From the village of Lake Louise, the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy-1) cuts off from Hwy-93, running west through Kamloops toward Vancouver. The first 25 miles (40 kilometers) of this highway, west from Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway, passes through Yoho National Park, the smallest and least known, but perhaps most feature-packed, of the contiguous Canadian Rockies parks. It’s impossible to do justice to the park in a paragraph or two, but if you like the other parks, and particularly if you enjoy backpacking, think about spending some time here too.
From Lake Louise, Hwy-1 climbs quickly over Kicking Horse Pass before reaching the Lower Spiral Tunnels Viewpoint, where you can learn about the amazing engineering feat that allowed trains to travel through this rugged region. Heading north on Yoho Valley Road takes you up, and up, and up, along a very tight series of hairpin turns, ending at Takakkaw Falls, perhaps the most impressive waterfall in the Canadian Rockies. You can see the 1,260-foot (384-meter) falls from the parking lot, but a short trail leads to the Yoho River, where you can appreciate the view in all its rainbow-refracting glory.
Farther west along Hwy-1, about a dozen miles (20 kilometers) from the Icefields Parkway in the hamlet of Field, you come to the Yoho National Park information centre (250/343-6783), which can tell you all about the park’s natural attractions. Charming Truffle Pigs Bistro serves fresh and inventive meals from the back of the Truffle Pigs Lodge (100 Centre St., 250/343-6303, rooms C$115 and up).
Three miles (five kilometers) west of Field, a turnoff to the north leads into the wilderness to the Emerald Lake Lodge (403/410-7417 or 800/663-6336, C$375-550, depending on the season), a rustic upscale resort that dates back to 1902. Sitting on the shores of one of the Canadian Rockies’ most magnificent lakes, the lodge is open year-round.