Yoho Lake is an alpine gem in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
An early start in darkness begins from Palliser Lodge in Kicking Horse Mountain Resort above Golden, BC for the hour and a half drive to our meeting place at the Takakkaw Falls parking area in Yoho National Park. All participants in this guided group hike are assembled and briefed for the lengthy 22 KM (13¾ mile) round trip hike to Walcott Quarry on the far side of 2,778 m (9,114 ft) Wapta Mountain. This post will photo document the first leg of the trek to Yoho Lake. Elevation gain from Takakkaw Falls will be about 300 m (984 ft) over 3.9 KM (2⅜ miles) to maximum elevation at Yoho Lake of 1,815 m (5,955 ft).
The hike begins promptly at 7:30 AM in the misty, cool, damp air of Yoho Valley. The trail-head is clearly marked at the south end of the parking area past spectacular Takakkaw Falls. Within a short distance, there is a great view of Wapta Mountain in the far distance until a shallow descent past a rise swings right directly towards a magnificent view of 2,696 m (8,845 ft) Michael Peak enhanced by a waterfall and a horizontal cloud. Crossing Yoho Valley Road passes the Whiskey Jack Hostel prior to a moderate climb on mixed, rough trail switch backing through dense, lush forest.
As elevation is gained on the trail to Yoho Lake, looking back in the occasional clear area provides outstanding views of Takakkaw Falls and 2,695 m (8,842 ft.) Mount Ogden. At the 1.1 KM (¾ mile) mark, the passes the branch left for the 1.6 KM (1.0 mile) hike into Hidden Lake but there will be insufficient time to hike that short trail today. Shortly after, the Yoho Lake trail bears left at the world-class and very popular Iceline Trail junction to continue the hike to Yoho Lake.
Occasional stops for rest, refreshment and a guide historical presentation yield this view as the sun rises over mountains and begins to evaporate the mist in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
When vertical progress exceeds the height of Takakkaw Falls, there is the opportunity to periodically look back at the Daly Glacier toe of the massive Waputik Icefield. The long lens provides more detail of the massive glacier which is the perennial source of water flow for Takakkaw Falls. Translation in the Cree language equates 'Takakkaw' to 'it is magnificent'. No argument there. This 384 m (1,260 ft) permanent, measured waterfall is the third highest in Canada.
When the trail levels, a plank bridge keeps footwear dry crossing shallow drainages on the approach to Yoho Lake. A stop occurs at Yoho Lake in the Yoho Lake Backcountry Campground to rest, take pictures of this pristine subalpine, emerald gem, enjoy a bit of nourishment and take advantage of the formal bathroom facility.
Yoho Lake is incredibly beautiful with crystal clear, glacial-fed, cold water. Perfectly still water melds reflections on the surface with lake bottom detail. The aura is peaceful.
The backcountry campground is busy. People packing up and moving on are being replaced with new arrivals. There are many multiple day backpacking routes in Yoho National Park. The park is well maintained and internationally famous.
A bronze plaque in stone pillar recognizes the Alpine Club of Canada held its first camp here in 1906. Yoho Lake Backcountry Campground is a popular destination in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
From Yoho Lake there is a clear view of Wapta Mountain which motivates the continuation of this hike to Walcott Quarry, on the other side, via 1,815 m (5,955 ft) Yoho Pass. The scenery currently being enjoyed here is only a subtle prelude to the spectacle which will unfold over the next few hours.
The nature of this group hike endeavor requires a disciplined pace to achieve the distance and elevation in a single day. Opportunities to stop for pictures are often limited. At rest stops, the vistas are breathtaking as the hike continues to Walcott Quarry.
Today's photographs were captured on August 5, 2013. The best are yet to come.