10 Best Sights To See When Visiting Yoho National Park

Last Updated on February 1, 2023

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is a stunning natural playground located in the Canadian Rockies. The park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, and a wide variety of terrain, from alpine meadows to glaciers and waterfalls. Visitors can explore the park on foot, by bike, or even by canoe. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Yoho National Park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous hike or a leisurely stroll, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in this beautiful park.

If you’re looking for some of the most beautiful sights in Canada and British Columbia, you need to visit Yoho National Park on your way to Banff.

Here are 10 of the best sights to see when visiting Yoho National Park:

Table Of Contents

Takakkaw Falls

Takakkaw Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Canada, as well as one of the highest falls in North America. Located in Yoho National Park, it plunges 254 meters over a rock face, to the bottom of the Yoho Valley. The falls are fed by meltwater from Daly Glacier, part of the Waputik Icefield, and they flow all year round.

Even from the parking lot, the views are breathtaking. Take in the Instagram famous views from the bridge, but do not forget to go beyond the bridge for more spectacular views. Along the trail, you’ll also notice several offshoots towards the water for additional scenic views.

Visitors may stand near the base of the falls and look straight up, taking in the spray as it strikes the bottom. Prepare to get soaked!

Alternatively, the Iceline hiking trail, which branches off from the road just before reaching the falls and ascends up the mountainside facing it, gives an even better viewpoint. Take in the view of the falls and beyond to the glacier. This is a moderately difficult day hike, but the panoramic vista makes it well worth the work.

Anyone visiting Yoho National Park must visit Takakkaw Falls!

Natural Bridge

If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural wonder, look no further than the Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park. This majestic arch connects one side to the other side of the Kicking Horse River.

Visitors can admire the Natural Bridge from a viewing platform or take a short hike to get up close and personal with this stunning natural phenomenon. The Natural Bridge lookout offers visitors a variety of perspectives to view the formation, with interpretive displays explaining the scientific processes in action.

The Natural Bridge is a striking testament to how much water may shape the environment, as it was formed by erosive forces of rushing water over what had formerly been a waterfall.

The softer rock below the Natural Bridge’s hard limestone band eroded more quickly, and fissures in the rock expanded until the water flow was redirected below the outcrop.

The bridge is accessible by car only 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from Field on Emerald Lake Road.

The Natural Bridge is just one of the many reasons to visit Yoho National Park – so don’t miss out on this must-see attraction!

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park - Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

At the foot of the glacier-capped mountains of the President Range, Emerald Lake is a breathtaking emerald hue mountain lake. It is a popular place to go for a paddle and features a resort and restaurant along the shoreline.

Emerald Lake is a starting place for several wonderful excursions, including the Hamilton Lake trail, the Emerald Lake Circuit, Yoho and Burgess Passes.

On the way to Emerald Lake, you will also pass right by the Natural Bridge. Give yourself some time to stop and enjoy the views there too!

Arrive early to Emerald Lake, or visit in the evening, as the parking lot and available parking along the road are limited.

Wapta Falls

Wapta Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Yoho National Park. The falls are located on the Kicking Horse River, and they are one of the largest waterfalls in the Rockies.

Visitors can see the falls from a variety of vantage points. The best time to visit the falls is in the spring when the snowmelt is at its peak. However, the falls are also beautiful in the summer and fall, when the river is running high from melted glaciers.

The falls are easily accessible via a 30-minute trek from the Trans Canada Highway. This trek is well worth the effort, and it’s suitable for the entire family with the reward of seeing one of Yoho’s big waterfalls backdropped by jagged Ottertail Range peaks.

Wapta Falls will take your breath away at any time of year.

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Explore the Burgess Shale Fossils

The Burgess Shale is a geological formation in British Columbia, Canada, renowned for its abundance of well-preserved fossils. Dating back to the Early Cambrian Period, these fossils provide a unique and insightful look at the diversification of early animal life. The Burgess Shale boasts an impressive variety of both marine and terrestrial organisms, including many that are completely new to science. In addition, the fossils are often found in remarkable detail, providing scientists with an unprecedented level of information about the appearance and anatomy of these long-extinct creatures. As a result, the Burgess Shale has become an invaluable resource for researchers studying the evolution of animal life on Earth.

Fossil Hikes

Hiking the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds from Takakkaw Falls to the Walcott Quarry on the Burgess Highline trail high above Emerald Lake for ten hours is a unique way to enjoy exquisite scenery and get into nature. Plus, you will get to view a selection of Burgess Shale fossils that have made it one of the world’s most important fossil finds.

Above the Field townsite, you can do a seven-hour trek to the Mount Stephen Fossil Beds, where you can likely find trilobites and other aquatic specimens.

The Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation hikes are led by guides with first-aid training and expertise in the Earth Sciences, so you may get the most out of your Burgess Shale experience. Educational hikes organized by Parks Canada are led by interpreters who have received first-aid training. The Burgess Shale tale is told through storytelling and hands-on experiences at these interpretive treks.

Hikers should be aware that guided trips are not simply an easy stroll in the park. The altitude of the Rocky Mountains can increase tiredness and respiratory problems. These hikes demand significant physical stamina, lots of water, and sturdy hiking boots with appropriate ankle support.

Please be advised that removing fossils from all Burgess Shale locations is prohibited. Those who break the law are frequently penalized.

Spiral Tunnels

Visitors to Yoho National Park in British Columbia are often amazed by the sight of the Spiral Tunnels. These tunnels were originally built to allow trains to navigate the steep grades of the Rockies, and they remain in use today.

The tunnels are situated in a stunning location, surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests. Despite their name, the tunnels are not spiral-shaped. Instead, they consist of a series of S-curves that help to ease the transition from one grade to another.

They have done a wonderful job providing lots of interpretative signage and a 3D model to explain the historical problem that was resolved by this upper tunnel in Cathedral Mountain at the Upper Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint. If you have the time, go to the lookout for the Lower Spiral Tunnel in Mount Ogden, which is located near the start of the Yoho Valley Road and ends at Takakkaw Falls. However, we found the Upper Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint to be far superior.

The railway is still in use and has a visible presence, with road crossings, crew changes, and maintenance taking place on a daily basis. Freight and tourist trains pass through on a regular basis.

The Spiral Tunnels are part of the Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site of Canada.

The Spiral Tunnels are just one of the many marvels to be found in Yoho National Park.

On the Walk in the Past trail in Yoho Provincial Park, remnants of the Spiral Tunnels’ tumultuous history are on display, including abandoned segments of a narrow-gauge engine used during the construction of the tunnels. The moderate family trail begins at the Kicking Horse Campground and follows a series of interpretive signs through the park. At 3 kilometers and with an ascent of 90 meters, the trek should take about an hour and a half for most people.

The Kicking Horse River

The Kicking Horse River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Canada, and it’s easy to see why. The turquoise waters flow through the stunning mountains of Yoho National Park, and the river is dotted with islands, rapids, and waterfalls.

Visitors can go whitewater rafting, canoeing, or hiking along the river’s banks.

Angling is permitted from the Kicking Horse and Yoho confluence downstream to the park boundary. Brook Char, Dolly Varden, Whitefish, Cutthroat, and Rainbow Trout are all common captures in the Kicking Horse River.

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a peaceful nature escape, the Kicking Horse River is sure to delight.

The Meeting Of The Waters

The meeting of the two rivers is one of the most scenic spots in Yoho National Park. The Kicking Horse River and the Yoho River join forces at this point, creating a stunning natural landscape.

The colors of these two merging rivers are very different. Because of the glacial silt from nearby glaciers, the Yoho River has a milky coloration. The Kicking Horse River water is clearer due to the settling of glacial silt in a series of upstream lakes.

Visitors can explore the area on foot, enjoying the views of the rushing waters and the surrounding mountains.

Lake O’Hara

The turquoise-colored Lake O’Hara is widely regarded as the park’s most beautiful vista. The magnificent mountains surrounding the lake offer amazing trekking routes. These lovely paths lead far above the lake, passing by several smaller bodies of water and waterfalls.

It is not easy to visit Lake O’Hara, however. Due to its popularity, reservations are required and are done using a lottery system, if you wish to catch the bus to the trailhead. Visitors may also opt to walk the 13-kilometer road into the lake and there is no restriction on access for people trekking in. It is not permitted to cycle on the road.

The pleasant Lake O’Hara Lodge is on the lake’s beach; a tiny park campground is back in the woods. A reservation for either of these is required at least a year in advance. Bus transportation is included with a campground reservation.

Hiking is the most popular reason for visitors to Lake O’Hara. There are several hiking trails to choose from. Some are simple, like the short 2.8 kilometers around the lake’s shoreline, while others demand more skill and a full day of hiking.

Some of the most popular hikes include the Lake Oesa Trail, Opabin Plateau Circuit, MacArthur Pass, and the Linda Lake Circuit and Morning Glory Lakes, which are all moderate to easy treks.

Campsite 8 at Kicking Horse. The sites were not private at all, but the noisy rushing water helped it feel more private. The campsites were also very spacious!

Camping In Yoho National Park

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Yoho National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. With towering peaks, rushing waterfalls, and pristine lakes, it’s easy to see why. Camping is a popular activity in the park, and there are plenty of great spots to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax or an adventure-packed basecamp for exploring, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Yoho. Just be sure to come prepared for cold nights and nasty weather – after all, this is the mountains! – and you’re sure to have a great time.

Camping in Yoho National Park is a memorable experience. Four campgrounds have a total of 162 drive-in campsites, which are divided among them. In addition, there are 35 walk-to sites available. The camping season is generally from mid-May to mid-October, although it may vary depending on the weather and other factors.

The four primary campgrounds are Kicking Horse, Monarch, Hoodoo Creek, and Takakkaw Falls walk-in. Only Kicking Horse is reserved, with the other three on a first-come, first-served basis. The campsites are all unserviced (no water/electricity). The only site with flush toilets and hot showers is Kicking Horse.

Know Before You Go

Is Yoho Crowded?

Yoho is less crowded than Banff National Park. Many tourists don’t spend much time exploring Yoho when they are passing by en route to the popular areas of the Canadian Rockies. Most make a quick stop at Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls before continuing on the drive. However, Yoho National Park is a beautiful location that should not be missed — give it three days of exploring and it will WOW you!

Get A Parks Canada Pass

To visit Yoho National Park, you’ll need a Parks Canada Pass. A Parks Canada pass can be purchased at any park entrance. If you don’t have an annual discovery pass, you’ll get a ticket from a Parks Canada employee.

Entering the park, you will pass a Parks Canada gate. Both Golden and Field have a visitor center that sells Parks Passes.

The cost of a Parks Canada pass depends on the type and duration of your trip. The following are the prices for various types of passes:

  • Adult: $10.50
  • Senior: $9.00
  • Youth (up to 17): Free
  • Family/group of 7 people: $21.00
    • Day passes expire at 4 pm the following day.
  • Annual Parks Canada pass:
    • Adult: $72.75
    • Senior: $61.75
    • Family/group of 7 people: $145.25

A Parks Canada Discovery Pass allows you to visit over 80 locations for an entire year, so it will pay for itself quickly if you are doing a lot of traveling. You must sign your Parks Canada annual pass in order for it to be valid.

There you have it! The ten best sights to see when visiting Yoho National Park. From the majestic Lake O’Hara to the rushing Takakkaw Falls, there’s something for everyone in this Canadian gem. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

Whatever you do, make sure to give yourself enough time to explore this amazing place – you won’t regret it!

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