Emerald Lake, © Can Stock / tashka
Visit Yoho National Park – Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is a favorite for those who visit Yoho National Park. The lake has a beautiful glacial blue color even on a cloudy day, so everyone loves to take pictures of Emerald Lake. Visit the Emerald Lake Lodge and walk along the shoreline or rent a canoe at the lodge. The access road to Emerald Lake is 4 minutes south of the town of Field and it takes 15 minutes to get there. The parking lot is at the lake, so you don’t need to hike to get there. Stop at the Natural Bridge on the drive in.
Beautiful shore of Emerald Lake
Visit Yoho National Park – Spiral Tunnels
The Spiral Tunnels are on the Trans Canada highway a few miles east of the town of Field. You can easily see the Lower Spiral Tunnel from the viewpoint parking lot along the Trans Canada Highway. The Upper Spiral Tunnel has an access road off the Trans Canada Highway on the opposite side of the valley from the Lower Spiral Tunnel.
The Spiral Tunnels were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to gain enough elevation for their trains to climb over the continental divide. The tunnels are like doing a switch back inside a mountain. Since the tunnel openings are close to each other, you can see the same train disappearing in one end of the spiral tunnel while the other end of the train has already come out of the spiral.
Lake O’Hara, Odaray Mountain, Yoho
Visit Yoho National Park – Lake O’Hara
Lake O’Hara is one of the best reasons to visit Yoho National Park and also one of the hardest placed to get to in the park. The parking lot for Lake O’Hara access is only about a mile east of the Great Divide Lodge on the Trans Canada. That might sound simple, but after that private vehicles can’t use the 7 miles of gravel road to Lake O’Hara. There’s a locked gate to make sure you don’t drive in with your own car. To get to Lake O’Hara, you need a reservation on the park shuttle bus. The National Park Service sells shuttle reservations once a year in the early spring and reservations sell out in a few minutes.
Lake O’Hara, Schaffer Mountain
If you can’t get a shuttle reservation, you still have two options to get to the lake. You can book a room at the expensive Lake O’Hara Lodge, which includes space on the shuttle. Your other option is to hike up the access road for 3 hours one direction. The hike is completely on the access road. In summer, start hiking early in the morning, so you enjoy the cooler temperatures.
A reservation is not required for the trip out, but space isn’t guaranteed. Mountain biking is not allowed on the 11 km access road. Check out our Banff Hiking Tour blog for further information on hiking in to Lake O’Hara when you visit Yoho National Park.