Coronavirus (COVID-19): All Parks Canada facilities are temporarily closed, all visitor services and all motor vehicle access by visitors are suspended until further notice.

For maps, detailed route finding and trail descriptions, visit the Yoho Visitor Centre or purchase a hiking guide book and topographical map. Note: There is limited cell service in Yoho National Park.


Safety

Safety is your responsibility. There are always hazards associated with outdoor recreation. Even short trips can have serious consequences. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

  • Check the weather forecast, current trail conditions, warnings and closures or visit a Parks Canada visitor centre.
  • Be prepared for emergencies and changes in weather. Mountain weather changes quickly and it can snow any month of the year. Dress in layers, bring extra food and warm clothing.
  • Study descriptions and maps before heading out. Always choose a trail suitable for the least experienced member in your group.
  • Bring your own water. Surface water may be contaminated and unsafe for drinking.
  • Carry a first aid kit and bear spray.
  • Tell a reliable person where you are going, when you will be back, and who to call if you do not return: Parks Canada Dispatch – 403-762-1470.
  • Ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present in the park. It is important to check yourself and your pet after hiking.
  • Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones. Be alert at all times.
  • In case of EMERGENCY, call 911 or satellite phone: 403-762-4506. Cell phone coverage is not reliable throughout the national park.

Snowy trails

Snow can remain on some trails well into the summer. When trails are snow covered, route finding can be difficult and travel through deep snow or on hard snow and ice can be unsafe. Be prepared and check trail conditions before heading out.

Seasonal avalanche risk

Trails above tree line (2,000 m) may be exposed to avalanche hazard at any time of the year and especially from November through June. Steep slopes that are snow covered have the potential to avalanche. For more information on the avalanche hazard, visit a Parks Canada visitor centre or check the Mountain Safety section.


Recommended Packing List
  • Trail guide and map
  • Full water bottle or thermos
  • High energy food
  • Bear spray
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Hat and gloves
  • Hiking poles
  • Rain/wind jacket
  • Extra warm clothing in case of an emergency
  • Cell phone or satellite emergency communication device.
Trail Etiquette

Show courtesy to fellow trail users!

  • Leave what you find —it is the law. Natural and cultural resources such as rocks, fossils, artifacts, horns, antlers, wildflowers and nests are protected by law and must be left undisturbed for others to discover and enjoy. 
  • Dispose of human waste at least 100 m from any water source. Bury solid human waste in a hole 15 cm deep. Pack out your toilet paper. 
  • To prevent damage to vegetation, stay on designated trails at all times. 
  • Trails are used by a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to yield to others. 
  • Leave no trace. Pack out everything you pack in.
Wildlife and people

Yoho National Park is home to wildlife including elk, wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and black bears. To successfully raise their young and sustain a healthy population, wildlife need access to as much quality habitat with as few human surprises as possible.

Be aware of possible encounters with wildlife in all areas of the park, including paved trails and roads.

Tips

  • Always carry bear spray, ensure it is accessible, and know how to use it before heading out.
  • Make noise. Being quiet puts you at risk for sudden wildlife encounters. Be alert through shrubby areas and when approaching blind corners. Travel in tight groups and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Report bear, cougar, wolf and coyote sightings and encounters to Parks Canada Dispatch when it is safe to do so: 403-762-1470.
  • Keep dogs on leash and under control at all times.

More information

Trail Ratings

Trail rating = easy

Easy

  • Suitable for those with little or no trail experience.
  • Flat to gently rolling with no obstacles.
  • Little or no elevation gain or loss.

trail rating = moderate

Moderate

  • Suitable for those with basic trail experience.
  • Gently rolling with short, steep sections and infrequent obstacles.
  • Moderate elevation gain or loss.

trail rating = difficult

Difficult

  • Suitable only for those with trail experience.
  • Long, steep sections with frequent obstacles.
  • Major elevation gain or loss.
Estimated time to complete these trails ranges depending on trail distances, fitness levels, weather and trail conditions.
Map: Yoho National Park Backcountry Guide
Yoho National Park Backcountry Guide

 

 

Day hiking trails
Trail
 
Distance (return) Time (return) Elevation gain
Trail rating = easy Sherbrooke Lake 6.2 km 3 hours 165 m
Trail rating = easy Laughing Falls 7.8 km 3.5 hours 125 m
trail rating = moderate Kicking Horse to Otterhead 12.6 km 4.5 hours 40 m
trail rating = moderate Mt. Hunter Lower Lookout 7.2 km 3 hours 410 m
trail rating = moderate Mt. Hunter Upper Lookout 12 km 5.5 hours 885 m
trail rating = moderate Hoodoos 5.2 km 2.5 hours 325 m
trail rating = moderate Emerald Basin 9.2 km 3.5 hours 225 m
trail rating = moderate Paget Lookout 7 km 3 hours 520 m
trail rating = moderate Hamilton Lake 11 km 5 hours 850 m
trail rating = moderate Yoho Pass 12.8 km 5 hours 530 m
trail rating = moderate Twin Falls 16.4 km 6 hours 300 m
trail rating = moderate Ottertail Valley to McArthur Creek 32.4 km 9 hours 285 m
trail rating = difficult Emerald Triangle 19.7 km 8 hours 880 m
trail rating = difficult Iceline via Little Yoho 20.8 km 8 hours 710 m
trail rating = difficult Iceline via Celeste Lake 17.5 km 7 hours 695 m
trail rating = difficult Yoho Glacier Moraine 16.8 km 7 hours 250 m
trail rating = difficult Whaleback 21.3 km 7.5 hours 700 m
trail rating = difficult Little Yoho Valley 18.6 km 7 hours 520 m


Thanks to an ongoing collaboration between Parks Canada and Google, you can now explore some Yoho National Park highlights using Street View for Google Maps.

Trail Descriptions

Trail rating = easy Easy Trails

Trail rating = easy Sherbrooke Lake

Length: 6.2 km
Hiking time: 2.5 hours
Elevation: 165 m
Trailhead: Parking lot on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway, 11 km east of Field, B.C. across from Wapta Lake. (map)

Habitat: Typical Rocky Mountain forest with avalanche debris at the lake. Part of an important wildlife corridor. 
Description: A moderate, forested hike to a glacial lake rimmed with thick vegetation and avalanche debris.


Trail rating = easy Laughing Falls

Length: 8.8 km
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation: 125 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. Note: Yoho Valley Road is open seasonally from mid-June through mid-October. Due to tight switchbacks, RVs and trailers are not permitted. (map

Habitat: Typical Yoho forest with moist groundcover. Watch for the very large fallen tree en route.
Description: A forested trail to a waterfall at the confluence of the Yoho and Little Yoho Rivers.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the Laughing Falls backcountry campround and is an access point for popular multiday backpacking routes.

trail rating = moderate Moderate Trails

trail rating = moderate Kicking Horse to Otterhead

Length: 12.6 km
Hiking time: 4.5 hours
Elevation: 40 m
Trailhead: Natural Bridge parking lot, 4 km west of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road. (map)

Habitat: At the confluence of three important valleys. Watch for wolf tracks.
Description: Walk or cycle an old fire road along the Kicking Horse River to the Otterhead River.


trail rating = moderate Mt. Hunter Lookout

Length: 7.2 km
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation: 410 m
Trailhead: Across from Wapta Falls Road, 25 km west of Field, B.C. on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. (map

Habitat: Forest leading to a fire lookout. Watch for artifacts from earlier eras.
Description: A steep trail through an open forest to a historic fire lookout tower.


trail rating = moderate Mt. Hunter Upper Lookout

Length: 12 km
Hiking time: 5.5 hours
Elevation: 835 m
Trailhead: Across from Wapta Falls Road, 25 km west of Field, B.C. on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. (map

Habitat: A drier, more exposed forest leading to a fire lookout and rocky ridge beyond.
Description: A steep trail to a historic fire lookout tower and beyond to views of the Kicking Horse and Beaverfoot Valleys.


trail rating = moderate Hoodoos

Length: 5.2 km
Hiking time: 2.5 hours
Elevation: 325 m
Trailhead: Hoodoo Creek Campground, 23 km west of Field, B.C. on the Trans-Canada Highway. (map

Habitat: Watch for goat licks in the dry, light coloured soil here under the roots of trees.
Description: A steep, dry, exposed trail leading to hoodoos or capped pillars of glacial debris.


trail rating = moderate Emerald Basin

Length: 9.2 km
Hiking time: 3.5 hours
Elevation: 225 m
Trailhead: Emerald Lake parking lot, 10 km west of Field via the Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road. (map

Habitat: Lush forest, at times dense, climbing a lateral moraine to a hydrological basin and avalanche paths. Watch for bears.
Description: Start along the shore of Emerald Lake then travel through ancient stands of hemlock and cedar to a natural amphitheatre.


trail rating = moderate Paget Lookout

Length: 7 km
Hiking time: 3 hours
Elevation: 520 m
Trailhead: Parking lot across from Wapta Lake, 11 km east of Field, B.C. or 15 km west of Lake Louise, on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. (map

Habitat: Lush forest rising into the subalpine. Watch for mountain goats on Mt. Bosworth.
Description: A steep, rocky trail to views of the Bow, Cataract Book and Kicking Horse Valleys.


trail rating = moderate Hamilton Lake

Length: 11 km
Hiking time: 5 hours
Elevation: 850 m
Trailhead: Emerald Lake parking lot, 10 km west of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road. (map

Habitat: Lush forest rising steeply into subalpine and rocky alpine habitats. Watch for spruce grouse.
Description: A steep and steady climb to a classic, cliff-encircled alpine tarn.


trail rating = moderate Yoho Pass

Length: 12.8 km
Hiking time: 5 hours
Elevation: 530 m
Trailhead: Emerald Lake parking lot, 10 km west of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road -OR- Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. Note: Yoho Valley Road is open mid-June through mid-October. RVs and Trailers are not permitted due to steep switchbacks. (map

Habitat: Lush Columbian forest. Watch for goats on the Burgess Highline.
Description: A lakeshore stroll to an alluvial fan, followed by switchbacks and waterfalls. Shuttle recommended. This trail joins with others in the Takakkaw Falls area.

Backpacking: There is a backcountry campround at Yoho Pass. This trail links the Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls areas.


trail rating = moderate Twin Falls

Length: 16.4 km
Hiking time: 6 hours
Elevation: 300 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km northeast of Field via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. Note: Yoho Valley Road is open mid-June through mid-October. RVs and trailers are not permitted due to steep switchbacks. (map

Habitat: Drier, Rocky Mountain forest. Watch for goats above the falls.
Description: This forested trail passes Laughing Falls and carries on along the Yoho River to a spectacular double cascade and Twin Falls Tea House National Historic Site.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the Laughing Falls and Twin Falls backcountry camprounds.


trail rating = moderate Ottertail Valley to McArthur Creek

Length: 32.4 km
Hiking time: 9 hours
Elevation: 285 m
Trailhead: Ottertail Parking lot, 8.3 km west of Field, B.C. on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway. (map

Habitat: Sensitive and important wildlife habitat. Watch for bears, wolves, and goats.
Description: Walk or cycle up the Ottertail River to its confluence with McArthur Creek.

Backpacking: This trail leads to the McArthur Creek backcountry campround.

trail rating = difficult Difficult Trails

trail rating = difficult Emerald Triangle

Length: 19.7 km
Hiking time: 8 hours
Elevation: 880 m
Trailhead: Emerald Lake parking lot, 10 km west of Field, B.C. via Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road. (map

Habitat: Columbian forest and alpine habitats. Watch for mountain goats.
Description: Steady climbs and descents to both Yoho and Burgess Passes with the Wapta Highline in between. Grand views of the Emerald Valley.


trail rating = difficult Iceline via Little Yoho

Length: 20.8 km
Hiking time: 8 hours
Elevation: 710 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. Note: Yoho Valley Road is open mid-June through mid-October. RVs and trailers are not permitted due to steep switchbacks. (map

Habitat: Glacial moraines in the high alpine. Watch for small mammals in subalpine rockpiles.
Description: A signature circuit climbing to a high bench with spectacular glacier views, descending to meadows in the Little Yoho Valley and returning past Laughing Falls in the Yoho Valley.

Backpacking: This trail passes the Little Yoho and Laughing Falls backcountry camprounds.


trail rating = difficult Iceline via Celeste Lake

Length: 17.5 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 710 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. (map

Habitat: Typical Rocky Mountain forest climbing to a subalpine lake. Watch for birds and small mammals.
Description: A slightly shorter descent from the classic Iceline circuit, bypassing the Little Yoho Valley but taking in Celeste Lake, alpine meadows and sub-alpine forest.

Backpacking: This trail passes the Laughing Falls backcountry campround.


trail rating = difficult Yoho Glacier Moraine

Length: 16.8 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 250 m
Trailhead: Emerald Lake parking lot, 10 km west of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Emerald Lake Road. (map

Habitat: Watch for goats above Twin Falls and small mammals, such as pika, in the rocky moraine.
Description: Walk though lush valley forests to the stark, rocky landscape of a receding glacier.


trail rating = difficult Whaleback

Length: 21.3 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 520 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. (map

Habitat: Sensitive alpine vegetation and good goat habitat. Watch for goat hair on the trees in the spring.
Description: A classic circuit taking in the Yoho Valley and Twin Falls from both above and below. Seasonal suspension bridge – check the trail report to ensure it is in.

Backpacking: This trail leads to Twin Falls backcountry campround.


trail rating = difficult Little Yoho Valley

Length: 18.6 km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Elevation: 520 m
Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot, 17 km east of Field, B.C. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. (map

Habitat: Subalpine hanging valley. Good place to watch small mammals.
Description: A moderate to steep forested hike into a scenic hanging valley on the doorstep of many alpine climbs.

Backpacking: This trail includes the Laughing Falls and Little Yoho backcountry camprounds, as well as Stanley Mitchell Hut. Reservations for the hut are required and can be made in advance through the Alpine Club of Canada.