Explore B.C: Day Trip to Takakkaw Falls & Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

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If you’re traveling to the Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta area, a short drive over to Yoho National Park in beautiful British Columbia should definitely be on your itinerary!

This national park in the Canadian Rockies is located between Lake Louise, AB and Golden. B.C. and home to gorgeous sights, easy hikes and also great food. You can easily explore the area as part of a day trip, or stay overnight for two (or more) days of fun!

This summer I visited Yoho National Park’s Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, and Truffle Pigs Bistro on an amazing day trip from Canmore. My week of adventures in the mountains was part of a partnership with the Coast Canmore Hotel (stay tuned for a separate blog post detailing that stay + more Rocky Mountain adventures!), and also part of just friendship / bonding with my mountain adventurer friends James, Ashleigh, and their Adventure Animals @GreatGramsofGary and Dukie (they are all fortunate enough to call the picturesque mountains their backyard). 

Here’s my day trip guide to the area so you can easily replicate this mountain adventure!!

Day Trip Travel Guide to Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

(plus where to eat: Truffle Pigs Restaurant in Field, B.C)
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Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is situated in the southeastern part of British Columbia, pretty much right along the B.C.-Alberta border. As you drive west on the Trans-Canada Highway 1 into B.C. from the Canmore/Banff and Lake Louise area, you’ll enter Yoho National Park and the tiny village of Field, B.C.

Yoho National Park is just 20 minutes west of Lake Louise. If you’re driving east from B.C., Yoho National Park is found just 20 minutes north east of Golden, B.C. 

Yoho is named after the Cree expression for “awe and wonder.” And that’s exactly what you’ll feel as you explore this national park—home to stunning waterfalls, mountains, lakes, fossils and more! 

(Important to note: there is not really a whole lot of cell service in the Yoho National Park region!)

Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
There's lots to do in Yoho National Park, including a visit to Takakkaw Falls!

Takakkaw Falls

One of the most popular spots to visit in Yoho National Park is Takakkaw Falls. This waterfall is the second highest waterfall in Canada (at 384m / 1,260 ft in total) and tumbling 254m / 830 ft in one continuous stretch, and is accessible mid-June until mid-October.

In Cree, ‘Takakkaw’ means ‘wonderful’—another apt description, as these falls truly are wonderful. 

Gary the Adventure Cat - Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
Takakkaw Falls with Gary the Adventure Cat!
Takakkaw in Cree means 'wonderful.' These falls are wonderful!

The walk (I say walk, not hike because it’s very easy lol) into Takakkaw Falls is short and well-maintained. You can see the falls from afar or go right up to the base of the waterfall where you’ll feel the spray and hear the roar of the water. There are also many benches along the route where you can sit and take in Mother Nature in all of her glory. One of the benches is even dedicated to James’ grandparents! And there’s also a short bridge that offers a nice viewing spot of the area as well. 

Gary the Adventure Cat - Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
James with Gary the Adventure Cat and Dukie, on a bench at Takakkaw Falls dedicated to James' grandparents!

While the walk to the falls is quite easy, the drive to the falls is a bit more challenging—steep with a few very tight switchbacks (so RV drivers in particular be wary. It’s doable but just be careful).

There’s lots of different spots for photo ops at Takakkaw Falls, depending on how adventurous you want to be, like a giant boulder many people were climbing on for photos when we went. We opted for smaller rocks nearby, closer to the falls, as well as some photos with the falls farther away. Some people also walked/climbed up the rocks right near the base of the falls to be even closer to the falls for their photos as well. Whichever area you decide to take it all in, just be safe!  

Gary the Adventure Cat - Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
Even without an Adventure Cat, Takakkaw Falls is a great spot to visit!
Gary the Adventure Cat - Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
View the falls from up close or far away!
Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
At Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park, B.C.
Gary the Adventure Cat - Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta
Love playing 'tourist' in the mountains!

Emerald Lake

Located just about 30 minutes from Takakkaw Falls and only 10 minutes from Field, B.C., is Emerald Lake, a beautiful, pristine blue-green lake surrounded by forest and mountain. Like other blue-green lakes in the Canadian Rockies, Emerald Lake is a glacial lake. Unlike some of the other blue-green lakes in the Canadian Rockies, Emerald Lake isn’t *as* crowded. Okay it does get pretty  crowded, but it’s not like, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake-crowded. 

Emerald Lake - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta Field
Emerald Lake is literally that blue-green!!!! No filter here! The sun hit it perfectly for this photo.

At Emerald Lake you’ve got lots of areas to stop and snap photos with the stunning blue-green lake behind you (don’t just snap photos on the bridge!) There is the Emerald Lake Trail, an approximately 10 km, fairly easy looped trail that goes around the lake, with many different openings to the water as you walk. This trail is accessible year-round. During the summer you can canoe, kayak and heck probably even jump in for a swim at Emerald Lake. During the winter, there is cross-country skiing (among other winter adventures). 

Emerald Lake Trail Loop Hike - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta Field
The well-maintained Emerald Lake looped trail.
Emerald Lake - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta Field
Emerald Lake has a bunch of different microclimates so you'll find a variety of nature scenes here!

Emerald Lake is simply stunning and we spent a couple hours here hiking the loop, snapping photos and just taking in the beauty of the lake and all the mountains that surround it. And if you find the right spot, and the sun hits it just right, WOW, the blue-green colour just pops so vividly. 

By about noon on a long weekend Sunday the parking lot to Emerald Lake was full and we ended up parking probably well over 1 km away on the side of the road, so although it is likely LESS busy than some of those other gorgeous blue-green glacial-fed lakes I mentioned above, it still can be pretty busy. (The hiking paths are definitely less busier than the bridge area, so you can definitely find some less crowded spaces and photo opportunities by taking the hiking trail!) 

Gary the Adventure Cat - Emerald Lake - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta Field
Gary loves Emerald Lake too!
Emerald Lake - Yoho National Park - Explore BC - Explore Alberta Field
This is REAL. Even if it looks like a painting.

Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge

For our Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake day trip, we started at the Falls in the morning, went to the lake right after, then did a late lunch (around 3 p.m.) in the village of Field, B.C. at the charming Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge. We initially planned to do Falls in the morning, lunch, then Emerald Lake, but decided to just do back-to-back adventures first as we didn’t end up spending too much time at Takakkaw Falls, but either or would work for a day trip! 

My friends James and Ashleigh have stayed at the Truffle Pigs Lodge before and loved the meals they had at the Bistro during their stay. I was looking forward to trying lunch at this little spot that’s been a part of the town for over 20 years. 

Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Travel Alberta - Mountain Village
Welcome to the Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge in Field, B.C. (Yoho National Park!)

Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge initially began as a cafe, general store, liquor and gift shop. Over the years it turned into the charming bistro lodge it is today (they say, “as piggies do grow, we needed a bigger pen” cute!) Rumour has it (well, according to my friend so this might be wrong lol), the Truffle Pigs Bistro chef used to be a fairly high end chef in Toronto but got tired of the city life and wanted to move to a small mountain town.

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A really great poke bowl at Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge!
Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Travel Alberta - Mountain Village - Pasta
Our 'table pasta' was a hit!

We had a wonderful lunch at the Truffle Pigs Bistro. We shared a “table pasta” (it’s like sharing appetizers, but sharing a main entree instead lol)—the “Zoomer Pappardelle” featuring oyster, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, sautéed with shallots, garlic and cream, then tossed with spinach, parsley, and parmesan cheese. I had the “Pok-Eh?” cold smoked Yellowfin tuna, tossed with a maple soy sesame oil, served with sticky sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, radish, purple cabbage, carrots, green onions, edamame, spicy mayo and a sprinkle of sesame seeds (this was a perfect poke bowl and one to rival bowls at poke-only shops). 

Ashleigh (a vegetarian), loves the Truffle Pigs’ “Beet the Meat” burger with grated beets, walnuts, millet, roast yam & cumin pressed into a patty on a toasted bun. Topped with crumbled goats cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise. James got the “Beefy AF Burger” with 7oz of pure Canadian Angus ground chuck beef on a toasted bun, with aged white cheddar, bacon, lettuce, beefsteak tomato, onion, BBQ mayo and a pickle wedge. Both burgers come with my favourite kind of fries—skinny and crispy cut. 

Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Travel Alberta - Mountain Village - Skinny Fries
Gotta love crispy, skinny fries!
Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lounge Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Travel Alberta - Mountain Village - Beet Burger
The beet burger is a great Vegetarian option at Truffle Pigs!

We devoured all of our dishes—hungry from all that mountain adventure, but also, because the dishes were so good! James says the dinner menu has more meat-y options (so if you’re a vegetarian, lunch is maybe more your jam). The Truffle Pigs also offers different dining packages for larger groups as well and save room for milkshakes and ice cream which you can get in the basement of the building! 

Also a big bonus—as Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake are Wi-Fi-/service-less, once you get to Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge, you’ll find you can use your phones again to share about your Yoho adventures! 

Down by the River (Field, B.C.)

Finally, before we headed back home (‘home base’ being Canmore, Alberta), we made a quick stop at Kicking Horse River (Valley). When we visited, the water levels were fairly low, so we were able to go right out on the rocks. Fun fact: Kicking Horse River is reportedly named after an explorer back in the 1800s who was kicked by his packhorse while exploring said river. 

Learn more about the mountain village of Field, B.C. and find other places of interest / things to do!

Kicking Horse - Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Hello BC - Travel Explore Alberta
Meowntain views at Kicking Horse River with Gary the Adventure Cat!
Kicking Horse - Field British Columbia - Explore BC - Hello BC - Travel Explore Alberta
Throwing sticks into the Kicking Horse River!

— 

So that’s my travel guide/summary of our day trip to Yoho National Park, visiting the impressive Takakkaw Falls, stunning Emerald Lake, and delicious Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge, plus river in the village of Field, B.C. 

We left Canmore around 9 a.m. (after a visit to Canmore’s lovely Le Fournil Bakery for some road breakfast!) If you’re headed to Yoho from Banff or Lake Louise you probably wouldn’t need to leave as early but going earlier definitely helps with less crowds! 

Stay tuned for my other Canmore blog post about why you should stay at the Coast Canmore Hotel and other day trip adventures you can do with Canmore as your ‘home base!’

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Share my Travel Guide to Takakkaw Falls & Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia!

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