After relaxing in Cochrane for a few days visiting with our old friends Pat and Harry in Calgary we decided to head back into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park. Along the way we stopped at the famous Spiral Tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass.
The Spiral Tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass are an engineering marvel that were built in the early 1900s to help trains navigate the steep grades of the Canadian Rockies. The tunnels were designed in a spiral shape to reduce the gradient of the tracks and make it easier for trains to climb the steep mountains. The tunnels were considered a major accomplishment of their time, and today they continue to be a popular tourist destination for those traveling through the Canadian Rockies.
Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is a stunning body of water surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests. The area has a rich history dating back thousands of years, with indigenous peoples using the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering. In the late 1800s, European settlers began exploring the area and were struck by the natural beauty of Emerald Lake. Today, the lake is a popular tourist destination and a key feature of Yoho National Park, attracting thousands of visitors each year to enjoy its serene beauty and abundant recreational opportunities.
The Emerald Basin hike into the President Range is a stunning trail that takes you through lush forest and scenic views of the surrounding mountains. On this particular day, the weather was perfect for a hike, with clear blue skies and a gentle breeze. As we started our hike along the shoreline of the tranquil Emerald lake, we were blessed with magnificent views of the lake which was dotted with canoeists paddling through the emerald green water. We made our way to the end of the lake, where we took the side trail up to the Emerald Basin. The trail became steeper and more challenging, but the stunning views made it all worth it.
As we climbed higher, the lush forest gave way to rolling hills and flatter areas of scree, a favourite hangout of marmots and pikas. The President Range rose up in the distance, towering above us with the remnants of Emerald Glacier visible between the major peaks. We took breaks along the way to catch our breath and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Finally, after a fairly strenuous hike, we reached the Emerald Basin. The basin was a flat area surrounded by towering mountains. After a pleasant lunch we spent some time exploring the area, taking in the views, and taking photos to capture the moment.
We hiked back down to Emerald Lake and continued our walk around the lake back to the Emerald Lake Lodge. The lake views and reflections were outstanding. At the lodge we had a fabulous meal and a few cold beers. On our way back to the car we watched a wedding ceremony at the edge of the lake with a string quartet playing perfect music for this idyllic setting. Click on thumbnail to view image
After leaving, we made a stop at the Natural Bridge, a unique and captivating geological formation. The Natural Bridge is a rock arch that was formed over thousands of years as the rushing waters of Kicking Horse River eroded away the softer rock, leaving behind the harder limestone bridge.
The bridge is a popular tourist destination and is said to have been used by the indigenous people of the area for centuries as a crossing point over the river. In the late 1800s, the area around the Natural Bridge was settled by European settlers and the bridge soon became a major tourist attraction. Click on thumbnail to view image
Our last stop in Yoho National Park was the majestic Takakkaw Falls. This incredible waterfall is one of the tallest in Canada, with a height of 384 meters (1,260 feet). The name “Takakkaw” means “magnificent” in the indigenous language of the area, and it is easy to see why.
Takakkaw Falls is fed by the Daly Glacier and its icy waters plummet down the cliff face, creating a breathtaking sight. The falls are located in a deep valley surrounded by towering peaks, adding to the already awe-inspiring atmosphere.
We hiked up to the base of the falls just as the sun was setting, and it was a truly spectacular sight. The power of the falling water was palpable, and we could feel the mist from the falls on our faces. It was a truly unforgettable experience, and I would highly recommend a visit to Takakkaw Falls to anyone visiting Yoho National Park.
After taking in the beauty of the falls, we made the long drive back to Cochrane, Alberta, but the memories of Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls and the rest of our adventures in Yoho National Park will stay with us forever. Click on thumbnail to view image