If you want to avoid the crowds of Banff and Lake Louise while traveling the Canadian Rockies, you might consider joining the smaller crowds in nearby Yoho National Park.
The Whaleback and Iceline Trail is a great two day hike that offers a bit of everything the Rocky Mountains have to offer – high mountains, spectacular waterfalls, glaciers, peaceful lakes surrounded by fir tree forest and from time to time the odd moose crossing your path….
After a night at the rustic Whiskey Jack Hostel ( which had nothing to do with a guy called Jack and Whiskey was also not involved in the history of the place…..), the hiking trail started just next to the majestic Takakkaw Falls which are said to be four times as high as the Niagara Falls (but not that big….) Not bad for a start…….
Trekking North along the Yoho River past the “Laughing” Falls, brought us after 3 1/2 hour – unfortunately mostly in the rain – to the Twin Fall Chalet – an old timber structure with a lot of history which was run for many years as a tea house. Unfortunately Fran Drummond the very charismatic (70+year old !) proprietor who is said to still carry all supplies for her guests to the cabin herself , wasn’t in ( possibly shopping for new hiking boots?!….), so that we had to make do with a cup of tea on the front porch
(photo taken while thinking of all my Estonian friends…..).
That restored us well enough to scale the Whaleback – a partial ridge walk, which at 2200 m above sea level brings you up to the iceline and provides you with stunning views of the forest covered valley and the Yoho River below.
From there we eventually descended again the valley and joined the trail to the Stanley Mitchell Hut – another Canadian Alpine Club hut with matresses under the roof, an old woodburner and a couple of outside toilets – Silke was not really overwhelmed…
At least there was excellent company and she managed to gamble away a considerable share of our travel funds (ok, not really – she won most of the time..).
Next morning we continued our hike along the Iceline Trail, an iconic high route, passing one glacier after the next with even more (unfortunately retreating) glaciers now visible on the other side of the valley.After a short detour to Lake Yoho -extremely beautiful –
We returned to the hut and finished the day in style with an excellent (admittedly Australia) Red….