Lying virtually on the BC/Alberta border, just past lake Louise, near the small town of Field, Yoho National Park is one of the most spectacular places to hike, camp and explore in British Columbia, Canada. It is relatively remote, yet only an hour’s drive from the Canmore/Banff area.
This is a hike you can only do as a part of a Parks Canada guided excursion out of the visitor’s centre in Field, B.C. It is a 7 hour day with 800m of elevation gain, heading up an ancient glacial lateral moraine to the quarry site above the treeline. It is a fascinating glimpse into an alien world with a good hour and a half of time spent exploring to your heart’s content.
Excerpt: Imagine this… a rocky shelf overhangs a shallow ocean floor somewhere near the equator, nestled in mud banks at the base of a tall cliff. Deep in the recesses of the dark space underneath lies a protected space, a sanctuary of sorts. Strange looking creatures inhabit the waters around this place. Right out of science fiction, like the oddest characters out of a Star Wars Cantina Bar scene, predators & prey travel through its murky depths with bizarre tentacles flailing about.
(Lakeside Trail and the shoreline of its Alluvial Fan Delta), Yoho National Park, British Columbia.
5.3km loop; negligible elevation (virtually flat)
Excerpt: “Deep snow! At last! We’d been searching and searching. We hadn’t found the incredibly deep, need-to-wear-snowshoes-to-stay-afloat snow on the Karst Spring Trail up at higher elevation in the Spray as we’d hoped. So we figured we’d need to head deeper into the mountains, across the BC border, near the infamous Roger’s Pass, where it always snows more heavily, to find it. And find it, we did!”
Approximately 2km, one way; in & out trail; (1.1km to the falls); approx. 800m elevation gain to the viewpoint above the falls.
(This link will be active Friday, Mar 10.) A short but fun romp on snowshoes through the subalpine forest can get you right to the base of the falls, and then hiking up a switchbacked trail to a fantastic lookout above its cliff band with outstanding views of Mt. Burgess.
22km loop; 700+m elevation gain
Excerpt: “This trail is about as spectacular as it gets! With magnificent views across a steeply cut valley, a drop dead gorgeous glacier-fed, silt-grey river tumbling over boulders to hike along, tremendously heart-stirring waterfall vistas to take in, and toes of an ancient glacier, glinting blue, winking in and out of the clouds at you, it is truly unforgettable. This is a hike that we did this past summer, and I thought I’d revisit it here in my blog, in case there are any people planning a trip to our wonderful Rocky Mountains next year.”
Nestled in beside the Alberta border on the other side of Lake Louise is this gem of a spot. Full of hiking trails, it lures many a day hiker, campers, luxury lodge-goers, and those intrepid enough to hike up to historic mountaineering huts. Note that you do have to book passage in on a bus, as access is restricted to preserve the habitat up there. We were lucky enough to head in with a group of friends to Abbot Hut. Here are links to a series of posts on our experiences there. Check them out even if all you are wanting to do is a series of day hikes.
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