During the Palliser Expedition's explorations of the West in 1858, expedition forerunner, James Hector, was kicked in the chest by a horse and stunned. He later named the nearby mountain pass Kicking Horse Pass. It is now the eastern gateway to Yoho National Park.

The Canadian Pacific Railway, whose transcontinental route travelled through the pass, built a luxury hotel and restaurant at the base of Mount Stephen to avoid pushing heavy dining cars up the mountain. This laid the groundwork for creating Mount Stephen reserve, renamed in 1901 as Yoho National Park. In 1909, the construction of the Spiral Tunnels reduced the steep and dangerous railway grade and left behind an engineering feat that visitors can still admire today.

With its 28 peaks soaring above 3,000 metres, numerous waterfalls, and world-renowned fossil beds it is no surprise Yoho was named for a Cree expression meaning “awe and wonder.”