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Twin Falls hike

All photos taken by lotzacurls unless otherwise credited.

Twin Falls, Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia
Twin Falls in stunning Yoho National Park

* Day hike. Lollipop loop. Many signs, distinct path. Dogs must be leashed.

* Difficulty: INTERMEDIATE

* Distance: Roughly 19 kms return (5-6 hrs total)

* Elevation gain: Roughly 500m

* Trailhead: Takakkaw Falls parking lot on Yoho Valley Road (closed from mid-Oct until late June, off Hwy 1 near Field, British Columbia)

If towering waterfalls are your thing, then Twin Falls is the hike for you! Yoho National Park, although much smaller and lesser-known than its neighbour Banff National Park, is an absolute gem of a spot in which to find yourself. Yoho means amazement or awe in Cree, and it perfectly describes this tiny patch of land in my vast and beautiful country.

There are several ways to access these falls, but we chose to do a loop using the Marpole Connector. You can hike a more straightforward there-and-back path along Yoho Valley trail, or add extra elevation via the popular Whaleback Trail loop; both are routes you’ll easily find online. Since our route was a bit less orthodox, here’s a screenshot from my Strava account.

Lollipop map of Yoho valley hike to Twin Falls
The path is straightforward enough and it was fairly easy on the knees, but it was a bit of a long day. Totally worth it, though.

On the way to Twin Falls, you’ll pass a historic teahouse, a pretty lake, another waterfall (Laughing Falls is nothing to snicker at) and sweeping mountain landscapes. Not to mention the stunning drive along Yoho Valley Road to get here and back.

Twin Falls (via Yoho Valley Trail) is one of the best-kept trails in the park. This isn’t Kananaskis Country, so expect it to be well-signed and well-maintained, but fittingly busy. The side road (Yoho Valley Road) off the main highway (Hwy 1) is closed from mid-Oct to early June. You can access it if you want to backcountry ski the entire thing; it’s 14 kms one-way and in avalanche country, so start training now.

Make sure you purchase a Parks Canada Discovery Pass before coming out. Also, check the Government of Canada Trail Report for possible trail closures and warnings (you are in black bear/grizzly territory). Be prepared and equipped for a sudden shift in weather. Hike with others, bring your bear spray and don’t forget your hiking poles. (I do find them to be helpful, as I lean too far forward when walking uphill and they help my knees on the way back down. They also provide extra traction with steeper sections).

OK, let’s check out this stunning Yoho National Park hike!

Twin Falls stunning photo Canadian Rockies Yoho National Park British Columbia
You can climb up the rocks and get pretty up close and personal with these falls.


The trailhead begins at the parking lot of Takakkaw Falls Campground. Most people pop in for an hour or so to gape at this huge waterfall and leave afterward, but the first-come first-served campground is worth staying in. Although considered a frontcountry campground, you have to walk in carrying all your gear (wheelbarrows are provided at the parking lot to help haul your stuff). It’s a 400-500 m walk (7-8 minutes) and worth the view of Takakkaw Falls alone.

Takakkaw Falls turquoise water Canadian Rockies Yoho National Park British Columbia
Takakkaw means «magnificent falls» in Cree.

And no, the water in this photo hasn’t been Photoshopped. Most glacier-fed waters in the Canadian Rockies are turquoise, due to the fine rock dust not settling at the bottom, therefore reflecting sunlight (or something of the sort – my apologies for the unscientific explanation).

Camping at Takakkaw Falls campground in Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia
We carted everything in, including our comfy camping lounger and bottle of wine, and enjoyed listening to the crackling campfire and the thunderous falls.

You’ll pass Takakkaw Falls campground first thing along Yoho Valley trail and walk along a fairly unremarkable fire road. The going is fairly flat and uninspiring, but short detours line the way: Angel’s Staircase and Point Lace Falls at 2.2 kms, and Lake Duchesnay at 3.6 kms.

After roughly 4.5 kms, you’ll reach the pretty but possibly underwhelming (compared to Takakkaw and Twin Falls) Laughing Falls.

Laughing Falls Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia
I found Laughing Falls to be quite scenic. It’s only 30m high, but its surroundings are beautiful and that turquoise water really photographs well.

Leaving Laughing Falls, you’ll cross a foot bridge and pass Laughing Falls campground. Reach a junction and go right for Twin Falls (left leads to Stanley Mitchell hut). The elevation gain starts up around here, but it never gets too bad. Intermediate steepness only. Keep on trekking.

Most of this hike is pleasant enough, winding through old forest. It took about 3 hours (and roughly 8.5 kms) to reach the historic Twin Falls Teahouse from Takakkaw Falls.

The Tea House has been standing since 1908, originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as an overnight shelter for horseback riders. It was boarded up when we visited (Sept 2023), but hopefully one organisation or another will take over management soon.

Coming up is the stunning show-stopper section of the entire hike. Continuing past the Tea House, you can meander a bit off-trail through the trees and get your first glimpse of Twin Falls.

You’ll notice a massive rock outcrop that can be climbed in order to get closer to the falls. As always, watch your footing and follow your instinct.

Twin Falls, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canadian Rockies
How stunning is this?!? I stayed down below and sat on a bench, then saw the potential for a great photo when Jay suddenly popped into view.

From this fantastic lookout, go back to the main trail (towards Marpole Lake) and follow it to a bridge that offers another fine view of the falls. You can peek through the trees to get glimpses as well.

We continued on the Marpole Lake Connector, a trail that essentially traverses the flank of Whaleback Mountain as opposed to going over and around it; much less elevation to tackle. The downhill trail is rougher here but after about 10 minutes, you’ll reach Marpole Lake.

Marpole Lake, Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia
Marpole Lake was absolutely spectacular in the fall.

After Marpole Lake comes the boulder field, which will take about 2 kms (30 mins) to cross, over about 100m elevation gain. Route-finding might be a bit challenging here, as even looking back I couldn’t quite discern the trail I had just walked over. It’s all a bit Mordor-ish and bleak and definitely adds character to the hike.

Marpole Lake, Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia
Looking back over the boulder field to Marpole Lake.

Head downhill after exiting Mordor; at the junction you’ll want to head left, back toward Laughing Falls. Walk the 4.5 kms back to Takakkaw Falls, the way you came up earlier today.

Yoho Valley Road offers stunning views on your way back home.

So there she is, a long and great day hiking through the Yoho Valley. If you want to explore an even more beautiful trail, check out the Iceline Trail or even the Lake O’Hara area, if you can reserve it.

See you on the trails!

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