Wapta Falls is located at the south-west corner of Yoho National Park on the south side of the TransCanada Hwy about 4.5 KM (2.8 miles) inside the West Gate. The 2 KM (1.25 mile) access road is open in the summer and the easy hike, on nearly flat, well-trodden trail, is only 4.5 KM (2.8 miles) return. I am still feeling the effects of yesterday’s aggressive hike from Takakkaw Falls to Twin Falls so, this morning, it will be a stroll in hiking sandals for me.
After a hearty breakfast in Golden, I fill the car with gas and pay 13 cents per litre more than I would have paid yesterday. Duh, good planning! HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) is implemented in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario effective today. No comment.
The drive out of Golden, east on the TransCanada, is always spectacular and paradoxical. Speed limits on the highway are interspersed with warning signs. If you drive near the limit, through complex, highway-twinning, construction zones, it is possible you may not survive. The scenery is spectacular as elevation is gained rapidly. Construction on the twinning of the highway is proceeding well but there is a lot left to do in this challenging area which in my mind competes favourably with the Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana or the Tioga Pass Road approaching Yosemite National Park in California. The twisting, turning, rollercoaster road clings to cliff sides and there is that ominous feeling that, at any moment, a mountain may collapse on you. You want to absorb the incredible vistas but you really must not if you are driving.
It is a 1.7 KM (1.1 mile) hike to the upper viewpoint and an additional kilometre (0.63 mile) hike down to the shore of the Kicking Horse River, famous for some of the best white water rafting in the world.
Wapta Falls is on the Ice River which feeds into the Kicking Horse River. It is not a high falls but it is wide and it is the largest waterfall in Yoho National Park when rated by volume of water. It roars and it is a beautiful sight. The best views and photo opportunities are from the base of the falls, well worth the short hike down.
The return hike to the trailhead allows me to capture an image of a very rare occurrence. Very few people ever witness this because it happens so rapidly. I am unusually fortunate to get a photograph of a tree giving birth to a new tree.
Following this leisurely excursion I return to the TransCanada Highway and drive a little further east and into the very beautiful and world-famous Emerald Lake area of Yoho National Park.