Yoho National Park
On our last day in Yoho, Kendra and I decided to take a drive through the National Park and take in some of the sights with a slightly lower elevation. We started on our way to Emerald Lake and stopped at the natural bridge, a once-waterfall rock formation across the Kicking Horse River with an opening formed from the rushing water.
Next, Emerald Lake welcomed us with a beautiful view and a whole lot of tourists. We wanted to go for a swim so we followed the path around the west side of the lake until the canoes and hikers thinned and we found a nice spot to jump in. The water was significantly warmer that Yoho Lake at the top of the mountain two days prior and we enjoyed actually being able to stay in the water for a significant amount of time.
After having lunch on shore we made our way to the visitor centre in Field to report the Wolverine we had seen the day before as well as to ask about some easier hikes that would only take a couple hours. Our bodies were feeling it from Iceline and we thought we'd spend the afternoon on something a little simpler. We were told that the Hoodoo Trail would take about 2 hours and though had a few hills, was a fairly novice hike.
We parked along the road in what seemed to be an abandoned campground and followed the signs to the trailhead. Our first obstacle of the day was crossing the river to start our hike as the water was too high to jump across the rocks. We ended up noticing a fallen tree a little ways down, however, and were able to walk across it. The trail itself was only about 2km long to get to the hoodoos but included a 325m elevation gain and was totally exposed to the sun. We laughed as we ran into the couple and their dog that we had met on Iceline the day before, all of us being misguided to think this trail would be relaxing.
It was for sure a work out but the views of the hoodoos were worth the climb. They were so unique compared to anything else we had seen in the park and I loved just sitting in wonder at how they were formed. A river ran along the base of the hoodoos so we took this opportunity to cool off before our descent. It was by far the coldest water we had been in all week but also the most refreshing.
After the Hoodoo Trail we drove back to the town of Field for some ice-cream and cell phone time - we had been out of service for a few days and wanted to catch up a bit on emails - before making our way back to Takakkaw Falls. Here we dawned our rain gear and hiked right up next to the basin - you can see more of that adventure here. We cooked our final campfire dinner and then sat around the campfire with our neighbours from the trails until the stars came out.
Yoho National Park far surpassed my expectations and I would suggest it to anyone wanting that mountain experience without the busyness of Banff. Watch the video below from swimming in Emerald Lake and exploring the Hoodoo Trail.