Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park is a small park on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, in British Columbia. It borders on Banff National Park in the east and Kootenay National Park in the south, and spans 1,300 square kilometers. The Park contains 28 peaks towering over 3,000 meters, immense waterfalls (the most famous are Takakkaw Falls, about 250-meter high, one of the highest in Canada), many lakes and a variety of fascinating geological phenomena.
Yoho is home to one of the most important fossil beds ever found. This is a layer of rock called the Burgess Shale, which contains fossils of about 120 species of marine animal dating about 500 million years back. The bed is a UNESCO world heritage site and is now part of the Rocky Mountains world heritage site, which includes several reserves in the area, like Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
What can be seen in Yoho National Park?
Like other parks in the Rockies, this one is also home to many animals, diverse vegetation and beds of wild flowers (in season). Unlike other parks in the Rockies, there is far less tourist traffic here.
The town of Field is located near the Park’s entrance, and is a good place for accommodations if you don’t want to go as far as Banff or Lake Louise. The main attractions are Emerald Lake (aptly named, it is green and gorgeous), Takakkaw Falls, and an interesting waterfall en-route to Emerald Lake, which carved itself a path through the chalky rock and created a kind of natural bridge over the water. The locals creatively christened it Natural Bridge.
If you’re a train buff, pay attention to the Kicking Horse mountain pass between Lake Louise and Field. To cross the high pass, Canadian engineers built a system of spiral tunnels that allow trains to gain altitude without attempting too risky a slope.
There’s a viewpoint overlooking the tunnels’ entrance and exit, and if you get there when a train is passing you’ll be able to see it peaking out of two tunnels at two different heights at once – an awe-inspiring and bewildering sight that conjures philosophic questions about Man’s place in the universe.
(Not really, but it is nice to see)
- Emerald Lake
- Iceline Trail
- Lake O’Hara
- Truffle Pigs Bistro
The largest lake in the park offers a quieter experience then the neighboring and crowded Louise and Morain lakes.
The terrain allows an easy and flat walk around the lake for a trial of about 3 miles. Another option is to rent a canoe and sail on the turquoise waters that give the lake its name.