Twin Falls and the Whaleback Trail

Twin Falls and the Whaleback Trail

Doug Smith  September 7, 2021 at 9:00 am

Yoho National Park has some of the finest hiking trails in Canada.   The Yoho River Valley is a gateway to a number of hikes into rugged alpine terrain, right by the Great Divide.    Follow the Takkakaw Falls Road to the end and there are many outstanding trails.    One of our favorites is to hike up the Yoho River to the Twin Falls Trail, then up the cliffs to the lower end of Waterfall Valley, then a traverse of the Whaleback Trail.   From the end of the Whaleback Trail are a number of route choices, including Little Yoho Valley and the Iceline Trail.  

The trail up to Twin Falls follows Twin Falls Creek.    The creek flows out of a narrow gorge.  

At Twin Falls Lodge, there are fine views of Twin Falls tumbling over the cliffs.     

To get above the falls, the trail wind through the forest, switching back, and angling across the slopes for 4 km.   As we climbed higher, we had improving views across the valley, up to Trolltinder Mountain and Mount Balfour, Great Divide Peaks.    Many years ago, I skied to the viewpoint on the ridge on the left of the photo, climbing from Balfour Hut on the east side of the mountain, part of the Wapta Traverse.  

Once we were above the falls, we started to hike to hike south.    Waterfall Valley was above the trail, with Isolated Peak due west.    In another trip years ago, we skied over the shoulder of Isolated Peak from the Stanley Mitchell Hut, on our way to the Wapta Traverse to Bow Hut.   

The trail crossed Twin Falls Creek on a bridge, a scenic spot.      On another trip, we snow camped a short distance away.    The next day, we worked our way down the slopes on skis to the river on our way back to Takkakaw Falls.   On this summer day, we crossed the bridge, then started up the Whaleback Trail. 

From the Whaleback we had views to the northwest.   Arete Peak and Mont des Poilus (10 400 ft) rose above Waterfall Valley.  

To the north the long tongue of Yoho Glacier lay below Mount Gordon .    Yoho Glacier is the source of the Yoho River which runs down the valley all the way to the confluence with the Kicking Horse River east of Field.  

We have hiked the Whaleback Trail a few times, but we have also run the trail twice and skied it once in winter.   It is a favorite, one we hope to do again soon.


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Doug Smith

Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).

Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.

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