Emerald Basin resides beneath Presidential Mountains in Yoho National Park, BC.
The trail to Emerald Basin begins 1.6 KM (one mile) from the Emerald Lake Circuit trail-head on a clockwise route from the far end of the Emerald Lake Lodge parking area in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
The Emerald Basin trail-head is well signed and the first 0.6 KM (⅜ mile) is flat on well-traveled gravel before entering forest on the left to a fairly stiff 130 m (427 ft) ascent, on more challenging rocky trail, up an ancient, heavily forested, lateral moraine. The trail levels a bit prior to proceeding through a short section of incredibly beautiful, old-growth forest of Douglas Fir, Cedar and Spruce, before climbing another 90 m (295 ft) into gorgeous, tight, and heavy shrubbery.
The trail soon pops out from the dense and aromatic growth into wide-open Emerald Basin.
The floor of the huge amphitheater is scree, routinely swept clean throughout the winter by avalanches from the steep walls of Mount Marpole (2,997 m; 9,833 ft) on the left, The President (3,138 m; 10,295 ft) and The Vice President (3,066 m; 10,059 ft) encasing Emerald Glacier directly ahead, and Michael Peak (2,696 m; 8,845 ft) to the right.
During the hike into the broad, spectacular bowl, the glacier view diminishes and the sound from waterfalls and streams intensifies from echoes within combined with closer proximity. Emerald Glacier, once hanging down the mountain sides, has retreated over past years, so the farther the hike proceeds into the basin, the view of the glacier above diminishes and disappears.
The reverse hike is quick and past a few people on their ascent. The continuation of the Emerald Lake Circuit offers nice views, under heavy skies, across Emerald Lake towards Emerald Lake Lodge and there are occasional drops of rain.