Hiking in the area
“YOHO” is an exclamation of wonder and astonishment in the Cree Indian language. It is also very fitting to refer to the unimaginable beauty of the hiking trails and vistas in the area. Glaciated peaks, hanging glaciers, raging creeks and water falls, lush forests and rocky moraine terrain are but a few of the astonishing landscapes of the Park and of the area surrounding Twin Falls Chalet.
Whether you like well-maintained trails or are of the more adventurous “scrambler” type who likes to be off the beaten path, the options around Twin Falls Chalet will satisfy every “hiking appetite”.
There are numerous excellent hiking books and other references describing various hiking options around the area; we are listing a few below:
• The Wonder of Yoho by Don Beers * ISBN 0-921102-28-3
• The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson * ISBN 0-919934-90-0
• Backcountry Huts and Lodges of the Rockies and Columbias by Jim Scott * ISBN 0-921835-58-2
• Great Lodges of The Canadian Rockies by Christine Barnes * ISBN 0-96539424-2-2
Twin Falls Chalet is a great origin or destination (or both) for many of these wonderful hikes.
Here are popular options for folks staying two nights at Twin Falls Chalet; this is by no means an exhaustive list, as the only limitation is your imagination:
Day 1: Hike to Twin Falls Chalet from Takakkaw Falls along the Yoho Valley 8.2 km
Time permitting, climb the Whaleback trail to the top of the falls
(approximately 3 km one-way and 200 m elevation gain over 20+ switch backs)
Explore the glacial moraine terrain below Yoho Glacier at the end of the Yoho Glacier Trail
(Note that the Yoho Glacier Trail is no longer maintained by Parks Canada)
Day 2: From Twin Falls Chalet do the Whaleback loop (Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise):
Clockwise via Marpole Lake, Marpole Connector, Little Yoho Valley Trail; Whaleback Trail, over the seasonal bridge above the falls and back down to the Twin Fakks Chalet * just under 10 km with 350 m elevation gain.
Explore the magnificent Waterfalls Valley by climbing to the top of Twin Falls via the Whaleback Trail and following a distinct trail (no longer maintained by Parks Canada) from a cairn just before the Twin Falls Creek bridge, heading North towards Mont des Poilus. Climb moraines for breathtaking views of glaciers and glacier fed lakes, watch wildlife, wild flowers and a sea of glaciated peaks around you, or take a dip in a glacier fed pond.
Day 3: Return to Takakkaw from Twin Falls Chalet via the Iceline Trail:
This calls for a long distance hike, but it is well worth the effort, especially if you have not experienced Waterfalls Valley.
It can be a 17 km hike from Twin Falls to the Takakkaw Falls parking lot, via the Marpole Connector, Little Yoho Valley Trail to the Stanley Mitchell ACC Hut at the north end of the Iceline Trail; the distance can be reduced by opting to take the lovely Celeste Lake Connector.
The Iceline Trail is one of the very few hiking trails constructed in the Canadian National Parks in the last 30 years. It is very popular but it offers views that words just cannot describe – you have to experience it for yourself and walk on terrain that was covered by glaciers mere centuries ago during the “Little Ice Age” (AD 1050 to the mid 1840’s). The Emerald Glacier is your constant companion to the West and although most glaciers in the Canadian Rockies have been receding since the Little Ice Age, one of its lobes advanced briefly in the 1970’s.