Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Emerald Lake Trail, Yoho National Park, BC, Canada

We decided to go to Yoho National Park, and walk the Emerald Lake trail. First let’s talk about Emerald Lake. This is a very popular and frequented lake, so get there early. There are accommodations and boat rentals. There is a nice paved path around the left side of the lake. This path will eventually meet up with the trail on the other side of the lake to make a complete loop. This gives great views of the Burgess fossil beds, glaciers and the mountains that frame this beautiful aqua blue lake. It doesn’t take long on this trail to leave the tour bus crowds behind. The left side of the lake trail is much shorter than the trail on the opposite side, so if you want to see the end of the lake and don’t have the time to do the complete lake loop then take the same trail back.

We took the Emerald Lake hike up to Yoho Pass and waterfall. This hike starts with the paved Lake trail starting in the parking lot. Take the paved trail to the end of the lake this is about one third of the hike. Watch the signs for the Yoho Pass trail. This is in the middle of the alluvial fan. This trail take you further up the valley and through the alluvial fan. There are many parts where you cross running water using wooden planks and many other places where you will need to jump over small branches of the creeks. This area was very passable because most the creek beds were dry, but this might not this the same if you try it during the spring run-off. Continue on the trail until you reach the base of Yoho Pass and start climbing. This is where the hike went from easy to moderately difficult. Now you are about two thirds of the way to the waterfall. You continue via many switch backs until you reach the waterfall. Behind the waterfall is an amazing vertical wall of rock. It’s an interesting perspective to be at the bottom looking up. From this view point, there are great views of the lake and the entire valley and surround mountains. Continuing further you will reach the Burgess trail and if you go over the pass you will reach Takkawaka falls.

Tips: Go early to beat the tour bus crowds if you are just hiking the paved side (left side) of the lake.

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