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Things to do in Yoho National Park

Things to do in Yoho National Park

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On our road trip to Banff and Jasper from Vancouver, I knew that I also wanted to stop off in Yoho National Park on the return drive. Yoho National Park is across the provincial border from Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise and seems to receive a lot less attention than its neighbouring national parks.

I’m not quite sure why since it was probably one of my favourite areas we visited during that week. If you’re planning on a Canadian Rockies road trip then be sure to check out my pick of the best things to do in Yoho National Park, BC!

Useful resources for your trip to Yoho National Park
7 day road trip itinerary from Vancouver to the Rockies and back
Yoho National Park trail map
Yoho guide book by Lonely Planet
Booking.com
Rentalcars.com
Escape Campervan rentals
Book campbsites in Yoho
Day hiking packing list gear

guide to yoho national park bc canada pin

About Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is named after the Cree expression for awe and wonder. You’ll easily see why once you leave the main highway and begin exploring this beautiful British Columbia National Park.

The park is on the western side of the Canadian Rocky Mountain just across the border between Alberta and BC. It’s full of vertical rock walls, waterfalls and dizzying peaks. There are 28 peaks of over 3,000m in height! It’s an area full of exceptional hiking and sightseeing where you can see some of Canada’s natural wonders and beauty.

Where is Yoho National Park located?

Yoho National Park is in British Columbia, Canada on the western side of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Banff to Yoho National Park is about a 40-minute drive and Lake Louise to Yoho National Park is a mere 10km drive.

From Vancouver to Yoho National Park it’s a 735.4 km drive which takes at least 8 hours.

This map gives you an idea of where Yoho National Park fits in in relation to Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise.

Yoho National Park map

yoho national park map canadaCheck out this map of Yoho National Park to get your bearings.

Yoho National Park fees

There are a few fees you need to be aware of before your trip to Yoho.

Entrance fees

Entrance to Yoho National Park is free to all under 17s and on Canada Day entrance to all Canadian National Parks is usually free too. For adults, entrance costs $9.80.

You can also buy a Parks Canada Discovery Pass which gets you free, unlimited entrance to all National Parks for a whole year. It’s definitely worthwhile if you’re travelling in the Canadian Rockies. These cost $67.70 for an individual adult or $136.40 for a group of up to 7.

Yoho National Park campground fees

If you plan on camping in Yoho National Park you’ll also need to pay a small fee. The exact amount varies on the type of camping you’ll be doing.

One night in Hoodoo Creek, Kicking Horse, Takakkaw Falls and the Monarch campground in Yoho National Park cost between $15.70-$27.40.  and for camping in the backcountry, you’ll need to pay $9.80 per person, per night, plus $11.70.

You can see a full break down of Yoho camping costs here. In the summer you’ll need to make Book campbsites in Yoho which can be done here.

How to get to Yoho National Park

One of the best ways to visit the Canadian Rockies is by camper van. If you’re not keen on that then it’s still best to have a car during your holiday in there especially since there’s no public transport there.

Flying to Yoho National Park

The closest big international airports to Yoho National Park are Vancouver and Calgary.

I always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights whenever I travel. They make it super easy to compare prices!

Driving to Yoho National Park

Highway 1 (also called the Trans-Canada Highway) runs through the centre of Yoho.

As well as renting at either Vancouver airport or Calgary airport, you can alternatively get an airport shuttle to Lake Louise and hire a car there.

The drive from Vancouver takes around 8 hours (see our road trip to Yoho from Vancouver here) and from Calgary to Yoho National Park, it’s about 2.5 hours (225km).

I like to use RentalCars.com when renting a car since it’s the easiest way to compare prices and find the best deal!

If you want to rent a campervan check out Escape Campervan for campervans. 

Where to stay in Yoho National Park

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Yoho National Park isn’t as developed as its neighbouring Alberta Parks. For this reason, it can be difficult to find accommodation in Yoho National Park itself unless you’re camping.

However, since the park is less than 10 minutes away from Lake Louise, a lot of visitors choose to stay in a hotel in Lake Louise and cross over to Yoho for the day. You can also stay in the town of Golden in BC.

See everywhere you can camp in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper & Yoho here!

Hotels and hostels in Yoho National Park

These are some of the best Yoho National Park hotels with fantastic views! If you’re looking for Yoho National Park accommodation then be sure to check out these Yoho hotels.

Emerald Lake Lodge

Right on the banks of one of the most famous Yoho National Park attractions, Emerald Lake Lodge is surprisingly affordable given its incredible location and beautiful Yoho National Park cabins.

Definitely one of the best places to stay in Yoho National Park!

Book here

Whiskey Jack Hostel, Yoho

Whiskey Jack Hostel in Field in Yoho National Park is a short walk from Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s five highest waterfalls. You can see the falls from the deck of the hostel and it’s just a short walk to the base of the falls to feel the cool mist!

Book here

Hostels and hotels near Yoho National Park

As mentioned above, most of the accommodation options for Yoho are just outside of Yoho Park. Here are some of the best places to stay near Yoho National Park in towns such as Lake Louise, Golden and Field near Yoho National Park.

HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre

This Yoho National Park hostel has an on-site cafe, 2 kitchens for guests, storage facilities and a library, common room and a sauna!

Book here

Lake Louise Inn

The Lake Louise Inn is a short drive from the main sights in Yoho National Park and has an indoor pool, hot tubs, 2 on-site restaurants and all suits and apartments include a balcony.

Book here

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

This Yoho National Park Lodging is just outside of Lake Louise, towards Banff, but is still only 20 minute’s drive from Yoho.

There are a fitness centre, steam room and a sauna and the resort has great views of the surrounding area.

Book here

Kicking Horse Kabins

These Yoho National Park cabin rentals are surrounded by 6 national parks including Yoho! The ‘kabins’ have a hot tub, free wifi and a kitchen as well as BBQs and an outdoor firepit.

Book here

Kicking Horse Canyon B&B

This B&B near Yoho has daily fresh biscuits and tea and a breakfast of croissants, pancakes, eggs fruit, sausage and maple syrup (of course!) comes included.

Book here

Best things to do in Yoho National Park, Canada

Most of the things to see in Yoho National Park aren’t too far off the Trans Canada Highway that runs across Canada. However, there are some things you simply can’t miss along the Yoho Valley Road. The Yoho Valley Road is closed outside of June – October so try and time your visit in summer.

Check out this list of what to do in Yoho National Park for an unforgettable trip!

Takakkaw Falls, Yoho National Park

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Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park is the biggest of Yoho waterfalls and also the one of the highest in Canada. They tumble 254m in one stretch and 348m in total. You’ll feel the spray from far away and if you do decide to get up close then be prepared to get soaked! This is one Yoho National Park waterfall you can’t miss.

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

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This Yoho lake is probably one of the most instagrammed features within Yoho National Park. You’ll quickly see where it gets its name from once you see the colour of the water. Perfect for walking around, canoeing, swimming or floating in, Emerald Lake is a must-see in Yoho.

If you want to make your trip to Yoho National Park even more memorable, stay at Emerald Lake Lodge which is very reasonably priced given its incredible location and views!

Paget Peak

paget peak yoho national park

One of my favourite Yoho National Park hikes, Paget Peak is a challenge but well worth it. To get to the peak you need to scramble to the top, but there’s a fire lookout that’s accessible without a scramble too and still has views worthy of being called one of the best hikes in Yoho National Park.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

yoho national park things to do natural bridge

The Natural Bridge is on the same road that takes you to Emerald Lake. It’s worth stopping off here to see how the Kicking Horse River has carved a path through the ancient rock.

Note: Stick to the path and do not try and walk out on to the natural bridge. If you slip, chances are you’re not making it out.

Spiral Tunnels & Kicking Horse Pass

The Spiral tunnels of Yoho National Park are in Kicking Horse Pass. They’re an impressive feat of engineering where the railway goes through two mountains. There’s the lower spiral tunnel in Mt. Ogden and the upper one in Cathedral Mountain. You can watch the trains pass through them daily from two viewpoints and on average there are 25-30 trains daily but there’s no set schedule.

To see the lower spiral tunnel go to the viewpoint 7.4km east of Field on the Trans-Canada highway. And, for the upper tunnel, there’s a pull-off 2.3km up the Yoho Valley Road.

Go backcountry camping in Yoho National Park

Some of the best Yoho hikes are only really achievable by doing some Yoho backcountry camping. These include the hike to Twin Falls, the Yoho Pass hike and the Lake O’Hara area (see below).

If you want to do some backcountry camping, remember to practice leave no trace ethics, bear safety and to reserve a campsite to secure your place.

Lake O’Hara

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I’m am dying to go here but getting a camping reservation is next to impossible. This is one of the most beautiful Yoho National Park lakes simply for the wilderness that surrounds it.

This Yoho Lake hike starts with either a bus trip down an old logging road for 11km (or a fairly boring hike) before you come out at Lake O’Hara and the surrounding mountains.

You can hike out to the lake in a day with an early start but it’d be best done as a camping trip to explore the other areas nearby. If you want to try and reserve a camp spot or a bus ticket all the information is here.

Wapta Falls

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Wapta Falls are smaller than some other Yoho falls but still impressive in their own right. They’re 30 metres high and 150 metres wide and are the largest waterfall on the Kicking Horse River.

Burgess Shale Fossil Beds

The Burgess Shale Fossil Beds in Yoho National Park are some of the oldest and most significant fossil beds in the world. They’re a crown jewel in the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site and the source of major scientific discoveries about the evolution of life on earth.

You can do guided tours of the fossils to learn more about them. More information on the guided tours here.

Iceline Trail Yoho National Park

This is one of the signature hikes in Yoho National Park. Usually done over 2 days, although could be done in one by experienced hikers, this is one of the best hikes in Yoho National Park since it takes you past Little Yoho and spectacular glacier views. You’ll follow this Yoho National Park trail for 20.8km as it climbs high before descending to beautiful meadows.