Wapta Falls Hike or Snowshoe in Winter

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Within the winter a Wapta Falls hike or snowshoe makes for a pleasant half day outing. It’s an extended hike within the winter because you mainly begin from the Trans-Canada Freeway, so it’s essential to add just a few kilometres to achieve the summer season trailhead. For those who’re staying within the Subject – Golden hall, or you’ve gotten just a few hours to spare whilst you’re driving between Golden and Calgary, I might encourage you to do the hike. 

We opted for snowshoes on the Wapta Falls hike however even with as a lot snow as you see within the pictures, we may have gotten by with winter boots. I might counsel that you just carry micropsikes as I guess the ultimate descent in the direction of the falls will get slippery after just a few freeze-thaw cycles. It’s additionally a steep climb up on the hillock to get the very best view of Wapta Falls.

The Wapta Falls hike in winter starts at the small parking lot by the Trans-Canada Highway
The Wapta Falls hike in winter begins on the small parking zone by the Trans-Canada Freeway
It's 2 km to the summer parking lot for Wapta Falls
It’s 2 km to the summer season parking zone for Wapta Falls

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Wapta Falls hike particulars

Distance in winter from the freeway: 4.4 km a method in line with indicators

Distance to Wapta Falls in summer season from the parking zone: 2.4 km a method

Elevation achieve: Roughly 30 m however I feel it’s a contact extra

Time wanted to hike in winter: 3 – 3.5 hours (it’s slower strolling on snow and its 4.0 km longer!)

Time wanted to hike in summer season: 1.5 – 2 hours

Price: You want a Parks Canada move

Canine: Allowed on a leash

Amenities: None in winter; in summer season there are bogs by the parking space

Pretty hiking right off the bat to the parking lot
It’s fairly climbing proper off the bat particularly when its a winter wonderland
The trail to Wapta Falls narrows once you reach the parking lot
The path to Wapta Falls narrows when you attain the parking zone; signal says Wapta Falls – 2.4 km 
Wapta Falls hike in early January
For early January that is one snowy path!
You know you're getting close to Wapta Falls when you see the chain-link fence
You recognize you’re getting near Wapta Falls if you see the chain-link fence

Wapta Falls in Yoho Nationwide Park

Photos of Wapta Falls (Wapta means river within the Stoney language) don’t do the setting justice. These are magnificent falls in winter – so I can solely think about how awe-inspiring they have to look in summer season. Known as the Niagara of Yoho, Wapta Falls are one of many largest waterfalls by quantity of water within the Canadian Rockies. They’re additionally the biggest waterfalls on the Kicking Horse River, measuring 100 metres huge by 30 metres excessive!

First view of Wapta Falls
First view of Wapta Falls

Wapta Falls hike description

It’s an easy hike to Wapta Falls. From the Trans-Canada Freeway comply with the snow-covered gravel highway to achieve the primary Wapta Falls parking zone. 

On the parking zone, the path narrows passing what Parks Canada calls the “ecologically vital Leanchoil marsh.” In summer season this can be a place to search for raptors, water birds together with kingfishers and enormous animals like moose. Typically you possibly can even see wolf tracks! 

After climbing for a few kilometre on this narrower part of path attain montane forest the place you’ll encounter plenty of blowdown. Additionally search for a tree with an enormous burl. We noticed it on the way in which out on the right-hand aspect of the path. It’s the largest one I’ve ever seen.

Briefly order attain the chain-link fence. In summer season you’ll be capable to hear the falls round right here, however all is quiet in winter. There may be an higher viewpoint the place you possibly can see the total width of the falls – together with folks standing on the hillock in entrance of the falls. In summer season, if the wind is blowing the precise method you might even really feel some spray.

Descend by way of switchbacks, staying left at one junction. It’s steep in locations, and also you would possibly want mirospikes right here if its slippery. As soon as at river degree, head in the direction of the hillock that blocks the view of Wapta Falls. In winter, you possibly can simply climb to the highest of the hillock – after which slide again all the way down to retrace your steps.

You may as well discover to the left and the precise of the hillock. I’m fairly threat antagonistic and wouldn’t have gotten as near the water or the falls that some folks we noticed did. I don’t know how deep the water is, however one crack within the ice and you may be in, so please train warning.

Merely retrace your steps to name it a day. For those who’ve achieved this hike in summer season, I’d extremely advocate returning to do the Wapta Falls hike in winter. I do know I’d now prefer to see the falls in summer season.

Me walking towards Wapta Falls
Me strolling in the direction of Wapta Falls
John following fresh tracks to the falls
John following recent tracks to the falls
Checking out Wapta Falls to the right of the mini island
Testing Wapta Falls to the precise of the mini island; there may be nonetheless some water flowing on the precise hand aspect of the falls
Wapta Falls mostly iced up
I for one didn’t wish to get near the water
Close-up of the frozen ice of Wapta Falls
Shut-up of the frozen ice of Wapta Falls
Tuck in your clothes so you don't get snow up your back
Tuck in your garments so that you don’t get snow up your again
Be careful near open water around Wapta Falls
Watch out close to open water round Wapta Falls
The snowy, steep narrow trail down to river level
The snowy, steep slender path all the way down to river degree

Discovering the Wapta Falls trailhead

From the turnoff to Subject, drive 24.4 km west. After crossing the Kicking Horse River, search for a turnoff on the south aspect of the freeway. There may be NO signage for Wapta Falls if you drive west. After you flip in, it’s a few 2.0 km drive to the parking zone on a gravel highway when there isn’t snow. As soon as the snow arrives park within the small lot proper simply off the Trans-Canada Freeway.

From the protection perspective, you might be higher off driving west to the Yoho Nationwide Park boundary. Flip into a big space and retrace your steps, driving east for about 3.0 km. Going east, you will see signage for Wapta Falls. 

For those who’re driving east from the intersection of the Trans-Canada and Freeway 95 in Golden, you’ll discover the turnoff on the south aspect of the freeway after 33.6 km. 

In winter, particularly after a recent snowfall, notice that it may be onerous to seek out the turnoff, let alongside get throughout a small snowbank, relying on what sort of automotive you’re driving. (Take a look at the primary image within the weblog.) We discovered the parking zone to be each small and snowy. Make certain you carry a shovel as its simple to get caught. Additionally, be thoughtful of different vehicles, and ensure they’ve sufficient room to get out.

It's great fun sliding down from the viewpoint
It’s nice enjoyable sliding down from the perspective
We saw a pair of pine grosbeaks on the hike out
We noticed a pair of pine grosbeaks on the hike out

Location map


The place to remain close by

In Subject you’ll discover a number of B&B’s together with Charlie’s Guesthouse, rated excellent. 

For a extra upscale expertise with full eating services, take a look at Emerald Lake Lodge. In winter their scorching tub is a bonus.

Golden can also be shut by. Not too long ago we stayed at The Residence Lodge – positioned on 40 acres and simply 10 minutes from the downtown. We felt immersed in nature. The hosts are beautiful, breakfasts scrumptious and there’s a number of wildlife round together with their cool trying Scottish Highland cattle. 

Beautiful backdrop along with the Scottish Highland cattle you see at The Home Lodge in Golden
Stunning backdrop together with the Scottish Highland cattle you see at The Residence Lodge in Golden

A couple of issues I’d actually advocate for this hike

Hopefully should you’re driving within the mountains in winter, you all the time pack a shovel and further windshield fluid. We did should shovel after we changed into the parking zone.

Carry microspikes. You’ll use them on most winter hikes within the mountains.

I all the time take a thermos with one thing scorching to drink, a handful of vitality bars and a few hand heaters and toe heaters

Extra concepts for winter adventures

Click on on the picture to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Wapta Falls winter hike or snowshoe in Yoho National Park



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