Emerald Lake Triangle - yoho
Yoho National Park is like the little brother to Banff. Located just an hour away from Banff, Yoho offers many great opportunities for hiking. The Emerald Lake Triangle is another one of the day hikes that we did while in Yoho. It is a challenging 14.77 mile hike with a good amount of elevation gain. But the views make this one of the best of all the hikes we did in the Canadian Rockies. Many tourists will visit Emerald Lake, which is well named for its incredible blue waters. But only the true hikers will venture out of the crowd and hike the many trails that surround the lake. The triangle loop should definitely be considered for your Canadian Rockies trip itinerary.
Time Required: 8-9 Hours Total
Total Distance: 14.77 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,281 ft
Minimum Elevation: 4,349 ft
Maximum Elevation: 7,215 ft
Emerald Lake Triangle Itinerary
Navigating to Emerald Lake isn't difficult. By the time we arrived at the parking lot, it was already full. But unlike Moraine Lake, this wasn't a problem. We just parked along the street. I would highly suggest hiking the triangle loop clockwise. If you go counterclockwise, you have a much steeper beginning ascent through the trees that would not be preferred. Hike along the left side of Emerald Lake until you see signs for Yoho Lake. The path leads along a small river and starts to climb and gain good elevation.
After about 5 miles of total hiking, you will hit the first corner of the triangle. Make sure to take the slight detour to Yoho Lake before continuing on the triangle. It is less than half a mile from the corner to the lake and is well worth the extra mile of hiking. This was a fantastic lunch spot and a chance to take a great swim.
From Yoho Lake, the next side of the triangle climbs another 1,000 feet and offers great views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Enjoy the views on this stretch they are truly breathtaking!
The final side of the hiking Emerald Lake Triangle is a major descent through seemingly endless switchbacks in the trees. I loved this section of the trail because there were copious amounts of wild blueberries! I probably ate about 500 of those babies...
I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone visiting Banff. Especially if you struggled to get backcountry reservations, Yoho is nice because the frontcountry sites are all first come first serve. This offered us a nice level of flexibility in our plan. Even with the forest fire smoke that clouded most of the surrounding parks, the views were truly spectacular. It was challenging though! Only those with some decent hiking experience and stamina should consider completing the whole triangle.