This loop is an excellent, if not a bit long, way to explore the Yoho Valley in a day. Yoho Valley is one of the most spectacular areas in the Canadian Rockies.
This loop will take you along the Iceline Trail
which offers excellent views of the Cathedral Peaks, Takakkaw Falls, the Yoho Glacier, and a number of additional beautiful waterfalls as you return along a much easier pathway.
You should carry bear spray with you on this hike. You'll also be above treeline for a long time, so keep an eye on the weather.
This trail starts at the Yoho Valley parking area which also has a camping area which could be a great staging area for you. Start by hiking a short distance south along the road to the youth hostel, which could be a good staging area - but the parking area here is only for guests.
The Iceline Trail
starts in the woods to the west of the hostel parking area. The trail follows a lot of really well-built switchbacks up through the woods. You should get better and better views of the Takakkaw Falls as you ascend so be sure to look back from time to time.
Once you leave the forest, the trail begins to head north along the iceline - or at least where it was a few years ago. There isn't much ice left... This section being clear offers spectacular views to the Cathedral Peaks to the south, Takakkaw Falls and Mt Niles to the west. Further along, the Yoho Glacier should be visible to the north. Oh and The President should be towering over you the entire time!
As you curve around The President and start heading northwest, the Kiwetinok Peak should be visible. The trail begins to descend along some more nice switchbacks. You'll cross the Little Yoho River on a nice bridge. This will drop you at the Alpine Club of Canada Hut, the Stanley Mitchell Hut. This hut is very cozy and is open for stays. People use it if they are planning to climb one of the near by peaks or to cut a long hike up.
From the ACC Hut, you start to head east and down Little Yoho Valley along the Little Yoho Valley Trail
. This trail is very nice and a very consistent descent. You'll pass the first branch for the Whaleback Trail
. Take this if you want to add a decent amount of additional elevation change on your way to Twin Falls, or continue without the longer extension.This route uses the Marpole Lake Connector
to avoid the elevation gain. If you want to shorten the hike, you can skip the Twin Falls and just head back. The Marpole Lake Connector
will take you north to the falls which are quite spectacular.
After the falls, take the Twin Falls Trail
back south to the Laughing Falls Trail
. This trail is largely flat, wider, and better built. Consequently, you'll see many more people on it. There are also a series of great waterfalls along it, including Laughing Falls from which the trail gets its name. The trail continues to level out and widen. From Laughing Falls back, it is probably a family friendly trail.
When you get back to the parking area, you should add on the final highlight of the valley - Takakkaw Falls, using the Takakkaw Falls Trail
. This waterfall is one of the tallest around with a total drop of 1,250 feet. The trail to it is short, flat, and family friendly; a great way to relax after the strenuous loop.