Finding the lesser-traveled areas of British Columbia became our mission as we exited the Banff area. One of our first stops was to Yoho National Park on the western slope of the Continental Divide. A park we had read about that sounded beautiful and interesting.
The word Yoho is a Cree (First Nations of Canada) expression of amazement or awe, and it is an apt description for the spectacular landscape of massive ice fields and mountain peaks that rank among the highest in the Canadian Rockies.
Our first stop was a roadside pullover on Kicking Horse Pass to see the train spirals. Almost impossible to describe, it was amazing to see the train triple up as it came down the dangerous hill. The big grade of the hill caused dangerous and deadly situations for trains descending and difficulty getting trains up the pass. The final solution created in 1905 and still in use today is the train spiral.
There are a couple of hikes on the Big Hill to see the abandoned tracks and trains. Both get you back into history with some great views of the trains that pass by about 30 times a day.
From there you can easily swing by Emerald Lake Lodge – another beautiful location in the park. Don’t be discouraged by all the buses and cars. You can easily get away from the crowds by walking about 1/4 of a mile. The Instagram picture is easily snapped from the entrance and shortly thereafter the crowds just disappear. We started our hike but got chased off by bad weather. We ducked into the lodge bar to have a drink and wait out the weather. This lodge is a top pick for places we want to visit during winter.
Don’t miss a stop at Natural Bridge for more waterfalls. There is no such thing as too many waterfalls. You can walk right across as the water thunders under you.
We stayed just outside of Yoho in Golden, home of the longest wooden suspension bridge in the world (they claim). For our fun fact of the day, we learned that suspension bridges are built to look and sound like barns, so the horses wouldn’t get scared crossing them. A quick walk through this cute mountain town and we found out that our favorite band, The Paperboys had just been in town a few days ago. Oh well, maybe next time we can have a day of exploring and an evening of free music. We stayed at Golden Municipal Campground and RV Park. Of course it is next to the train tracks (as I think everything in Canada is) and a short walk to town. Here is our review on Campendium.
Yoho is a beautiful stop and defiantly worthy of your time. Snowfall would be magical here.