Yoho National Park is British Columbia's sister to Alberta's Banff National Park, a world heritage site, and located on the western side of the continental divide that separates the two provinces. It is located about two and a half hour's drive west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Yoho is Canada's second protected area. The Park's administrative offices are located in the town of Field, with a population of 200.
Founded in 1886 this 1310 sq.km park is on the western side of the continental divide and offers a number of geological sites of interest. Within the part is Burgess Shale Formation contains the fossilized remains of many marine animal species. Wildlife sighting opportunities in the part include mountain goats, bears and Lynx.
Unless you are a serious hiker car is the only way into the park.
The Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) bisects the park from east to west, making it easily accessible for travellers starting in Vancouver (10 hours west) or Calgary (2 hours east), passing by Lake Louise from the East and Golden from the west.
Bus connections do not go into the park but there are possibilities to Lake Louise and Golden.
Although sightseeing trains such as the Rocky Mountaineer that go through the park and Field was originally founded because of the railway, there are no train halts in the area.
All passes and permits can be purchased at the Parks Office when entering the park.
Anyone stopping in the park will require a parks pass, which is free throughout 2017 as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation. Normal entry fees will resume in 2018. Daily fees are $8.90/adult, $7.65/senior, $4.45/youth and $17.80/family. An annual pass is valid in 27 of the Canadian National Parks. Annual passes are $62.40/adult, $53.50/senior, $31.70/youth and $123.80/family. Generally if you plan on spending at least a week touring the parks it is better to purchase an annual pass. Note that the 2017 free pass offer applies only to parks passes, and not to secondary permits such as fishing, backcountry access, grazing, etc.
A fishing permit, valid in Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho, will cost $9.90 daily or $34.65 annually.
Backcountry passes cost $9.90 overnight or $69.35 seasonally. Grazing permits are $1.70 per horse per day, or $21.75 per month.
Car and walking are the main ways of getting around. There is no public transport in the park but the park does offer a few shuttle buses to key locations and along retrieved roads. The highway is the only major road in the park. Some of the smaller side road, such as The Little Yoho Valley Road to Takakkaw Falls are closed due to snow in the winter and may not be open until around June.
- 1 Spiral Tunnels Viewpoints (8 km east of Field at Kicking Horse Pass). Closed Oct-Apr. From here you can see the trains exit and enter the spiral tunnels simultaneously
- 2 Takakkaw Falls (Located at the end of the Yoho Valley Road which begins 3.7 km west of Field). Open late June - October. At 384 m (1260 ft) this is the second highest known waterfall in Canada. Many hiking trails begin from the base.
- 3 Wapta Falls. 30 metres high and 150 metres wide waterfall on the Kicking Horse River
- Emerald Lake. A beautiful glacier fed lake.
- Natural Bridge. A water-carved bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River.
- Kicking Horse Pass. National Historic Site of Canada. Narrow pass with an interesting rail history.
- Lake O’Hara.
- Burgess Shale Fossil Beds.
Hiking and sightseeing are the reasons for coming to Yoho.
Yoho National Park is a hotbed for ice climbing, with visitors coming from around the world to climb ice in the Canadian Rockies. The town of Field is tucked between the Lake Louise ski hill and the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to the west in Golden.
Yoho Park is also popular amongst cross country enthusiasts due to the many kilometres of groomed trails and fantastic opportunities for backcountry ski touring.
Summer activities include camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking, train and wildlife watching, rock climbing and bouldering, and mountain climbing and scrambling. Also popular is the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds, a UNESCO world heritage site, where impressively preserved ancient undersea creatures give hints about the nature of life. PLEASE NOTE that the Shale is very well-protected, and if you want to see it, you have to be at the Fields visitor centre by 7:30 am; it's a 7-hour guided hike and CAN$55.
Not a hopping destination, but there are a few souvenir shops in Field
- 1 Mount Burgess Dining Room, Emerald Lake Lodge, ☎ .
- Riverside Dining Room, Cathedral Mountain Lodge.
Drinking water is available at the campsites. See eat above for beverages.
There are many choices for visitors to the Park, from camping, Alpine Club of Canada huts, and historic lodges to smaller lodging at bed and breakfasts, guest homes and chalets. The Kicking Horse Lodge is the main hotel in Field, and there is a motel found on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Most lodging within the park will be found in Field.
- 1 Emerald Lake Lodge, 1 Emerald Lake Drive, ☎ .
- 2 Cathedral Mountain Lodge, 1 Yoho Valley Rd, ☎ .
- 3 The Great Divide Lodge, ☎ .
There are four campsites in Yoho National Park, +1 250 343-6783, (email@example.com). Camping begins in May, with all campgrounds open by late June, and all closed by mid October. Exact dates vary depending on the year and the snowfall.
- Hoodoo Creek Campground, Trans Canada Hwy 1 (22 km west of Field). 30 sites. Dry toilets, food storage, cold water hand pump. No fires permitted. $20.80/night.
- Kicking Horse Campground, Trans Canada Hwy 1 (3 km east of Field). 92 sites. Hot showers, toilets, wheelchair accessible. Interpretive progarm. Arrive early. $25.75/night.
- Monarch Campground, Yoho Valley Road (3 km east of Field). 46 sites. Hot showers, pump toilets, wheelchair accessible, water, recycle shed. $16.80/night.
- Takakkaw Falls Campground (17 km east of Field off the Takakkaw Falls access road). 300 m hike in. Pump toilets, water, kitchen shelter with stove, firewood. $16.80/night.
The Alpine Club of Canada operates the following:
- Elizabeth Parker Hut (Lake O'Hara).
- Abbott Pass Hut (Abbott Pass).
- Stanley Mitchell Hut (Little Yoho Valley).
- Scott Duncan Hut (on the southwest corner of Mt. Daly).
Other hike-in accommodation includes:
- Twin Falls Chalet, ☎ .
- Lake O'Hara Lodge, ☎ , (during the off-season). Open May-October/February-April
- Whiskey Jack Hostel (near Takakkaw Falls). Open mid-June to mid-September. Operated by Hostelling International.
Backcountry camping is highly regulated in order to try to preserve the wilderness. You will need a backcountry pass for camping in any place other than those listed above.
Camping is permitted in the Amiskwi, Otterhead, Ice River, and Porcupine valleys. Campers must be at least 3 km from the highway, 100 m from water and 50 m from the hiking trails. You may not stay in any place for over 3 days. Campsites can be reserved up to 3 months in advance.
Lake O'Hara is a 30 site campground open from mid June to October. Reservations are required and can be made up to 3 months in advance at +1 250 343-6433. 5 sites are reserved for assignment 24 hr in advance.
For additional information, trail maps, and safety concerns, contact Yoho National Park.
Mobile phone connection available around the settlement of Field but nowhere else in the park.
Be aware that you can and most likely will encounter all manner of wildlife, from bears to elk to mountain goats. Take the usual precautions you would while travelling in a wilderness area, and give any animals you encounter a wide berth. Travel in groups if at all possible, make lots of noise, etc. Most dangerous animals such as bears will avoid you if they hear or smell you coming.
|Routes through Yoho National Park|
|Kamloops ← Golden ←||W E||→ Field → Calgary|