Takakkaw Falls

July 15, 2020. A visit to a magnificent waterfall in Yoho National Park.

  • Region: Yoho National Park. Traditional territory of the Tsuu T’ina, Ktunaxa, Blackfoot and Kelly Lake Metis First Nations.
  • Distance: 1.4 km return
  • Total Ascent: negligible

This is an easy walking trail to one of the most amazing places in the Canadian Rockies: Takakkaw Falls. Apparently, it’s a place with considerable traffic, but we were lucky enough to visit early enough in the day that we didn’t have to compete with crowds.

Access is via the Yoho Valley Road, which follows the course of the Yoho River north from the Trans-Canada Highway. If approaching from the east, the turn-off is about 13 km from the Alberta/BC border. The road is closed October-June and is not suitable for trailers or very long vehicles due to an area of very tight switchbacks. Click here for the Google Map. There are decent toilet facilities at the parking lot.

The first glimpse of the falls is from the road some distance from the parking area. The sheer scale of the falls is immediately apparent, and I thought it was much more pronounced from a distance than from up close. The falls also have this interesting feature: there’s a major step part way down the falls which results in an ejection of the water up and out before it starts to fall again. There are steps over the course of the falls, only 2 of which are clearly seen from the viewpoint. The height of the main drop visible from below is 254 m, but the total height including all the steps is 373 m. For comparison, Niagara Falls is 51 m tall.

The trail from the parking lot is easy to follow and strollers could easily navigate it. It crosses over a bridge and then approaches the foot of the waterfall. It’s possible to walk out on the rocks from there and examine things a little closer.

Click on the pictures in the gallery below to access full-sized images.

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The falls from across the river.
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A sturdy bridge goes over the Yoho River, next to the parking lot.
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A closer look at the plume of water coming up and out after bouncing off the major rocky step.
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Another look at the plume.
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Parks Canada’s iconic red chairs.

 

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