Hiking Twin Falls | Yoho National Park
Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Julie Boyd
During our first visit to Canada in the summer of 2016, Julie and I made a brief stop in Yoho National Park. The highlight of that quick stop was Takkakaw Falls, the stunning 830 foot waterfall in the heart of Yoho Valley. While walking to enjoy the falls, we stopped at a trail sign near the parking lot, and marveled at the many hikes we had to come back to do. Flash forward to 2019 and with our third trip to Canada booked, we were excited to cross one of these hikes of our to-do list: Twin Falls.
Hiking Twin Falls: Hike Details
Starting Elevation: 4,979 ft.
Distance: 11.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,476 ft.
Hike Type: Out and back, day-hike
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Permit: None required for day hiking
Date Hiked: July 26, 2019
Twin Falls Yoho National Park: Getting to the Trailhead
The hike to Twin Falls begins from the Takakkaw Falls parking lot. From the Lake Louise area, take Trans Canada Highway 1 W towards British Columbia. Turn right on Yoho Valley Road and follow it 8.3 miles (13.4 kilometers) where the road dead ends the parking area for Takakkaw Falls.
Hiking Twin Falls
Doing research in advance of this trip, using our favorite Canada hiking guide, we were excited at the opportunity to see multiple waterfalls on this hike. Beyond the namesake Twin Falls, Point Lace, Angels Staircase and Laughing Falls are all stops along the trail.
Point Lace & Angels Staircase Falls
From the parking lot, we followed signs towards Twin Falls and the Twin Falls Chalet. The first mile and a quarter is a flat, double wide trail that meanders into Yoho Valley. It’s officially 1.9 kilometers (1.1 miles) to Angel’s Staircase and Point Lace Falls and my Garmin had us a 1.25 miles with 120 feet of gain.
To the right is Angel’s Staircase which we visited first. While it is visible from the trail, the falls themselves are relatively far off in the distance.
On the other side of the junction, Point Lace Falls were a nice cascade of water flowing down and reminded us a bit of another Canada waterfall, Tangle Creek Falls.
After brief stops at Angel’s Staircase and Point Lace Falls, we continued on towards Laughing Falls. At this point, we hit our first bit of elevation, gaining 240 feet in about half a mile. We could hear the water and followed alongside the river for about 2 miles, before reaching Laughing Falls. This turned out to be a great place to take a snack break and enjoy the cool mist from the falls.
Perhaps the best way to describe Laughing Falls is that they resemble a smaller version of Takakkaw Falls. There were several other groups of day-hikers here and we figured that most would be turning around from this point. After our short rest, we said goodbye here to Julie’s parents, who had joined us for the first half of the hike, and continued on towards Twin Falls.
The next half of the hike alternates between following the river and climbing away from it. Stretches of this section, much like the first half before it, are flat and easy. As we began to get closer to the falls, the trail begins to climb steadily, but we were treated to gorgeous views for our efforts.
Once the falls finally came into view, it made the long trek to reach them instantly worthwhile. We stopped a few times for photos, but knew that we needed to get even closer.
Before reaching the falls, we made a brief stop at the Twin Falls Tea House. The tea house, our third in Canada, was built in 1908 for hikers participating in backcountry tours. Hard to imagine a better place to hang out in the wilderness than this rustic little cabin. We were a bit bummed to have missed the opportunity to snack at the Tea House as they had finished service by the time we arrived (currently 12pm-3pm), but were glad to have made it, nevertheless.
A short loop takes you to a few different vantage points where the falls can be viewed. However, we found that the best spot was directly in front of the falls, where you can really experience the power of all the rushing water. Although our late afternoon arrival meant the sun was directly behind the falls, it was still a magical place to be, and I only wish we had more time to enjoy them.
We spent about an hour and a half enjoying Twin Falls before it was time to head back to the car. With an eye on the setting sun and hunger in our bellies, we made a speedy descent down the mountain. Saying goodbye to such a beautiful place is never easy, but I am confident we will be back again soon.
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