Takakkaw Falls, British Columbia

DSC_0257

Takakkaw Falls in September 2014

I’m not even sure I can accurately describe the awesomeness that is Takakkaw Falls. At 1250′ tall, Takakkaw Falls is one of those waterfalls that’s stunning and yet difficult to capture it’s true height.

Takakkaw Falls is found in Yoho National Park, which is a stunningly beautiful park in British Columbia. (Banff National Park is right across the “border” in Alberta, and you should plan to visit both parks simultaneously.) In Yoho, there are a number of impressive waterfalls. While Wapta Falls is nowhere near as tall, it is much wider. Takakkaw wins in the height department, though.

The road to the falls is narrow and winding (and only open for a few months in the summer), with some surprisingly sharp curves. Once you get to the falls, though, it’s smooth sailing. There’s no real hike required to get to the falls, but you can walk on the trails to get a much closer view. If you look at the picture, you just might notice some red dots near the base of the falls, which are people getting a better look.

While you’re already rewarded with a great view of Takakkaw Falls, Whiskey Jack Falls is across the road. If you plan far enough in advance, you could even stay at the hostel near the falls. If you want to hike further (which I didn’t do), there are four other waterfalls along another trail that starts at Takakkaw Falls. (It’s a 10 mile round trip hike…)

Directions:

  1. From the Trans-Canadian Highway 1, take Yoho Valley Road north to Takakkaw Falls. (The signs for Takakkaw Falls are very obvious.)
  2.  The parking are for the falls will be on your right, and you’ll be able to see Takakkaw Falls from there. There’s a trail that leads you much closer to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 1250′
Hike: not applicable

Where in the World is Takakkaw Falls?

Advertisements

Wapta Falls, British Columbia

I had somehow misread how far I was going to have to hike to view Wapta Falls. I thought it was a roadside waterfall, so when I arrived to see a sign that said it was a 2.4 km hike, I hesitated for a very brief second. But then I thought to myself, “It’s early, the first hike of the day…This shouldn’t be any issue.” And it wasn’t. There are parts of the hike that are more uphill and downhill that I might have expected, but it was totally worth it. The reward is a 330′ wide waterfall. The height is said to be 100′ tall, but I’m inclined to agree with the World Waterfall Database that about 60′ seems more like it.

Wapta Falls is still massive in size. I might not completely trust the sign at the trail head concerning water volume, but I would hazard to guess it’s in the top 5 in Canada. Just having a lot of water flowing over doesn’t necessarily make a waterfall interesting to me, though. What I found fascinating about this waterfall was the variety of different viewpoints that produced uniquely different photographs. When you’re above the crest of the falls, you’ll probably get the most complete view, except for the far right portion of the falls.

If you continue down to the base of the falls, you’ll struggle to completely see the falls, but you’ll get some interesting view of the falls with the mountains in the background. And if you climb the “rock island” directly in front of the falls, you’ll be able to see most of the falls in amazing detail, but you’ll have about 1 second to take a photograph before your camera and/or glasses are just completely covered with spray from the falls. There’s another point on the left side where there’s an opening in the “island”, and you can actually view the falls free from spray, though that may have been due to wind conditions. It’s a really fascinating waterfall, and with Takakkaw Falls (at 1200’+) nearby, it’s a great waterfall day.

A note about directions: I lucked out. The book I had made it clear that there was no access to the Wapta Falls Road if you’re headed WEST along Trans-Canada Highway 1. (If you knew the correct location, you might be able to turn, but there’s no sign in the westbound direction. I was in Golden, BC, so on the way back on the eastbound route, the sign was very clear. If you’re headed west, there is a place to turn around a few kilometers later.

Directions:

  1. Headed eastbound along Trans-Canada Highway 1, enter Yoho National Park. A few kilometers after entering the park, you’ll see a sign for Wapta Falls on your right.
  2. Turn onto the unpaved road to the Wapta Falls trail head. It’s a 2 km drive, and it isn’t terrible, though you will have to navigate some potholes. It’s a straight shot ending at the trail head.
  3. It’s a 2.4 km one-way hike from the trail head. It’s easy for the first half, and then suddenly starts climbing uphill and downhill for the second half. As you approach the falls, there is one brief portion that is moderately steep.
  4. Keep following the trail to the base of the falls. The trail is safer than I expected it to be, though as usual, be careful!

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 58′
Length of Hike: 3.0 miles round-trip

Wapta Falls from above the crest (September 2014)

Wapta Falls from the base

Wapta Falls from the base

Where in the World is Wapta Falls?