Sitting at a picnic table when we arrived at Yoho with the rain gently falling - who should appear but this little fellow - he was a lot more timid than his Banff cousins but still kept appearing from behind the trees to let me capture him on film. Just as we were heading back to the car park after spending a lovely day here we spotted a red squirrel, he seemed unperturbed by our presence and just got on with his munchings. The red squirrel goes by two other names = the pine squirrel and my favourite the chickaree
Whether you like hiking trails or just a bit of a meander in Summer sunshine or maybe, as in our case, sunshine and showers, Yo Ho National Park and near by Emerald lake fits the bill perfectly. Summers are sadly very short in this part of the Canadian Rockies making July and August the busiest times. We took a walk around the lovely Emerald Lake and were delighted to come across so many colourful and varied wild flowers. The plants and flowers perfume the air and make good use of the short growing season by producing their pretty flowers in abundance
At Emerald Lake there is a lot of information on Mount Burgess. The mountain's shale contains the worlds richest deposits of rare fossils found by Charles Doolittle Walcott in 1909. Hard to imagine sea creatures on top of a mountain side, the fossils have been resting here since dinosaurs walked the Earth. This is a protected area and must be treated with respect - it is illegal to remove any rocks from the mountains. If every visitor just took even a tiny piece it wouldn't be there and history would be lost to all of us.
It was cloudy with rain when we decided to take the twenty five mile drive from Lake Louise to Alberta's neighbouring province of British Columbia. The drive from Lake Louise to Golden is a very scenic one indeed passing through the wonderful mountain scenery of the massive Continental Divide. We stopped in a layby to view Cathedral Mountain as she towered with her snow covered peaks into the skies. The rain stopping for a while to let the summer sun peak through the clouds - a nice welcome for us to BC
This legendary beauty takes a little work to get to. I hesitated to put this tip on my page, but part of me is torn to share this wonderous place with others. Even though coming here takes some planning, just remember one day you will stand on a cliff overlooking Lake O'Hara and thank your God that places like this exist. The layer upon layer of breathtaking scenery, turquoise water, waterfalls, and A-list hiking make this destination a top life-time experience.
There is a huge bear population here, so don' t be surprised if some trails are closed off due to bear sightings. Other wildlife you might see are picas, marmots, and snowy-white mountain goats. The other not-so-pleasant wildlife are biting deer flies. If you don't hike, plan to spend up to 4 hours here; if you do hike, you may never want to go home.
Access to the Lake O'Hara region is closely regulated by the Park Service for many reasons, including keeping this area as pristine as possible and letting wildlife live with as little disturbance as possible. Only 42 day users are allowed per day, so it does take a little planning to get here. Please carefully read the website below for details on reserving for your trip here; access is only by the Parks bus system.
Emerald Lake is the "jewel" of Yoho National Park. it's incredible green color is created by glacial rock flour, which positively glows in the right light. The lake can look pretty ordinary or blow you away, depending on what time of day you are there. Unfortunately, this lake is a huge tourist draw; the best time to come is in late May, when the ice is off the water, and the summer tourist crowds haven't come yet. September/October is a great time to visit as well.
There is a 5 km scenic, flat trail that goes right around the lake, and takes about an hour to hike at a fairly brisk walk. A fair part of the trail is wheelchair accessible. Many other more difficult hiking trails start off from Emerald Lake as well. On a hot summer day, the water just gets warm enough to take a quick dip.
The rustic upscale Emerald Lake Lodge is located along it's shores, and it is worth it to stop by and spend some time by the lake, then have lunch at the lodge and envy those people who get to stay and wake up to it's beauty on a daily basis.
The Natural Bridge is located not too far from Emerald Lake. It was formed by the natural force of the Kicking Horse River for thousands of years on the limestone rock. This isn't a picture of Natural Bridge at it's best, as spring melt wasn't in full force yet, but can give you an idea of how forceful the water can be.
It's tempting to try and get a picture of onseself on the bridge, as I have found many tourists trying to attempt, but it's very dangerous to go past the fenced areas. The rock can be quite slippery due to water mist or spray, and a fall can be fatal here.
There is a small hiking trail around the area.
"Wapta" means in "running water" in Stony Indian, and these magnificent falls are a very nice diversion plus a great chance to stretch your legs if you are on a long road trip. The trail from the parking lot is about 50 min to walk or 2.5 km, and is quite easy.
The Iceline Trail is a premier hiking trail that starts near Takkakaw Falls. If you can do one hike in this area, this is it. This hike I would classify as high moderate, so something not to attempt if you are only used to strolling around the block. The trail covers a 22 km loop, but most people are satisfied with hiking up to Emerald Glacier, and wandering around the moraines.
If you do make it here, the vistas are fabulous; you get to snuggle up close to a glacier, and you feel like you're in Mother Nature's living room. The seating under Emerald Glacier is naturally formed step-like sofas out of rock along glacial moraines, and your "tv" is watching mini avalanches coming off from the glacier. It's great fun to explore the moraines and discover little waterfalls here and there, coming off the melting glacier.
One of the highest waterfalls in Canada, Takkakaw Falls is a highly-visited area, but very much worth the trip. You can visit late June to early October, and be forewarned that the road is very steep with lots of switchbacks.
Some very scenic hikes also start from Takkakaw Falls (more on the difficult side), but there is some foot paths that do go around and near the falls. I do recommend you bring hand sanitizer if you wish to use the facilities, as more often than not, the water for the sinks is not working.
As the water found it's way through
cracks in the rock it gradually enlarged them and thus cutting a new channel.
Today ,except at extreme high water ,the river flows beneath of the top of the former waterfall, leaving it suspended as a bridge.
Over time the passage will deepen,and eventually the bridge will collapse ,and create a Gorge.
Emerald lake was discovered in 1882 by legendary guide Tom Wilson .This beatiful lake is coloured Emerald due to the run of off water from the Glaciers in the area ,as Glacial Ice melts the run off desolves small particles of powdered rock commonly known as Rockflour .
Rockflour makes the lake quiet murky but extremely beautiful.
As you can se in the picture ,the reflections on the water are beautiful, it is just lke a mirror ,you can see the trees and cottages reflected in the water.
This lake so clean and it has been kept clean by taking all debris from the lake bottom by scuba divers.
In the 1920's this Lodge had been extended .
Road improvements were made to make the Lodge excessible by car.
In 1986 more extensive renovations were made to the Lodge,and this Lodge is now an exclusive year round vacation and business destination.The Lodge has stone fire places , a formal dining room and and reading room and it has a conference room,and meeting room.There is a Lounge
with a oak bar that has been salvaged from an 1890's Yukon Saloon.
After coming from Emerald Lake , a short distance further you will find this beautiful picnic area called FinnCreek .
It is worth to stop at this rest area ,it is very beautiful, and a River aligned with Rocks runs thought this area.