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Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park (Guide With Photos)

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Just a stones throw away from Banff National Park, don’t sleep on Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. It’s best known for being Canada’s second-largest waterfall, and should be on every traveler’s itinerary when visiting the area.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park offers a fantastic experience to visitors of all ages and fitness levels, with a short and rewarding hike that leads visitors so close to the falls that you can quickly become soaked if you stay in the splash zone too long.

My favorite part of the visit was the permanent rainbow that the late afternoon sun was creating at the base of the falls. It made for the perfect photograph and was the cherry on top of one of the most beautiful waterfalls I had ever seen.

The drive leading up to the falls is nothing short of spectacular as well. Winding roads and a couple of tight hair pin switch backs cut through dense forests, while massive mountain faces dominate the horizon.

The late afternoon sun and waterfall mist combined to create an incredible rainbow near the base. As you get closer, Takakkaw Falls will eventually peak through the tree line letting you know you’ve nearly arrived.

Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park Rainbow
The late afternoon sun and waterfall mist combined to create an incredible rainbow near the base

In this blog post, I’ll get you ready to navigate through everything you should know about experiencing Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. Along the way I’ll also share some of my favorite photos from this unforgettable activity!

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Where is Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park located?

Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park is a protected natural area nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. Yoho directly neighbors Banff National Park, Alberta to the west with the continental divide serving as the border between parks.

Views leading up to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park
Natural beauty seems to permeate from every direction in Yoho National Park

The easiest way to reach this area is by car and is located about 2.5 hours west of Calgary. With an extensive network of well-maintained roads leading into the park, visitors are treated to a scenic drive as they make their way to the waterfall. Whether you’re coming from the eastern or western part of Canada, the drive into Yoho National Park promises to be a memorable one.

The proximity of the two parks means that even if you intend to visit the more popular Banff National Park, you should definitely make the quick 1 hour detour to take in some of Yoho’s best sites.

Where is the best place to stay when visiting Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park?

Visiting Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park is an unforgettable experience, and finding the right place to stay during your trip is essential. Two popular towns near the park that offer excellent accommodations are Banff and Canmore. Both towns provide easy access to the park as well as a wide range of lodging options to suit any traveler’s preferences.

We split our stay in the area between these two towns and really enjoyed how that worked out. This recommendation assumes you’ll be spending a considerable amount of your trip to the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park and it keeps you a little bit closer to that area.

Banff Canada walking bridge through town
With views like this, it’s no wonder people love staying in the town of Banff

The town of Banff is located approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from Yoho National Park. The drive to Yoho from Banff can take around an hour, depending on traffic and road conditions.

We spent two nights in Banff at the Brewster’s Mountain Lodge which is one of the more budget friendly options in town. Be warned, hotels in Banff can be expensive so that’s why we chose to spend four of our nights in nearby Canmore.

Canmore is a little further away at approximately 59 miles (95 kilometers) from the park, and takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach by car. We were able to find a great deal on a VRBO in Canmore for our group of 8 and really enjoyed the more laid back atmosphere of this town.

Canmore also happens to be the main jumping off point for hitting the Three Sisters Viewpoint. Consider this short hike a must if you’re in the area!

You can search for great deals on hotels in Canmore here or check out what’s available in Banff at the link here.

Where do you fly into for Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park?

Based on convenience and distance, the best airport to fly into when planning your trip to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park is Calgary International Airport (YYC).

Calgary International Airport is located in Calgary, Alberta, and it’s approximately 125 miles or 200 kilometers east of Yoho National Park. This translates to roughly a 2.5 scenic drive through some of Canada’s most impressive landscapes.

Do you need to rent a car when visiting Takakkaw Falls and Yoho National Park?

When planning a trip to Yoho National Park, you’ll have to make a decision on transportation. Although there are some shuttle and tour company options available in this region, I’d highly recommend renting a car.

A car will be necessary to hit hard to reach places like the Peyto Lake Upper Viewpoint or Bow Lake which are located along the Icefields Parkway.

It’s worth noting that rental cars in the area tend to be in high demand, especially during the peak summer season for anyone flying into Calgary. For this reason, I’d suggest reserving your vehicle far in advance to avoid sell outs and to secure the best rates.

You can use a tool like RentalCars.com to compare offers across agencies to help you find the cheapest option.

What is Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park named after?

Takakkaw Falls has a rich cultural history, with its name derived from the indigenous Cree language. The word ‘Takakkaw’ originates from the Cree language, meaning it is magnificent. After seeing the falls for myself, it’s easy to see how the falls earned its name.

Yoho National Park views of Takakkaw Creek
Views of Takakkaw Creek and the surrounding landscape near the falls

Yoho National Park also derives its name from the Cree language. Yoho is a Cree expression for amazement or wonder, earned from the breathtaking landscapes, towering waterfalls and rugged mountain peaks that call this region home.

What is Takakkaw Falls of Yoho National Park best known for?

Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park is best known for being the site of the second-highest waterfall in Canada. The waterfall is easily accessible on foot from the parking area which contributes to its popularity.

Takakkaw Falls has a total height of 1,224 feet (373 meters), while the largest single drop is 833 feet (254 meters). Fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the expansive Waputik Icefield, this spectacular waterfall is at its most powerful during early summer when snow-melt increases the water volume.

Yoho River foot bridge to Takakkaw Falls
Visitors will cross the Yoho River using this bridge when heading to Takakkaw Falls

The path leading out to the falls also takes visitors up close with the powerful Yoho River and smaller Takakkaw Creek. While the waterfall is the crown jewel of this area, the river and creek are also worthwhile sites.

Is there cell phone service at Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park?

When visiting Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park, it’s worth noting that amidst the unspoiled natural beauty, cellular service may not always be readily available. Due to the remote location and rugged landscape, visitors should not expect reliable cell phone service within the park.

In fact, service is so poor here it can be difficult to rely on GPS navigation while exploring the park. Maps, guidebooks and offline maps can really come in handy when exploring the Canadian Rockies since you’ll likely encounter situations where you can’t input directions on your phone.

How much does visiting Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park cost?

As Takakkaw Falls is located within Yoho National Park, visitors are required to purchase a Parks Canada pass to enter and explore the area.

The cost of a daily or annual Parks Canada pass varies depending on the visitor’s age and the size of the group. I’d suggest visiting the Parks Canada website to determine which option best fits your budget, eligibility and travel plans.

Beyond the Parks Canada pass, there aren’t any parking fees or additional costs to reach the waterfall.

Are dogs allowed at Takakkaw Falls and Yoho National Park?

The great news for dog owners is that, yes, dogs are allowed in Yoho National Park including the Takakkaw Falls area. Just be mindful that dogs must be on leash at all times, and owners must take responsibility in cleaning up after their pets.

Are there bathrooms at Takakkaw Falls?

The Takakkaw Falls area is equipped with restrooms facilities that you’ll find shortly after parking your vehicle, on the way to the waterfall area. After a long drive from Banff out to the waterfall, these were a welcome sight!

What should I know when visiting Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park?

When visiting Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park, being mindful of certain etiquette can enhance the experience for yourself and other visitors.

National Park visitors should be aware of ‘Leave No Trace’ principles, which emphasizes the importance of keeping natural spaces as pristine as you found them. Visitors should always take responsibility for their own waste, making sure all trash is disposed of correctly.

Visitors should also avoid disturbing natural features such as plants or rocks, ensuring that the beauty of the park is preserved for future visitors. This also means sticking to marked paths and not going off trail.

People posing at Takakkaw Falls, British Columbia
Be prepared to share the area with other visitors hoping to take the perfect photo!

Given its incredible beauty, Takakkaw Falls can often be crowded with visitors, especially during peak tourist season. It’s important to remember that you’re sharing the area with many other people. When it comes to taking photographs or enjoying the views, patience and courtesy are encouraged. Taking turns at popular viewpoints is a common practice, allowing everyone an opportunity to capture their perfect photo or to simply soak in the view.

What is the best time of year to visit Takakkaw Falls and Yoho National Park?

Deciding on the best time to visit Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park is an important aspect of planning your adventure. While the park offers distinctive charm across all seasons, summer is generally considered the best time to visit Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park due to it’s warm weather, long days and hiking trails that will be clear of snow.

If you’re knee deep in your trip planning process don’t forget that I’ve published a number of guides that can help make your life easier on that front. My guide covering cheap airfare hacks is a great way to save money while my list of tips for planning a trip abroad will help ensure you avoid many of the most common trip planning mistakes.

What is the best month to visit Takakkaw Falls and Yoho National Park?

While the park is stunning year-round, I’d encourage visitors to plan their visit to Yoho National Park and Takakkaw Falls in early September. The weather during September still tends to be relatively warm, which makes for comfortable hiking throughout the park.

Views of Takakkaw Falls and Yoho River
Views leading up to Takakkaw Falls during our early September visit to the park

Additionally, September offers the perk of fading crowds compared to the peak summer months. As many schools start their new year in September, there is a noticeable decrease in park visitors. This reduction in crowd size can lead to a more peaceful and intimate experience of the breathtaking natural beauty that both Yoho and nearby Banff have to offer.

What is the best time of day to visit Takakkaw Falls?

On one hand, visiting Takakkaw Falls in the early morning will present visitors with a less congested area which can make for a much more peaceful experience with fewer crowds.

On the other hand, during the late afternoon, the sun is positioned at an angle that illuminates the waterfall mist, creating a seemingly permanent rainbow effect.

Because of the rainbow effect and the relative ease of parking here later in the day, I’d suggest saving this stop for the afternoon.

How long does it take to visit Takakkaw Falls?

For those seeking a rough estimate, I’d suggest allocating 60 to 90 minutes for enjoying Takakkaw Falls and the surrounding area. The out and back walking path should only take most visitors about 30 minutes to complete. From there I’d budget an additional 30 minutes for taking photos, wandering down to the creek or river, and soaking up views of the falls.

This would also make for a great area to enjoy a picnic if you’ve got a packed lunch handy!

How difficult is the Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park hike?

In terms of difficulty, the Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park hike is easy, making it suitable for hikers of various ages and fitness levels.

The hike to reach the falls is approximately 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) long, and most visitors can complete the round trip within 30 minutes, although some might prefer to take a bit more time to soak in the scenery.

Takakkaw Falls picnic area, Yoho National Park
The Takakkaw Falls trail is flat, well maintained and should be easy for most visitors

Another feature of the trail is that it is relatively flat and well maintained. This contributes to its easy rating and ensures that visitors of all experience levels can reach the waterfall with ease.

Is hiking to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park safe for children?

The hike to Takakkaw Falls Yoho National Park is considered safe for children, making it a great choice for families.

Yoho River in British Columbia, Canada
Views of the Yoho River which you’ll cross on your way to the waterfall

Just be mindful that there are places where the trail provides easy access to the Yoho River and Takakkaw Creek which you probably won’t want your small children going near.

Check out these activities available in the area

Looking for more ways to fill out your trip itinerary? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.

Is visiting Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park worth it?

Visiting Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park was one of my favorite activities from our trip to the area. Although many travelers (like ourselves) head to the Canadian Rockies with the intention of exploring Banff National Park, I’d highly recommend sampling some of Yoho’s best areas during your trip as well.

While there’s no shortage of natural beauty in either park, Takakkaw Falls is widely considered the best waterfall in the area while the views of Takakkaw Creek and Yoho River only add to the impressive beauty of this area.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to fill out your day, I’d suggest heading over to nearby Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. We spent our early afternoon swimming in the lake and enjoying views from the loop trail before heading to the waterfall.

Visitors swimming in Emerald Lake Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake is considered one of the best swimming spots in the Canadian Rockies!

Chances are if you’re in the area you’ll be looking for other can’t miss activity suggestions. My favorite activity from our time in Banff was the Lake Agnes Tea House to Big Beehive hike. Beginning along the shores of Lake Louise, this trail takes you to one of the best view points in all of Alberta, Canada.

Another great medium difficulty hike that’s suitable for most visitors is the Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots trail. This one takes you past waterfalls and to some super unique geological formations (known as the Ink Pots).

To help prepare for your outdoor adventure in the Canadian Rockies I’d also suggest spending some time reviewing my day hike packing checklist.

It’s a list I’ve refined over the years and I look back on every trip to ensure I don’t forget anything at home when planning for hiking trips.

That list will come in handy when hiking to the Big Beehive or if you plan to hike from Larch Valley to Sentinel Pass near Moraine Lake and the Rockpile Trail.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope it serves you well in planning your adventure to Takakkaw Falls and Yoho National Park during your trip to Canada!

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