Takakkaw Falls in Yoho • A Guide to Visiting

Takakkaw Falls is the most stunning waterfall in the Canadian Rockies and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in BC. In fact, it’s actually the second-highest waterfall in all of Canada! It’s well worth a stop for any visitor to the Rockies, especially if you are already nearby at Emerald Lake or Lake Louise in Banff.

Seeing Takakkaw Falls is one of the best things to do in Yoho National Park. We’ll explain 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 Should You Visit Takakkaw Falls?

Takakkaw Falls shoulder season

You should make the trip to Takakkaw Falls (or “Tak” Falls, as locals call it) for many reasons. For one, it’s the second-highest waterfall in Canada at 373 meters. There are two drops, the main drop being a whopping 254 meters high.

Takakkaw Falls is also extremely accessible; almost any Rockies visitor 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, and you’ll be able to reach the falls in just about an hour from Downtown Banff.

Cameron walking at the Takkakaw Falls Campground

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!

About the Takakkaw Falls Hike

Takakkaw Falls hike
  • Length: 1.4 km
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Elevation Gain: 36 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Best Time To Go: June (only accessible June 13 to October 14)
  • 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 leading you to the magnificent falls.

Takakkaw Falls photo

As far as Canadian Rockies hikes go, Takakkaw Falls is not demanding. If you want something short and sweet it’s a good one, however, if 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 get wet. I would suggest bringing a rain jacket with you! The hike is kid, pet, wheelchair, and stroller-friendly!

hiking the iceline
Takakkaw Falls from the Iceline Trail

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 There

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 Lake Louise Village. To access Takakkaw Falls, you must travel down the Yoho Valley Road, which connects via TransCanada. The parking lot for Takakkaw Falls is at the end of 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 is beautiful.

The Yoho Valley Road
The Yoho Valley Road

The Yoho Valley Road is located 5 km east of Field, and is only open seasonally from late June until mid-October, weather permitting. Meaning this is your only time to access Takakkaw Falls. In 2024 Yoho Valley Road is scheduled to open on June 13 and close on October 14th.

Camping Nearby

Takakkaw Falls camping
Campsite views

If you’re tent camping, opt for the campsite at Takakkaw Falls, which used to operates on a first-come-first-serve basis walk-in campsite, but now is reservable between June 20 to September 16 (fully open from June 13 to October 14). You’ll have to make a short walk into the campsite, but they have several carts to 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 during peak summer – especially on weekends.

Takakkaw Falls campground

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. However, you will have to hike with your gear about 125 meters up over the course of 4km to reach the campsite. Not too far for backcountry camping!

Cameron at Laughing Falls in yoho
Cameron at Laughing Falls

From Takakkaw Falls, you can hike over the Yoho Pass to Emerald Lake, arriving on foot, but plan your return to camp.

Front Country Campsites in Yoho

Kicking HorseYes, (May 31 to October 14)Water, flush toilets, Showers, firepits, sani dump30.50
MonarchNoOverflow camping, potable water, sry toilets, sani dump$19.75
Takakkaw FallsYes (June 20 to September 16)Potable water, dry toilets, bear bins, firepits$19.75
Hoodoo CreekNoPotable water, dry toilets, bear bins, firepits$16.75

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 mid 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. (Keep in mind that to access the falls, Yoho Valley Road must be open. In 2024, it is scheduled to open on June 13th.)

red adirondack parks canada chairs

However, if you visit Takakkaw Falls in 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, typically on the Tuesday after Canadian Thanksgiving. The road remains closed until mid to late June. 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. I would not recommend visiting Takakkaw Falls to the average visitor during the winter. You can stay up to date on when exactly the Yoho Valley Road will open here.

How Long is Yoho Valley Road?

the yoho valley road

The Yoho Valley Road is almost 14 km in length and takes about 25 minutes to drive. It’s a stunning road that passes through beautiful valleys, glaciers, waterfalls, and rivers. If you are visiting Yoho National Park, we recommend driving this road in its entirety.

Are Dogs Allowed?

picnic table at tak falls

Dogs are allowed at Takakkaw Falls but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Is Takakkaw Falls Open in the Winter?

The Yoho Valley Road gives access to Takakkaw Falls but is closed in the winter. The only way to access Takakkaw Falls in the winter is by cross-country skiing in. This is avalanche terrain, so you’ll need proper avalanche training and gear to see Tak Falls in the winter. This is not recommended to the average visitor.

Do You Need a Parks Pass to Visit?

parks canada sign for takakkaw falls

You need a National Parks Pass to visit Yoho National Park. You can purchase a Parks Canada pass at any park gate. Yes, Parks Canada employees check, and you can get a ticket if you don’t have one. You’ll hit a Parks Canada gate right after Canmore along the Trans-Canada Highway if coming from Calgary before entering Banff. Parks Canada pass prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $11.00
  • Senior: $9.50
  • Youth (up to 17): Free
  • Family/group of 7 people: $22.00
  • Day passes expire at 4 pm the following day.

Or you can buy them from Parks Canada in advance online. If you’re staying in the Rockies for over a few days, I highly recommend a Discovery Pass. A Parks Canada Discovery Pass, which gets you entrance to all Parks Canada destinations for the year, is only $151.25 for a family.

Again, day passes are $11.00 per person, so depending on how many days you are staying and if you have plans to go elsewhere like Banff, Waterton, or Jasper, you may want to consider the Discover Pass. Discovery Pass fees are as follows:

  • Adult: $75.25
  • Senior: $64.50
  • Family: $151.25

Things to do Near Takakkaw Falls

natasha at sherbrooke lake in yoho at sunset
Sherbrooke Lake
  • 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, stop at the Natural Bridge. This is exactly what it sounds like – a natural bridge made out of rock 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 small, but it’s well worth a stop to take a look around and enjoy a snack.
  • 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 lake in Yoho that is just as blue as Lake Louise!
  • Hike to Laughing Falls: The hike to Laughing Falls is a short and easy. Just under 8 km round trip from Tak Falls is this awesome waterfall. A great little day hike.
  • Hike to Twin Falls: If you want to keep hiking, you can continue on to Twin Falls from Laughing Falls. These are two large water flows right next to each other, hence the name “Twin Falls.” Continue 6.5 km from Laughing Falls to reach Twin Falls.

The Best Places to Stay Nearby

Cathedral-Mountain-Lodge stay
Cathedral Lake Lodge

This is a luxury mountain lodge near Takakkaw Falls. It books up fast in the summer, as many visitors and locals alike are dying to stay here. Easy to see why when it’s so beautiful and unique.

Check Rates

emerald lake lodge
Emerald Lake Lodge

Not far from Takakkaw Falls is Emerald Lake Lodge. This is the only place to stay on Emerald Lake and has people traveling from around the world to stay a night!

Check Rates

mountaineer lodge
Mountaineer Lodge

Mountaineer Lodge is at Lake Louise and is a great budget option in the area!

Check Rates

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!

↓ Join the community ↓

The Banff Blog Facebook Group is your headquarters for Canadian Rockies travel advice and information, including hike and off-season travel information. You can also meet new adventure buddies.

the banff blog facebook group

About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

If you have found the content on this site helpful to your trip planning please consider supporting The Banff Blog. You can say thanks directly by buying us a coffee. All support is much appreciated!

1 thought on “Takakkaw Falls in Yoho • A Guide to Visiting”

Leave a Comment