Yoho is the Cree Nation’s expression for awe and wonder, which makes it a very fitting name for Yoho National Park, home of jaw-dropping natural wonders like Lake O’Hara, Emerald Lake and the Kicking Horse River. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Jasper and Banff, Yoho National Park is situated in British Columbia, on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies.
Surrounded by the Presidents Range, Emerald Lake is Yoho’s most famous attraction, and its 10-kilometer access road passes some of the most spectacular settings in the entire park. The Kicking Horse River carves a natural bridge through ancient stone; a five-kilometer walking trail circumnavigates the lake; hiking trails sprout off in all directions; and the Emerald Lake Lodge provides a luxurious mountain getaway.
Higher up, between Wapta Mountain and Mount Field is the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale sea floor. Known as one of the world’s most significant animal fossil discoveries, the Burgess Shale is exceptional for its surprising age, diversity, and preservation. It’s possible to visit the site, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Both the Walcott Quarry and Mount Stephen Fossil Bed hikes take seven to 10 hours, and all hikers must be accompanied by a Parks Canada interpretive guide. Spots are limited, but it’s possible to make reservations in advance or join in on a first-come first-serve basis.
Lake O’Hara is another popular hiking destination, although access is limited. A public bus, which runs four times daily between June and October, is the only way to access the area and reservations can be made three months in advance.
Field, British Columbia, is the only town in Yoho National Park. It’s located on the TransCanada Highway, approximately halfway between Golden, British Columbia and Banff, Alberta.