This is the last hike I want to recap from our road trip through the Canadian Rockies. The famed Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. I say famed because in my hours of trip planning this hike popped up over and over. Here are some of the generous descriptions of this hike, and links to great resources for other hikes in the area!
“Now joining my top hikes of all-time list is the spectacular Iceline Trail…High impact scenery is the name of the game – almost from start to finish.” –Hike Bike Travel
“Possibly one of the most spectacular hikes in the Rockies, with close-up views of numerous glaciers, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada (Takakkaw Falls), peaks of mountains, and much more.” –Trail Peak
“The Iceline is an indelibly memorable hike…A lot could be written but, quite frankly, there are insufficient words in any language which could do justice to this…world class hike.” –Hiking With Barry
Well crap, we had to drink the Kool-Aid too.
Another resource for hiking in the Canadian Rockies (and all over the west) is Phil Armitage’s website.
- Round Trip: 8 miles out and back. You could also make this a longer day hike loop – see this TrailPeak post.
- Start elevation: 5,050 feet
- End elevation: 7,300 feet
- Elevation gain: 2,250 feet
- Trail head: Takkaw Falls parking lot
After parking in the Takkaw Falls parking lot, we followed the signs for the Iceline trail. We crossed Yoho Valley Road to access the trailhead which is next to the Whiskey Jack Hostel. Then it’s a steep but short ~1.5 mile switchback hike through a lush forest to gain the ridge.
As we were hiking through the forest we saw only a few other groups and were thinking “oh, all the warnings about how crowded it is must not apply to us!!”
Psht. After we reached the ridge it was like joining a Thanksgiving Day parade. DAMMIT.
Pretty quickly we reached views of [receding] glaciers.
And the shimmering turquoise lakes they feed into, such as this gem:
The next few miles are pretty flat with the occasional uphill climb. About 3.75 miles into the hike we reached the junction for Little Yoho Valley and Celeste Lake. This is a natural turnaround point, or you could continue another 0.25 miles toward Little Yoho Valley to reach the high point of the Iceline Trail.
Me with my excellent posture:
Slightly less awkward:
After reaching the high point we made our way back down. The views on the descent were pretty incredible.
Takkaw Falls is fed by the Daly Glacier and is 991 feet tall. It is spectacular and you can hear it roaring from across the valley.
Overall this hike had incredible views after reaching the ridge line, and Takkaw Falls is an awesome site to behold. BUT the crowds detracted from our enjoyment. It’s so hard to be a hiker in a gorgeous place, UGH.