There are hundreds of amazing places in the Canadian Rockies. Beautiful lakes and rivers, wonderful mountain peaks and breath-taking vistas from high alpine meadows. Yoho National Park, in eastern British Columbia, straddles the continental divide on Alberta’s border and not only is a place of great beauty but geologic significance as it is home to the legendary Burgess Shale Formation. Yoho derives its name (not from a Johnny Depp pirate song but) from the Cree language, meaning “Awe and Wonder”.
The crown gem of this beautiful area, in my humble opinion, is Takakkaw Falls which thunders as it pours into the Yoho Valley not unlike the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley. Takakkaw Falls has a total drop of 384m (1260 ft) with a 254m (833 ft ) freefall. This makes it western Canada’s second tallest waterfall (the tallest Canadian waterfall being Della Falls on Vancouver Island) and the third tallest in the country. A short flat easy trail, less than a kilometer long, leads you from the parking lot across a bridge on the Yoho River and almost to the base of the falls. Prepare to get wet if you want to get close!
Takakkaw Falls is fed by the meltwater from Daly Glacier (part of the Waputik Icefield), so its peak flow is in July and less so August and September. The meltwater from this glacier is quite clear and it quickly melds with the milky water of the Yoho River which drains the Yoho Glacier further up the valley (and whose color reminded me of the Rio Amazonas). Takakkaw Falls freezes over in the winter and is not easily or safely accessed because the area is of high-frequency avalanche risk. The falls are open June through October and are approached from the TransCanada highway near Field, B.C.
In the Cree language, Takakkaw translates to “it is magnificent”! It is. It’s well worth your time to go out of your way to see and walk to this beautiful natural specter. I’ve got a short YouTube clip of the falls which you can see at this link, and another of the milky Yoho River near the base of the falls which you can find at this link.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance slideshow)