Road to Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, Canada
photo by Jan van Raaij

Yoho National Park is British Columbia's sister to Alberta's Banff National Park, and located on the western side of the continental divide that separates the two provinces. It is located about two and a half hour's drive west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Yoho is Canada's second protected area. The Park's administrative offices are located in the town of Field, with a population of 200.

Getting there

The Trans Canada Highway bisects the park from east to west, making it easily accessible for travelers starting in Vancouver (10 hours west) or Calgary (2 hours east).


  • Natural Bridge, A water-carved bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River.

  • Spiral Tunnels Viewpoints, Closed Oct-Apr, 8 km east of Field at Kicking Horse Pass, From here you can see the trains exit and enter the spiral tunnels simultaneously

  • Takakkaw Falls, Open late June - October, Located at the end of the Yoho Valley Road which begins 3.7 km west of Field, At 384 m (1260 ft) this is the second highest known waterfall in Canada. Many hiking trails begin from the base.

  • Emerald Lake, A beautiful glacier fed lake.

Things to do


Yoho National Park is a hotbed for ice climbing, with visitors coming from around the world to climb ice in the Canadian Rockies. The town of Field is tucked between the Lake Louise ski hill and the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to the west in Golden.

Yoho Park is also popular amongst cross country enthusiasts due to the many kilometres of groomed trails and fantastic opportunities for backcountry ski touring.


Summer activities include camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking, train and wildlife watching, rock climbing and bouldering, and mountain climbing and scrambling. Also popular is the Burgess Shale Fossil Beds, a UNESCO world heritage site, where impressively preserved ancient undersea creatures give hints about the nature of life.


There are many choices for visitors to the Park, from camping, Alpine Club of Canada huts, and historic lodges to smaller lodging at bed and breakfasts, guesthomes, and chalets. The Kicking Horse Lodge is the main hotel in Field, and there is a motel found on the Trans Canada Highway.


Most lodging within the park will be found in Field.


There are four campsites in Yoho National Park, +1 250 343 6783, (, . Camping begins in May, with all campgrounds open by late June, and all closed by mid October. Exact dates vary depending on the year and the snowfall.

  • Hoodoo Creek Campground, Trans Canada Hwy 1, 22 km west of Field, 30 sites. Dry toilets, food storage, cold water hand pump. No fires permitted.

  • Kicking Horse Campground, Trans Canada Hwy 1, 3 km east of Field, 92 sites. Hot showers, toilets, wheelchair accessible. Interpretive progarm. Arrive early.

  • Monarch Campground, Yoho Valley Road, 3 km east of Field, 46 sites. Hot showers, pump toilets, wheelchair accessible, water, recycle shed.

  • Takakkaw Falls Campground, 17 km east of Field off the Takakkaw Falls access road, 300 m hike in. Pump toilets, water, kitchen shelter with stove, firewood.


The Alpine Club of Canada operates the following:

  • Elizabeth Parker Hut, Lake O'Hara

  • Abbott Pass Hut, Abbott Pass

  • Stanley Mitchell Hut, Little Yoho Valley

  • Scott Duncan Hut, on the southwest corner of Mt. Daly

Other hike-in accommodation includes:

  • Twin Falls Chalet , +1 403 228 7079

  • Lake O'Hara Lodge, +1 250 343 6418 or +1 403 678 4110 (during the offseason) , Open May-October/February-April

  • Whiskey Jack Hostel, near Takakkaw Falls , Open mid-June to mid-September. Operated by Hostelling International.

Backcountry camping is highly regulated in order to try to preserve the wilderness. You will need a backcountry pass for camping in any place other than those listed above.

Camping is permitted in the Amiskwi, Otterhead, Ice River, and Porcupine valleys. Campers must be at least 3 km from the highway, 100 m from water and 50 m from the hiking trails. You may not stay in any place for over 3 days. Campsites can be reserved up to 3 months in advance.

Lake O'Hara is a 30 site campground open from mid June to October. Reservations are required and can be made up to 3 months in advance at +1 250 343 6433. 5 sites are reserved for assignment 24 hr in advance.

For additional information, trail maps, and safety concerns, contact Yoho National Park.

  • Yoho Visitor Centre , +1 250 343 6783 , +1 250 343 6783


All passes and permits can be purchased at the Parks Office when entering the park.

Anyone stopping in the park will require a parks pass. Daily fees are $8.90/adult, $7.65/senior, $4.45/youth and $17.80/family. An annual pass is valid in 27 of the Canadian National Parks. Annual passses are $62.40/adult, $53.50/senior, $31.70/youth and $123.80/family. Generally if you plan on spending at least a week touring the parks it is better to purchase an annual pass.

A fishing permit, valid in Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho, will cost $9.90 daily or $34.65 annually.

Backcountry passes cost $9.90 overnight or $69.35 seasonally. Grazing permits are $1.70 per horse per day, or $21.75 per month.

Stay Safe

Be aware that you can and most likely will encounter all manner of wildlife, from bears to elk to mountain goats. Take the usual precautions you would while travelling in a wilderness area, and give any animals you encounter a wide berth. Travel in groups if at all possible, make lots of noise, etc. Most dangerous animals such as bears will avoid you if they hear or smell you coming.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Jan van Raaij, Frank Kovalchek, b1ubb, Sang Trinh, Kelly-Anne, LWY, Yolanda Arkilander

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Shaund, H Soles, Mort Cohen, Colin Jensen, Darren Kirby and Bjorn Freeund, Fbdave, Ssalomons and YubYub41

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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