Yoho National Park is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains on the border of British Colombia and Alberta. Less visited than its neighbors Jasper and Banff, it is a perfect place for a winter getaway. From the town of Golden, a 30-minute drive provides access to several hikes, lakes, scenic drives, and stunning mountains to explore. The top activities in the winter are snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding in nearby Golden, ice skating, and alpine skiing. The Kicking Horse River runs through Yoho and forms one of our favorite waterfalls, the Wapta Falls. The falls are nearly frozen in the winter. It is a beautiful sight, and can easily be explored with some good snow boots or snowshoes.
How to Get to Wapta Falls
Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park is just off Highway 1 right after you enter Yoho National Park from Golden. It is located 25 kilometers west of Field and 32 kilometers east of Golden along the Trans-Canada Highway. There is a road 2 km long road that leads to the trailhead, which is open in the summer. The road to the trailhead is closed in the winter, but the entrance is plowed for a parking area along the highway.
When to Go to Wapta Falls
Wapta Falls is a year-round destination. This park and waterfall are more popular in summer, but it is also an excellent winter getaway. For more ideas on things to do in the winter in the area, check out our post on the Top 15 Winter Activities in the Canadian Rockies.
Distance: 5.6 miles return (9.0 km)
Elevation gain: 705 feet (215 meters)
Time: 2 hours 57 minutes
The Wapta Falls Hike
The road is closed from Highway 1 during the winter months. There is a small area to park of the highway. If the road is not closed, continue on the turnoff for 2 km to the trailhead parking lot. This hike is entirely flat, so this is a great hike to enjoy for the entire family. The trail is clearly marked, even when snow-covered. From the trailhead, it is 2.4 km to the waterfalls. There are three overlooks, all providing excellent views. Some of the best views are before these overlooks down to the Wapta River.
For safety reasons, we do not recommend hiking down to the frozen river. It is hard to tell how thick the ice is and is very dangerous. With that said, it is possible. Because the river and most of the waterfall freezes over, you can get a closeup of the frozen waterfall. Stick to the edges of the river and do not go near the edge of the waterfall. If attempting this please use safety and precaution.
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Check out our other posts on Canada for things to do in the area