Yoho National ParkPeaks, parks, and tales of the rails.
Explore Yoho National Park's ancient Burgess Shale fossils, vibrant Emerald Lake, high Takakkaw Falls, and diverse trails and wildlife.
Yoho National Park, situated in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, stands out for its geological wonders including the Burgess Shale, which holds some of the world's oldest fossils. Emerald Lake, with its vivid colors, is a highlight, as are the towering Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada's highest waterfalls. The park's extensive hiking trails offer encounters with diverse wildlife and breathtaking alpine scenery.
The Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a key point of interest for visitors to Yoho National Park. Renowned for its fossil beds with well-preserved remains of soft-bodied marine creatures that lived around 505 million years ago, this area provides a window into ancient life on Earth. Guided hikes to the Walcott Quarry or the Mount Stephen Fossil Beds are available and offer the invaluable insight of expert guides. Note that these are substantial hikes intended for those in good physical condition and require advance booking due to their popularity.
Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls
Emerald Lake showcases Yoho's quintessential mountain scenery with its striking turquoise waters encircled by dense forests and craggy peaks. Here, you can canoe in the summer or snowshoe in the winter, enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. Nearby, Takakkaw Falls plunges 373 meters down a sheer cliff face. A short walk from the parking area brings you to the base of the falls, where the mist and roar of the cascading water enhance the experience.
Yoho's extensive trails cater to every level of hiker, from straightforward walks like the Emerald Lake Loop to more challenging routes such as the Iceline Trail. The Iceline Trail, in particular, offers stunning views of glaciers and peaks as it winds through subalpine landscapes. To maximize safety and enjoyment, always check trail conditions at the visitor center before departure and bring suitable gear for variable weather.
The park's diverse habitats are home to an array of wildlife, including black bears, grizzly bears, elk, and mountain goats. Wildlife watching should always be conducted at a safe distance and with due respect for these wild animals' space and needs. Dawn and dusk are optimal times for sightings, and driving slowly along the park's roads can increase your chances of encountering wildlife.
Campgrounds and Accommodations
Accommodation options range from backcountry camping for those seeking solitude to front-country campgrounds equipped with more amenities. There are also lodges and hostels within the park, as well as numerous accommodation options in the nearby town of Field. Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak summer months.
Yoho National Park's high altitude means weather can change rapidly, and snow can occur at any time of year in higher elevations. Summer brings warmer temperatures and full access to trails, while winter offers a serene landscape ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It's essential to plan your visit according to the season and prepare accordingly with appropriate clothing and gear.
Conservation and Community
As a protected area, Yoho plays a critical role in local environmental conservation efforts. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave-No-Trace principles to minimize their impact on natural resources. The park also interacts closely with nearby communities by providing employment opportunities and supporting local businesses. Visitors contribute to this economic relationship when they patronize local shops or use guide services.
The Trans-Canada Highway winds through Yoho, providing easy access to major attractions. For those without a car, there are limited public transportation options available during the summer months. To fully experience the park's remote areas, however, having a vehicle is best. Roads may require snow tires or chains in winter due to snow and ice. Always keep up to date with transport notices from Parks Canada.