Trip 180 - September 6, 2019 (Friday)

Wapta Falls Trail Hike

Yoho National Park near Golden BC Canada

Location: Eastern British Columbia, off TransCanada Highway 1, approximately 35 kilometers East of the town of Golden.

Liked: Wapta Falls views, short and easy trail, no bugs.

Of Note: Yoho National Park visitor fee payment is required (credit or debit only - no cash). The trail is very popular. Parking could be an issue in busy season. The ground is slippery near the waterfall. Hiking poles and boots are recommended. Rain coat is recommended for close approach to the waterfall.

Kootenay Rockies BC Backroad Mapbook (7th Edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 43 (Golden) G7.

Related Website: Yoho National Park - Parks Canada Official Site.

Wapta Falls is one of many trails in very impressive Yoho National Park, located in Eastern British Columbia along Highway 1 near the town of Golden. This particular trail is very popular, and for a good reason, as it is short, easy, and leads to a huge waterfall. Parking could be an issue, as even today, an off-season weekday, the parking lot was packed closer to the middle of the day. You may have to park along the access road and extend your hike accordingly. 

Note that there is no sign for this trail for Westbound traffic, as there is no left turn lane - continue to the nearest turnaround about 3 km later, come back and enter Wapta Falls access road via Eastbound right turn lane.

1. We are Eastbound on TransCanada Highway #1, passing by the town of Golden. If you are interested in taking a shower, a nearby Husky Service Center has one for a fee.

2. Somber mountains surround the highway all the way to Yoho National Park.

3. It's a picturesque drive for sure.

4. Entering Yoho National Park, approximately 25 kilometers East of Golden.


Yoho National Park Entrance TransCanada Highway 1 Eastbound near Golden BC

5. This is now Canadian federal jurisdiction, and, unlike in BC provincial parks, one has to pay for parking in Yoho National Park. And not just per car, but per person (adults are $9.80). And cash is NOT accepted - credit or debit only. The day pass we purchased was valid until 4 PM the next day. For detailed information on the fees, visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/visit/tarifs-fees. This is a fee-collecting shack.


Yoho National Park - fee-payment shack

6-7. About 35 kilometers East of Golden, make a right turn onto Wapta Falls access road.

8. Wapta Falls trail access road immediately after turning from Highway 1. Coordinates: N 5113071 W 11635552. Elevation: 1,097 meters.

9. The road to the Wapta Falls trailhead parking lot is 2 kilometers long, has many potholes, but should present no major challenge for most vehicles with regular clearance.

9. Arriving to Wapta Falls trailhead parking lot. It filled up quickly, even on an off-season weekday. During the busy season, one would most likely have to park along the access road, and extend the hike accordingly.

10. The trail begins. Coordinates: N 5112245 W 11635106. Elevation: 1,100 meters.

11. It's a short, easy, and very popular trail.


Hiking in Golden BC Area - Wapta Falls Trail in Yoho National Park

12. The main observation platform arrives 2 kilometers after the start of the trail.

13. The view is quite impressive.


Wapta Falls Yoho National Park near Golden BC Canada

Here is our video of the views from this location.

14. The trail then continues to the bottom of the waterfall. Less than a hundred meters later, turning left would lead to the second observation platform en route to the bottom of the waterfall (via a somewhat steep trail), while going straight would lead to the bottom of the waterfall without going through the second observation platform. It is thus possible to hike the last part of the trail as a loop.

15. The view of the split from the other side.

16. We went straight ahead, and visited the second observation platform on the way back.

17. Arriving to the bottom of Wapta Falls, 500 meters from the main observation platform, and 2.5 kilometers from the trailhead. Coordinates: N 5111202 W 11634646. Elevation: 1,027 meters (73 meters elevation loss from the start of the trail).

18. Very nice. There is a lot of spray from the waterfall, so a rain coat would be useful for a close approach.

Here is our video of the views from this location.

19. The path to complete the loop is on the left side closer to the waterfall. The loop trail is a appreciably steeper than the main trail, if for a few hundred meters. Also on the left side is a steep hill (wet and slippery too!), allowing for a cool waterfall view from the side.

20. A cool waterfall view from the side. Wapta Falls resembles War Falls near McLeod Lake in Northern British Columbia.


Wapta Falls

Here is our video of the views from this location.

21. Now looking back and to the right.

22. Having descended from the hill to the left of the waterfall, we are looking at Wapta Falls straight up.

23-24. We then climbed the hill in front of Wapta Falls, and took the following photographs left to right.

25. After that, we took the loop trail to the second observation platform.

26. View of Wapta Falls from the second observation platform.


Yoho National Park Wapta Falls - hiking in Golden British Columbia Canada area

Here is our video of the views from this location.

More ihikebc.com videos are on our YouTube Channel.

We kept hiking the loop trail for a few hundred meters until the split seen in photos #14 and #15, turned right, and went back the same way we came in. Wapta Falls is a very impressive waterfall, and it takes all of 30 minutes of easy hiking to get there from the parking lot. Highly recommended.


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