Hamilton Falls is an easy hike near Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, BC, Canada.
Following the short stroll at the old Mount Field Kicking Horse Mines the drive west on the TransCanada Highway to exit past Field onto Emerald Lake Road to enjoy our packed lunch at an Emerald Lake picnic table with incredible views of this emerald jewel surrounded by magnificent glaciated mountains. Emerald Lake is a special place.
From the shore of Emerald Lake there is a view east to Wapta Mountain. Since the hike from Takakkaw Falls to Walcott Quarry yesterday, the quarries location is visible from Emerald Lake. There is a viewing telescope nearby which helps to locate the tiny fossil site on the flank of Wapta Mountain. Memories of yesterday's long, full day hike to the quarry are fresh and tired legs are receiving a series of short, scenic, gentle hikes today.
Trail signs and an overview map near the parking area help to locate specific trail-heads.
Emerald Lake is a busy and popular destination for travelers world-wide. A diverse set of hiking trails begins from this central location. Emerald Lake Lodge offers all amenities and there is a popular canoe and kayak rental facility on site. Tour buses shuttle passengers in and out for short visits.
This hiking mission is staging from Palliser Lodge at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort above Golden, which reduces the travel time significantly. The trail from Emerald Lake to Hamilton Falls is approximately 1.1 KM (¾ mile) one-way with minimal elevation gain. Trail is varied through lush green, aromatic forest. At the trail junction near the beginning, bear right. Otherwise, you are hiking the 7.7 KM Emerald River hike. Nothing wrong with that.
Hamilton Falls trail near Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
The trail junction near the 1.0 KM (⅝ mile) mark is for the far more strenuous hike to Hamilton Lake with elevation gain of 840 m (2,756 ft) and return distance of 12.2 KM (7⅝ miles). There is a lot of waterfall debris blocking the lower trail to Hamilton Falls so ascending the Hamilton Lake trail for a short distance provides a turn left to the higher viewpoint.
From the higher viewpoint a short scramble down provides better viewing vantage points for photographs. The water flow is light on this day but the deeply carved rock passage indicates early season flow would be far more spectacular. There is an explanation for the person-made rock wall construction at the base of the fall provided in the comments.
Hamilton Falls, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
On the return hike there is a final view of Hamilton Falls from the upper viewpoint before encountering a family of birds at trail side who are sufficiently calm to allow fairly close photographs.
Back at Emerald Lake Lodge, and just past the entrance to the dining room, the snack bar creates an opportunity to purchase gelato for consumption at the nearby lakeside boat dock. The views across Emerald Lake to the avalanche slopes on Emerald Peak and the glaciated mountains of the President Range are stunning. Life does not get much better than this as canoes and kayaks skimming the surface of the very peaceful, scenic and beautiful emerald lake.
The hike to Hamilton Falls is short and leisurely. There are many options and alternatives including the Emerald Lake Circuit but in the interest of diversity the next fascinating challenge will be the Natural Bridge Exhibit on Emerald Lake Road near the TransCanada Highway.
Photographs for the hike to Hamilton Falls were taken on August 6, 2013.