, canoeing, and dining around this cute area.
- Natural Bridge: This spot is not only a great place to see a natural formation, but a great place to take some great photos.
- Takakkaw Falls: Again,Takakkaw Falls is named for a Cree word, translating to ‘the magnificent”. It certainly lives up to its name as the second highest waterfall in Canada, dropping a whole 384 metres!
- Lake O’Hara: A secluded, yet magical world of valleys, lakes, cliffs, and sub-alpine forest trails linked by a trail system. However, access to this fragile place is limited through the summer and demand is high, so book early–reservations are required.
Shop my cold weather favorites:
Where to Hike:
With more than 400 kilometers of trails to hike within Yoho National Park, you are bound to find your inner-explorer.
- Emerald Lake Trail: 5.2km, 2hrs, minimal elevation. An easy lakeshore trail away from the crowds surrounded by mountain and glacier views.
- Centennial: 2.5 km, 45 mins, minimal elevation. A shaded trail along the Kicking Horse River known for wildflowers.
- Wapta Falls: 4.6 km, 1.5 hrs, 30 m elevation. A lush walk to the base of a 30 m waterfall; the largest waterfall on the Kicking Horse River.
Where to Watch the Sunset:
Honestly, you could get a great view of the sunset from anywhere in the park. Emerald Lake and Natural Bridge would be my top contenders, but Lake O’Hara would be a great alternative.
Where to Camp:
Monarch Campground– Although no campground in Yoho is particularly private, Monarch had some great views of the mountains. It is also ideal location-wise, being close to the town of Field, Emerald Lake, and many small hiking trails.
I absolutely enjoyed my experience in Yoho National Park. It offered a variety of natural wonders and beauties that made my jaw drop. I hope to return back to the Canadian Rockies one day soon. For now, make sure to follow along with my road trip adventure!
Have you been to Yoho? Let me know in the comments below.
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