Wapta Falls is the largest by water volume in Yoho National Park, BC, Canada.
Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park is a short, easy hike only 4.8 KM (3.0 miles) return in length if the gate is open (8.0 KM (5.0 miles) if the first gate is closed). Elevation gain is minimal from trail-head elevation of 1,000 m (3,281 ft). Access to very popular Wapta Falls is through lush, British Columbia forest on excellent quality straight path. The trail gets a bit root saturated near the falls.
Note: TransCanada Highway access to Wapta Falls, travelling west, may not be signed. There is no left turn lane, so access from the east is required when the highway is busy. The trail-head is 4.5 KM (2¾ miles) east of the Yoho National Park west gate.
The roar and thunder of the tumbling Kicking Horse River is concealed longer than expected given that Wapta Falls is the largest waterfall in Yoho National Park when measured by volume of water. The wide, more shallow waterfall exceeds the water volumes of Takakkaw Falls and Twin Falls and is equally impressive in a much different way. A labyrinth of trail leads away from the fenced area. By keeping as close to the river as possible, additional dramatic lookouts provide outstanding views of waterfall features on this brisk, early morning. There is an abundance of emotionally uplifting, negative ionization.
River access is on rocky, debris-strewn, beach but a leisurely walk to the end provides a refreshing view of Wapta Falls from the lower river level and the return hike to the base of Wapta Falls along the shoreline is a photographic bonanza.
Mount Hunter 2,615 m (8,580 ft) looms above Wapta Falls, in the distance on the walk along the beach towards Wapta Falls. Mount Hunter hosts an energetic hike to two old and abandoned fire lookouts.
Encroaching on the misty base of Wapta Falls for detailed photographs of the ponds and streams below the base of pounding, powerful water is an energizing experience which is safe on careful steps over slippery terrain employing gripping, waterproof footwear. Not for children.
Following some final views from the Kicking Horse River at the base of Wapta Falls the ascent proceeds on the main trail to the top on good-quality switchback through lush forest. This trail is better quality than the trail which follows the cliff face from the top of Wapta Falls to the beach and can be used in both directions for better and safer footing.
After yesterday's vigorous and lengthy hike from Takakkaw Falls to Walcott Quarry, this day is dedicated to a series of short hikes in more popular and crowded locations within Yoho National Park to enjoy a more restful, relaxing day of recovery.
Photographs in this post were on August 6, 2013.