iceline trail via little yoho
- December 24, 2020
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Wanting to get the blood pumping, Loz marched out of the car park at Takakkaw Falls full steam ahead. If doing the trail clockwise as we did, one goes left (northwest) towards the top of Twin Falls and I assume the other goes straight down to Yoho Valley and the parking lot. When hiking you are responsible to take care of yourself and assistance may not be nearby. Campsites must be booked in advance through Parks Canada and book up quickly so make sure you plan in advance. 9. They were on their final day of back country hiking / camping which I always find impressive about these people (Canadians). Share this report on: Due to its tendency to become a bit of an oven on sunny, summer days, you'll want a healthy supply of water and good sun protection. Even though you may be tired from the journey, it’s worth the effort. Starting from Takakkaw Falls, one of tallest in Canada, it goes up to follow the lower edge of several glaciers. Last summer, I spent a little time in the Canadian Rockies with my dear housemate from London, Loz. It is about a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Banff or one hour from Golden. Located near twin falls (guess that was pretty obvious eh?) We met a Japanese couple who kindly stopped for us to take a photo. It was difficult to see where this part of the trail would end, it seemed to keep going. So we took on the Iceline trail via Little Yoho. As an aside, Field is a quaint mountain village of about 200 people. via the Trans-Canada Highway and Yoho Valley Road. Hopefully we’ve inspired you to check out this area so we’ll leave you with a packing list to plan your trip. Mark down the emergency numbers for the national park (911 or 403-762-4506 for Yoho) but keep in mind that you may not have cell reception. The maximum elevation is reached at the top of a moraine at km 6.4. The trail meanders through the forest for about 4km, heading steadily downhill until you come across a viewing area for Twin Falls. Parks Canada has an excellent page on safety which you should read before entering the backcountry. But you’ll miss some of the wonderful scenery further up the Iceline Trail. Elevation Gain: 864m Of course she turned and gave me that look of ‘hurry up’ as if I was taking my time idly looking at the beer section in the supermarket. There was a freshness flowing in the air. No matter, we were planning to do the Whaleback anyway. Cutting downhill through the forest via switchbacks, the trail passed another junction with the Marpole Lake Trail about a half mile after the Celeste Lake Trail junction; here, I once again stayed on the Little Yoho Valley Trail to head towards Laughing Falls and the Takakkaw Falls Trailhead. As mentioned, the trail can be done in either direction. After a couple of good snaps we both decided it was time to head back. Iceline trail locates in Yoho National Park, is a must do for any avid hikers. Start at the Whiskey Jack Hostel as it gets the elevation gain out of the way while you have fresh legs and puts you quickly above the treeline. Record your own itinerary from the Wikiloc app, upload the trail and share it … It’s consistently found on “best of” lists and delivered! We had already taken in a couple of smaller hikes that would take a morning or an afternoon but now it was time for an all dayer. Have you been hiking in the last few days? Reservations are required for camping and park passes are required for driving there. At the bottom of the descent through an avalanche gully, turn left onto the Little Yoho Trail and follow it to reach a junction at Laughing Falls. DIFFICULT 12.5 mi. If you’re planning to do the Iceline via Little Yoho and you can’t get in at the hut this would be our recommended backcountry camping spot for a two-day trip! This was one of the only points in the trail where we found the route wasn’t crystal clear. At km 10.2, the Iceline Trail crosses a bridge over the Little Yoho River and ends at its intersection with the Little Yoho Valley trail. A great scenic route with very accessible trails. The trail to the Stanley Mitchell Hut is roughly 11km, so with a relatively short distance ahead of us, we figured we could make up for our late start. Contacts. We soon covered up our T-shirts with our fleeces to stop the chill from all that sweat that was hanging to our clothes. The traditional Iceline loop is slightly different than our route, it continues pass the high point on the Iceline and drops into Little Yoho Valley and Stanley Mitchell Hut before following the Little Yoho Valley Trail toward Yoho Valley. You may set out during a beautiful sunny day with a perfect forecast but if you hike enough in the Rockies you know you’ll get stormed on someday. The Iceline Trail, Whaleback, and Yoho Valley trails make for a great two-four day backpacking circuit in Yoho National Park. It was designated a Federal Heritage Building in 1997. Having not seen anyone apart from the old couple so far, we started to come across more hikers. After admiring the Takakkaw Falls and snapping a few photos (ok, more than a few) we set out towards the Whiskey Jack Hostel and the start of the Iceline Trail at 2pm. Iceline vía Little Yoho Hiking trail in Field, British Columbia (Canada). It had pretty much come out of nowhere. Translated from Cree, Takakkaw means “it is magnificent”. Great photography. It was an opportune time to get some pretty cool photos and stop for some snacks and drink. There's a backcountry campground here if you wish to explore the area more before you… Starting from Takakkaw Falls, one of tallest in Canada, it goes up to follow the lower edge of several glaciers. Let’s work together to keep Yoho National Park safe.. Share your trail pictures with us! Fly through on a day trip or split the hike into a multi-day backpacking trip to truly enjoy the surroundings. Here we were, on top of a mountain with all the fresh-air and space we could ever need, and my guffs would float down wind and find a way straight up Loz’ nostrils. If you’re doing both the Iceline and Whaleback portions we recommend the clockwise route. Alternatively, use a filter or purchase tablets to treat the water. The hike follows remnants of the Emerald Glacier and with the majority of it is above treeline you’ll be treated to stupendous views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Stop and take a couple pictures to enjoy the scene. Turning left (and the only way that goes up) at the junction we headed up the Whaleback. I think we both agreed that we had our thirst for hiking adventures quenched as well. Boil water for at least 1 minute before drinking. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/british-columbia/iceline-trail The trail begins near the town of Field, in British Columbia and the extra hour of driving from Banff allows you to get away from the crowds. Take a good look and you will see your next destination, the Twin Falls teahouse. Nearby Hiking Trails. We took on some water and it was at this point that we switched and Loz took the lead. This was the first hike that I had done that was this high up. The colours were out in full and the rain had brought out the smell of the grasses and earth. Takakkaw Falls is only the beginning! Hopefully it stays in your pack untouched or is only used to treat blisters. Alas this wasn’t the case. We couldn’t see it on the trail so we only really noticed it when we saw a break from the forest to the side. Dress in layers and avoid cotton as it does not keep you warm when it gets wet. We had some nice chats but didn’t really get to know each other for too long. Trail Distance: Depends on turnaround point or if hiking the full loop. If you see one in the spring, listen for their pretty song too. Long Day: summit the Iceline Trail, then on your return at the alpine meadow junction create a looped by taking the Junction down on the Celeste Lake Trail to the Little Yoho Valley Trail and finish on the Yoho Valley Trail… If you’re one of those crazy speedy hikers or a trail runner it is possible to do both sections in one (very long) day but we take no responsibility for your sore feet! So the views were absolutely incredible – I was amazed at how far we could see. Iceline Trail (Via Celeste Lake) Total Distance: 18 ... and goes 6.6 k in each direction to the Iceline Summit. So once we had gotten over the hurdle of pace we were all good, apart from my farting, which was not much appreciated. And although I’m not adverse to some nice hills, it was certainly welcomed. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. ( Log Out / We drove out from Calgary the morning of our trip and stopped in the town of Field to wait out a bit of rain. The closer we got to the end the more people we started to see again. Great for beginners and experienced hikers alike, the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park is one of the premier hikes in Western Canada. They also require an Alpine Club of Canada membership (which you can purchase). Lunch couldn’t have really come a better time. The outlook was even less promising when we heard the rumble of thunder somewhere in the distance. Retailers also sell bells but those have been proven to be ineffective and may actually make the bear curious, so save your money. The spots turned to splatters and we soon got the rain jackets out and the rain pants on. Bears generally prefer to avoid people so make noise to avoid them. When we are this high, we could look over to the set of mountains on the other side. These falls are the second highest in Western Canada. On a number of occasions she told me to go on ahead but I felt if I knew what was good for me I’d stay behind and let her lead, so I declined. I was trailing behind already but I had an idea of what lay ahead of us so I was more than happy to pace myself. I of course found this hilarious. We followed an avalanche shoots for a while before the trail started to run parallel with the ridge. Equipment: Ensure that you have enough food (including fuel), water, and the appropriate equipment for your trip. This would be a good place to spend a night if you’re looking to break the trail up into three days (either the first night or the last night). Following signs for Iceline via Little Yoho loop, the run started off on a runnable gravel path. Essential information about the Iceline Trail Getting to the Iceline Trail. Little Yoho National Park of Canada is located just outside of the small town of Field, BC, and not far from the ski resort of Lake Louise in Alberta. We could see Daly Glacier and Takakkaw Falls which looked so big when close up, now seemed nothing but a trickle. At the top of the Whaleback we admired the view of the Yoho Valley’s peaks and glaciers while having a snack and checking over the Yoho National Park Trial Map. After hiking along the Iceline, we eventually descended back into the forest, with only a couple kilometres to go until Stanley Mitchell Hut and Little Yoho Campground. About 6km past Twin Falls. The remainder of the hike was pretty flat. Further on there are detours for Point Lace Falls and Angel’s Staircase. Pack a first aid kit and know how to use it. Cutting downhill through the forest via switchbacks, the trail passed another junction with the Marpole Lake Trail about a half mile after the Celeste Lake Trail junction; here, I once again stayed on the Little Yoho Valley Trail to head towards Laughing Falls and the Takakkaw Falls Trailhead. I’m not a hiker, but this seems like it would be worth it. The Iceline hike is a wonderful trail up past tree line to and along a ridge presenting beautiful vistas across the Yoho Valley of Takakkaw Falls as fast-receding glaciers teeter above you. It was nice to have a change in terrain as well. It was slow going and full of switchbacks. Most day hikers will stop there, but for those heading further, the trail continues and enters the forest in about another kilometre. There would have been nowhere really to take shelter and so we were exposed to whatever the sky had to offer. RVs and trailers are not permitted due to steep switchbacks.” Cell Reception: Only once in the alpine. Iceline – one of the top Yoho National Park hikes. Also, it can be done in both directions, starting at the Whiskey Jack Hostel or Takakkaw Falls Campground. on the Whaleback section of the trail. For beginner backpackers staying in a hut is a great way to try a backcountry trip without having to worry about carrying a tent and cooking supplies on your back. Set along the Kicking Horse River and the Canadian Pacific Railway it is an excellent gateway to explore Yoho National Park. It must have been the jerky. Not too much longer we were back to the beginning. As with the campgrounds, bookings for the Stanley Mitchell Hut need to be made well in advance. Travel advice, stories, and inspiration! The popular Iceline Trail is one of the premiere Yoho National Park hikes. We carried along the ridge. Do the hike for take-your-breath away views of the Yoho Valley, Emerald Glacier along with views of the Vice President, Whaleback and Isolated Peak – if you hike to the high point on the trail. This year, we were more lucky. In fact, the hike length can be shortened by taking the cutoff to Celeste Lake, which is shortly south of the Iceline Trail?s highest point of elevation. Two round the world travellers and our guide for adding a little zen to your adventures. It is about a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Banff or one hour from Golden. For me, the immediate were not so interesting, as it was like being on the moon, but one could not help but ogle over the snow-capped peaks that could be seen for miles. The Iceline hike is a wonderful trail up past tree line to and along a ridge presenting beautiful vistas across the Yoho Valley of Takakkaw Falls as fast-receding glaciers teeter above you. It must have rained for a good hour. We came to a natural resting point when we joined an old couple taking a breather and trying to peek through the trees. Thanks so much! The wind had picked up now as well and we were very much hoping that the heavens didn’t open whilst we were up here. There was no lightning however so it turned out to be a rather benign grumble from the Gods. My waterproofs were very much in the need for some re-treatment so the shelter of the ACC Hut was a pleasant sight. As Parks Canada states: “Yoho Valley Road is open mid-June through mid-October. The Iceline Loop Trail is a long and somewhat arduous day hike that has a little bit of everything Yoho National Park has to offer. Right along the river, it looked like a nice place to camp but our weary legs carried on for the remaining 4km to the parking lot. It’s undergone a few renovations but is relatively the same as when it was originally constructed (apparently, we weren’t around to see the original construction). Takkakaw Falls to Stanley Mitchell Hut via Little Yoho Valley (9.7km one way) Kiwetinok Pass – (5km return) Day 2: Whaleback and Twin Falls via Marpole Connector (16.3km circuit) Day 3: Stanley Mitchell Hut – Iceline Trail (10.5km one way) ( Log Out / The plan is to stay overnight at the Little Yoho campground. We reciprocated and took one of them as well. Aug 21, 2014. Share Bookmark My Map Print GPX KML ... Of Banff via Trans Canada Highway west to theTakakkaw Falls- junction in Yoho National Park, 4 km east of Fields. ( Log Out / “I can, but I don’t want to” I say. Know where you’re going, look at a map (and take it with you), and read a couple different blogs or books. Download its GPS track and follow the route on a map. Suffice to say, all layers were needed until later in the day. For our trip we opted to do the trail clockwise, starting at the Hostel and doing the main portion of Iceline on the first day. It was a pretty young family, with the oldest of 2 kids maybe around 15. For these reasons and its easy accessibility from Calgary, we figured this gem was deserving of a place on our 2017 Alberta Bucketlist despite being in British Columbia. DIFFICULT 5.6 mi. The Parks Canada Visitor Centre in Field, BC would also have information about the Iceline Trail and other attractions at Yoho National Park. ... Stanley Mitchell Hut via Little Yoho Valley Trail and Yoho Valley Trail. If you’re camping, make sure that you place all of your food in bear proof canisters (available at Yoho’s campsites), or hoist it 3-5 metres into a tree. We took her advice, retraced our steps and started on the ‘better’ direction. When you curve around The President, you'll descend a little into the forest of Little Yoho Valley. Share a few pictures with us as well as your impressions. This version would be a 17km day, starting from either the Whiskey Jack Hostel or Yoho Valley going through the Celeste Lake junction (see our Iceline Trail Map at the end of the post). Located near twin falls (guess that was pretty obvious eh?) A bunch of board games, a guitar, and wood burning fireplace make this place quite cozy at night and you’re sure to make new friends! We love the, Permits for campsite and/or hut & give a friend a copy of your itinerary, Hiking Boots, Clothes, and a Warm Jacket or Fleece, Water Bottles & Filter or Pristine Tablets. The next 2km is the main elevation gain for the day so take heart that the rest of the trip is steadily downhill. Finally, cross the river on a bridge to the Alpine Club of Canada, Stanley Mitchell Hut. It was a 20.8 k route which by no means unmanageable, but also not a walk in the park either, such as with Emerald Lake. Twin Falls is worth the extra effort. Reservations are required for camping and park passes are required for driving there.… For experienced backpackers, this hut is a nice little piece of luxury. The Iceline Trail starts from Takakkaw Falls in the heart of Yoho National Park. When we did the trail we met groups that had travelled to Yoho from all over the world. Mt. You can make this longer or shorter depending on your energy. The trails are very well marked and laid with gravel for the most part. >The Iceline Trail really is a unique and amazing hike. It all starts with a pretty epic 2.5k climb through the treeline. We decided to go clockwise around the loop, starting at the Whisky Jack Hostel. Crossing Laughing Falls is a highlight and the campground there looks gorgeous nestled in by the river. Noteably, the distance for the last portion of the Iceline Trail to Stanley Mitchell Hut seemed to be mixed up with the distance to Celeste Lake Junction from Stanley Mitchell Hut (5km). Elevation Gain: 864m Prepare: Last but not least, research the area. Starting in the clockwise direction from Whiskey Jack Hostel the backcountry campgrounds on this gem of a trek in Yoho National Park are as follows: A 2km off the normal Iceline path and not too far from the Hostel. Route: Iceline Trail via Little Yoho (23) Date: September 21, 2015 Distance: 20 km Duration: 8 h 10 min Peak: 2252 m Gain: 889 m. Takakkaw Falls to Laughing Falls Camp (5 km) Misty Takakkaw Falls from the trailhead. Parking here can be tricky in the middle of the day, but if you’re patient a spot will open up. It wasn’t long after we (I) wolfed down our lunch to decide to push on. We hiked the full loop to make sure we saw the Whaleback and Twin Falls and it is about 30km. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. There were a couple of camping spots here and thought it would be a great place to spend after all that hiking. Back. The tail was pretty clear as it was rather well trodden, which made things much easier as the trail markers (ribbons) were not too easy to spot, wrapped around rocks by our feet. What we could see however was this nice little peak ahead of us. With a soft smile, I did remind her that this is exactly what she was doing earlier at the car park and on the other hikes, but they were different, apparently. All along you can hear the roar of Takakkaw Falls and as you clear the treeline, take some time to appreciate the fact that you are now higher than one of the highest waterfalls in Canada. This is one of Yoho National Park’s premier backpacking trails. Last but not least, operated by the Alpine Club of Canada, this hut is the luxury way to do a backpacking trip. Never underestimate how cold it can get at night in the Rockies, even during the heat of summer! The flowers and fauna here was beautiful. It is home to the very popular, and highly coveted by hikers, “Iceline Trail” which draws hundreds of hikers a year for it’s amazing location and views. We weren’t going fast but Loz certainly got her wish of raising her heart rate. The trail, starting near Takakkaw Falls, climbs to and traverses a high bench with inspiring views of the glacier clad summits towering above the Yoho and Little Yoho Valleys. “Relax, we have all day, there’s no need to rush”. Yoho’s Iceline Trail e can be done any time in the summer or fall but keep in mind Yoho Valley Road is closed to vehicle traffic from early October through late June due to avalanche risk. McArthur, the Des Poilus Glacier and Isolated Peak anchor the far end of the Iceline Trail as you near the Little Yoho Valley. Getting to Yoho National Park & The Iceline Trail, Hiking the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park, Zentraveller’s Backpacking Trip on the Iceline Trail, Backcountry Zen: The Northover Ridge Hike, Sleeping Pad (Not required if staying at the hut. At any rate, if you’re doing the trail clockwise as we did, turn left when you get to the top of the Whaleback. If you follow these tips you should be prepared if something goes wrong and you’ll find more enjoyment in your hike! “Scottie! 2. From Stanley Mitchell Hut we quickly descended approximately 2.5km through the forest to Celeste Lake junction which was actually closed as the bridge had been washed out. If you visit Yoho National Park or hike the Iceline Trail tell us about it in the comments or send us a picture. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Route: Iceline Trail via Little Yoho (23) Date: September 21, 2015 Distance: 20 km Duration: 8 h 10 min Peak: 2252 m Gain: 889 m. Takakkaw Falls to Laughing Falls Camp (5 km) Misty Takakkaw Falls from the trailhead. Start Routes Iceline Trail, Yoho National Park. We were back to where we had initially started off on our hike in the opposite direction. We hiked 15kms from the parking lot to the Iceline Trail lookout. Although doable as a long day hike, this was a great way to really appreciate the splendour of the region.This time, we hiked a shorter version of the trail via Celeste Lake. We swapped positions. Yes, it’s definitely a great hike and worth the effort. Doing the trail over a couple of days gives you time to enjoy the area so naturally, this is what we recommend! Too early in the trail to be much use for our recommended route but could make a nice detour! RVs and trailers are not permitted due to steep switchbacks.” Cell Reception: Only once in the alpine. Not quite the answer she continued ahead until we reach the trail head. ( Log Out / The first of many sights along the trail is Laughing Falls. By now the rain had halted so it was a perfect time to get going. We certainly are privileged to have such stunning beauty so close and accessible from our home in Calgary. Strong hikers may access the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park via Goodsir Pass in Yoho. It is slightly longer at 13.5 mi or 20.8 km (Parks Canada, alltrails). Perfectly spaced to break up the Iceline Trail. If you have more time, add the Whaleback trail, which allows you sky-high views of the Presidential peaks in Yoho National Park and includes a scenic stop at Twin Falls. This is the payoff for the earlier steep hike through the forest. 1 Reviews of Iceline / Little Yoho Valley Loop "A great scenic route with very accessible trails. If you’re planning to do the Iceline via Little Yoho and you can’t get in at the hut this would be our recommended backcountry camping spot for a two-day trip! I was willing just for a drink. The dense cloud seemed to be coming our way and we felt spots of rain hit our face. A site worth visiting on its own, Takakkaw Falls is the starting point for the Iceline Trail. Despite the beauty, it was a little torture. For some reason I hadn’t brought my water filter with me. Iceline / Little Yoho Valley Loop. We hiked 15kms from the parking lot to the Iceline Trail lookout. From Twin Falls the trail is well defined and it’s 8.5km back to the parking lot. Our day two was a longer 20km trek, but we figured with the weight savings of no tent or cooking gear and the elevation gain out of the way we could make good time. One of the best spots we stopped at was Laughing Falls. It was a 20.8 k route which by no means unmanageable, but also not a walk in the park either, such as with Emerald Lake . Sing and shout to your heart’s content. DIFFICULT 9.9 mi. Descending from the Whaleback, after about 30 minutes you’ll run into some powerful rushing water and cross a bridge over the top of Twin Falls. On a previous trip to the Iceline, we hiked the 21 km trail over two days, camping at Little Yoho Valley. Before the steep descent to the Yoho Valley trail, continue a short distance for a view of the Iceline Trail, pictured at the top of this post. We got off to a late start because of the potato stop, but we felt strong and reasonably sure we could finish before dark. It was our first all-dayer and it had been testing – the distance, weather and general tiredness all contributed but it a spectacular way to spend one of our last days in the Rockies together. Iceline Trail/Little Yoho Valley Trail/Yoho Valley Trail (21.3 km loop, 715 meters elevation gain) – can be done as a long day hike or as an overnight with backcountry camping at Little Yoho or Laughing Falls campgrounds (additional fee applies) or an overnight stay at the Alpine Club of Canada Stanley Mitchell Hut. We had actually started going the other way until we came across a nice lady who recommended that it was probably a better way to do the route. They’re a fairly plain looking brown bird, but look for their unique white eyelid and characteristic dipping, they’re a lot of fun to watch! When you connect, state that you are “In an emergency in Yoho National Park and require Warden Service” Water: Pack enough water and know where you can refill along the trail. Yoho’s most spectacular backpacking begins in the Yoho Valley. My water had run out a couple of hours ago. Turn on Yoho Valley Road and park at the Takakkaw Falls viewing area. To get to Yoho National Park from Calgary (the nearest major city) drive West on Highway 1 for about 2.5 hours. Weather: Weather can change quickly in the Rocky Mountains. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. As you may recall from Emerald Lake, Loz likes to set a fast pace. 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