Eric and I toured the
west of Canada in august/september
of 2001. We spent about two weeks camping and
hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks of
Jasper, Yoho, and
Kootenay. We did not
visit Mount Revelstoke & Glacier.
the Rockies, we also spent time on
and in Calgary,
Vancouver, and the
Our best hike in Yoho was the Iceline Trail.
In fact, the weather was great and we
extended the regular hike to see
the Twin Falls (photo above), at the end of
Yoho Valley. We parked our car at Takakkaw
Falls, and walked along the Iceline Trail,
with great views of a string of glaciers.
The path actually passes right underneath
several glacier tongues.
We then took the Celeste Lake Connector
down to the Little Yoho River. Along the
way were Celeste Lake and another beautiful
From the Little Yoho River the Marpole
Connector took us along a hillside strewn with
huge boulders, down to the Twin Falls Chalet,
which looks up at the beautiful Twin Falls.
From there we descended to Laughing Falls,
and back down to Takakkaw Falls.
The picture below shows the wide path
from the Laughing Falls down Yoho Valley. At
the bottom of this page, a map
of the region we hiked in, is loading.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad passes
through these Rocky Mountain Parks. Coming
from Banff, the railroad tracks descend the
Kicking Horse Pass into Yoho, down to Field.
However, the steep descent was a problem
in the past - runaway trains came rushing
down the pass and into Field at dangerously
high speeds. This problem was solved by a
neat little bit of engineering, the Spiral Tunnels.
A train coming down the pass from Lake Louise
makes two loops through tunnels in the
mountainside, so that it crosses its own
tail twice, thus allowing for a large descent
over very little horizontal distance. This is
shown in the map:
Two sightseeing areas give good views of the
entrances of the Spiral Tunnels. The
photograph below shows the lower spiral tunnels:
the train is going from right to left,
descending toward Field, and
enters a tunnel at the far left. At the lower
right, in the photograph, passing underneath
the gray wagons of its tail, you can see
the red locomotive coming out of the tunnel!
Yoho has just one small village, and that's
Field. Just as I believe Yoho was our
favorite park, so Field was our favourite
village. It's a one-hotel, one-restaurant,
one-store, one-laundry kind of place, so it's
nowhere near as touristy as Jasper, let alone
As with the other Canadian Rocky
Mountain Parks, the Visitors' Centre, just
outside of Field, is excellent, with lots of
information and great service. They can direct
you to a guesthouse, or let you know whether
the campgrounds are full.
Field has just one restaurant, but that was
also by far the best restaurant we encountered
on our entire trip: the Truffle Pig Cafe.
Treat yourself to their daily special! I
wish we had a place like that back home.
Field's only grocery store is located in
an annex of the Truffle Pig.
Laundry can be done in the basement
of the Kicking Horse Lodge.
If you want to access internet, there are
no facilities in Field. The nearest location
was the West Louise Lodge, which lies in the
Kicking Horse Pass, between Lake Louise (Banff)
We stayed at the Kicking Horse campground.
As with the other National Park campgrounds,
we were pleasantly surprised by the spacious
lots, and had a ball with the firepit! The
photographs below show Eric diligently fixing
our dinner above the fire, and me playing
around causing sparks.
The most famous lake in Yoho is Emerald
Lake. Just like Lake Louise in Banff, it is one
of those spots where buses full of tourists come
to get just one comfortable glimpse of the park.
Don't let that stop you though, the lake looks
wonderful and is worth a visit.
Yoho offers good rafting facilities on the
Kicking Horse River. We rafted with CWA
(Canadadian Whitewater Adventures). They
were professional guides, had excellent equipment,
and were fun as well, so I
do suggest them. The Kicking Horse has three
sections: the class 2+ Headwaters, and the
class 4+ Upper and Lower Canyons. I think the 'plus'
applies at the beginning of summer, mostly, when
the meltwaters come rushing down the mountains.
At the end of summer (we were there on
august 27th) the river was a little
more tame. We did the Headwaters and Upper Canyon
only, as there were too few participants for the
Lower Canyon. The Upper Canyon had two hearty
(class 4) rapids, Portage
and Shotgun, and the guides got us through them
wet and cheering. This time, I wasn't truly
afraid, like I was on the
in Nepal (where I sometimes froze and just
held on), but I still got enough of a kick to
have a great time. I'm not sure whether this was because
the Kicking Horse is easier than the Bhote Kosi,
or just because this wasn't my first rafting
Apart from camping in Yoho, we also spent
a night in Mt. Stephen Guesthouse. It was very
good, and I loved the flannel bedsheets.
The map below shows the far end of Yoho Valley,
beyond Takakkaw Falls, and the Iceline Trail we
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