Takakkaw Falls is the most stunning waterfall to see in the Canadian Rockies, and one of the most beautiful in all of Canada. In fact, it’s actually the second highest waterfall in all of Canada!
Seeing Takakkaw Falls is one of the best things to do in Yoho National Park, we’ll break down why you should visit, how to hike in the area, how to get to the waterfall, where to camp, and everything you need to know to have an enjoyable day there.
Why You Should Visit Takakkaw Falls
There are many reasons you should make the trip to Takakkaw Falls (or “Tak” falls as locals call it). For one it’s the second-highest waterfall in Canada at 373 meters. There are two drops with the main drop being a whopping 254 meters high.
Takakkaw Falls is also extremely accessible and almost any visitor to the Rockies should be able to see it. There is a parking area and a well-maintained path which will get you up close to the falls.
Takakkaw Falls is conveniently located right near the small Town of Field. It’s less than an hour away from the town of Golden, and less than 30 minutes from Lake Louise. You’ll be able to reach Tak Falls in just about an hour from Downtown Banff.
Yoho National Park is on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa, Blackfoot, and Cree First Nations. The word Yoho comes from the Cree expression for “awe and wonder”, and this stunning park sure does live up to its name. The word “Takakkaw” translates to “wonderful” in the Cree language, and there is good reason for that!
Takakkaw Falls Hike
- Length: 1.4 km
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Elevation Gain: 36 meters
- Difficulty: Easy
- Best Time To Go: May – June
- Parking: Takakkaw Falls Parking Lot
Although you can technically see Takakkaw Falls from the parking lot, the best views are from the hike. Don’t worry – it’s a short and easy hike that will lead you right up to the magnificent falls.
As far as Canadian Rockies hikes go, Takakkaw Falls is not demanding at all. If you want something short and sweet it’s a good one, however, you are looking for a longer day out consider the Iceline Trail or scramble up Paget Peak.
To get to Takakkaw Falls is just a 1.4 km round trip hike and only 36 meters of elevation gain on a well-maintained path. As you cross over the bridge you’ll really start to feel the power of the falls, and depending on the time of year you visit you may start to get wet. I would suggest bringing a rain jacket with you! The hike is kid, pet, wheelchair, and stroller-friendly!
It’s important to note that from this hike you’ll get views of Tak Falls from below, to get a better vantage point you should definitely consider hiking up the Iceline Trial at least a little ways.
How to Get to Takakkaw Falls
Takakkaw Falls is less than 20 minutes from the Town of Field, and less than one hour from Golden. It’s also nearby to the Lake Louise Village.
To access Takakkaw Falls you’ll need to travel down the Yoho Valley Road, which connects via the Trans Canada. The parking lot for Takakkaw Falls is at the end of the Yoho Valley Road, which you’ll drive on for 15 km from the Trans Canada pull off. The road is narrow, long, and winding but it sure is beautiful.
The Yoho Valley Road closes in the winter from October to late May/early June (based on road conditions), due to winter conditions.
Camping at Takakkaw Falls
If you’re tent camping opt for the campsite at Takakkaw Falls which operates on a first-come-first-serve basis walk-in campsite. You’ll have to make a short walk into the campsite, but they have a number of carts that can carry your camp gear. Although it’s first come first serve, it’s a busy campsite, so be prepared to not get a camping site peak summer – especially on weekends.
Not far from the Takakkaw Falls campsite is the backcountry campsite at Laughing Falls which could be a good option if you’re looking for a wilderness campsite without too much work to reach.
When is the Best Time to Visit Takakkaw Falls
Takakkaw Falls are fed by the meltwater of the Daly Glacier, which is all part of the Waputik Icefield. The best time to visit Takakkaw Falls is in June, when the glacial melt is roaring from the warmer weather that June sees in the Rockies. This is the case for most of the waterfalls in the Rockies. As the snow melts, the waterfall volumes are high.
However, if you visit Takakkaw Falls in late September or October, all that’s left will be a trickle of water until next summer rolls around. Parks Canada closes The Yoho Valley Road sometime in October, dates are subject to change and you will not be able to access Takakkaw Falls unless you are on snowshoes or nordic skis.
Even then you will need proper avalanche gear during this time. I would not recommend visiting Takakkaw Falls to the average visitor during this time.
Things to do Near Takakkaw Falls
- Emerald Lake: Emerald Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes to visit in Canada. Its turquoise blue color draws in visitors from around the world. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the Emerald Lake Lodge.
- Natural Bridge: On your way to Emerald Lake make sure to stop at the Natural Bridge. This is exactly what it sounds like – a natural bridge made out of rock that was cut by the Kicking Horse River
- Spiral Tunnels: Popular stop along the Trans Canada that showcases brilliant Canadian engineering.
- Check Out the Town of Field: The town of Field is a small one, but it’s well worth a stop to take a look around and enjoy a snack at.
- Hike the Iceline Trail: The Iceline Trail is one of the best day hikes in the Rockies. It’s a long trail that will take you past endless glacial lakes. Read the full guide here.
- Hike to Sherbrooke Lake: A lesser-known about lake in Yoho that is just as blue as Lake Louise!
Where to Stay in Yoho National Park?
There aren’t a plethora of places to stay in Yoho, but it’s still possible to stay inside the park or just outside of it on your visit.
- Emerald Lake Lodge: Highly sought after property to stay on the stunning Emerald Lake. Rates are high in the summer as the lodge is the only accommodation on Emerald Lake.
- Cathedral Mountain Lodge: An absolutely stunning log cabin property right in the town of Field. If you score a stay here in the summer consider yourself lucky!
- Town of Golden: The quaint town of Golden is very close by and offers more options at different budgets for everyone.
What to Wear On a Hike in the Rockies?
- Down Jacket: A down jacket is an essential in the Rockies. They pack down and fit easily in a backpack. However, despite their lightweight nature, they can offer a lot of warmth which is needed on almost every mountain summit.
- Hiking Pants: Good hiking pants are important in the Rockies as there is a lot of loose scree and rocks that can tear others pants easily. Our favorite hiking pants are the Fjallraven Kebs (Mens and Womens)
- Hiking Leggings: Hiking leggings are great for women in the Rockies. They provide awesome mobility and these ones from Arcteryx aren’t see through and are heavy duty.
- Windbreaker/Rainjacket: An important item to have while hiking is a windbreaker jacket. They come in especially handy on mountain summits when the wind is aboslutely whipping. Arc’teryx Windbreakers are our preferred jackets
- Sunglasses: Proper eye protection is important. Our favorite sunglasses brand is Smith.
- Scrambling Gloves: I don’t go on a hike or scramble in the Rockies witout a pair of rugged clothes to protect my hands. My favorites are from Outdoor Research.
- Trail Runners: Honestly I complete most hikes in trail runners so I can run or jog parts of the trail when I want. My go to trail runners are made by Salomon.
- Hiking Boots: On multi day hikes when I am carrying a large load I turn to proper hiking boots. The Salomon Outline boots are fantastic.
- Wool Socks: Don’t cheap out on your hiking socks. A proper pair of wool socks can make the difference between wet and dry feet.
- Hiking Underwear: The difference between hiking in normal underwear and actual moisture wicking underwear meant for outdoor actitivites is extreme. Yes they are more expensive but they last forever. My favorites are from Patagonia.
- Performance Shirt: The Outdoor Research Echo Series are the best hiking shirts for men and women.
- Hiking Poles: Can save your knees, especially on the descent of some of these steep hikes. Black Diamond is my preferred brand.
- Lightweight Backpack: You’ll need an awesome backpack for carrying all your gear. My favorite hiking backpacks are made by Camelbak.