Takakkaw Falls – Yoho National Park

Takakkaw Falls – Yoho National Park

Takakkaw Falls is a seriously amazing waterfall that you can drive (almost) right up to. I wouldn’t really consider this a hike, but it is a fantastic place to stop and eat your lunch while taking in the epic splashy views. Takakkaw  (apparently pronounced Tah-kuh-kah), means “it is wonderful” in the local Cree language. It is easy to see why this name was chosen; The massive 250m+ drop blasts water out in a huge spurt that sprays the whole area with mist.

This is also the starting point for quite a few spectacular hikes in Yoho National Park. If you are exploring some of the other trails in this part of the Rockies you should definitely take a peek at Takakkaw Falls while you are nearby!

Takakkaw Falls Map

Takakkaw Falls – The Basics

Waterfall Height: 373m (with a main drop of 254m) 
Cost:
Free (although you’ll have paid for a Discovery Parks Pass to be in Yoho National Park)
How much time do you need: You don’t need long if you’re just planning to take a peek. However if you *do* have a few hours to spare, there are some fantastic hikes that start by this waterfall.
Facilities: Decent toilets (with loo roll)
There is a fabulous campground nearby too
Opening Dates: The road to Takakkaw Falls is normally closed from mid-October to mid-June.
Mini hike distance: The car park to the falls is 600m (or 1.2km in both directions)
If you’d like extra views, you can walk to the Takakkaw Falls campsite which is 500m away.

The best part about this waterfall is that you can see it almost as soon as you have parked your car! This means the mini walk up to the falls provides countless views as you walk into the mist and spray from the falls.

Takakkaw Falls Waterwheel

Near the top of the waterfall there is a waterwheel; A groove that funnels the water and spurts it upwards before crashing down the 258m fall. This makes the drop look even more spectacular as it sprays the water out to cascade down the cliffs. We got to the base of the falls just after it had rained, so it was really raging.

This waterfall is fed by melting glaciers, so it seems like it is always impressive – it just gets an extra boost whenever it rains. If it is this fun to watch late in the summer, it must be truly awe-inspiring to see it in the springtime!

Takakkaw Falls – what to bring

The weather can change very quickly in Yoho National Park (and anywhere in the Rockies), so even in the middle of summer, you should bring a waterproof coat at the very least! We had the falls almost to ourselves as so many people had run back to their cars to avoid the rain.

Go for a wander

The scenery around here is pretty stunning, even if you just explore a teeny bit. If you don’t have time for a long hike, it is still worth walking up to the Takakkaw Falls Campground to see the falls from afar. The view above is looking over the Yoho River (Takakkaw Falls was behind me.) The view below is from just beyond the campground.

Takakkaw Falls Campground

The campsites here look fantastic. Each space for tents was spread out, with small trees to give campers a bit of privacy. Plus there was a loo with a view, lockers for food as well as a covered space for eating (although that was closed in 2020 due to covid-19). This would be a fab place to base yourself for hiking in this area.

If you can – hike further

We couldn’t stop with just one waterfall, so we kept going further up the trail into Yoho National Park to Laughing Falls, and then Twin Falls beyond that. The trail was so cool that I’ll write a separate post about that next. But here is a sneak peek at Laughing Falls (left) and Twin Falls (right). We even got to hike to the top of Twin Falls and peek through the gap as the water surged through the narrow opening up on Whaleback Mountain.

Hopefully you’ll come back to read the posts about the trails to the other waterfalls later. But, even if you are not at all interested in hiking, you can still appreciate (and visit) Takakkaw Falls.

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54 thoughts on “Takakkaw Falls – Yoho National Park

  1. Nice to see them when they’re flowing this much! We’ve usually seen them later in the season. And yes, that campground is indeed a great place to camp 🙂

    1. Oooh do they calm down if you come in September? I guess August was so wet that they were bigger than they’d normally be in the summertime. We camped at Twin falls which was fantastic too – I feel like we might have to keep going back to explore all over Yoho. It is such an amazing park!

      1. A little, yes – they’re still spectacular though. If you go in the afternoon on a sunny afternoon you get a nice rainbow in the spray. Yoho is a superb little park, and very well named – there’s the Iceline, the guided hike up to the Burgess Shale, and of course Lake O’Hara.

          1. It’s so worth it! It’s a nice hike anyway, but even better with the info from guide. I want to go back and do the others, Mt Stephen, and I think there’s one in Kootenay now too.

  2. That looks beautiful and powerful! We love hiking around by waterfalls, so we’d probably take the option to stick around a few hours 🙂

    1. Oooh yay! I hope you can come back when I publish the next post (hopefully tomorrow.) The trail we took ended up going past 7 waterfalls – it was the perfect splashy falls-filled day!

  3. I can’t believe I missed this on my last trip to the Rockies. I knew it existed but ran out of time to really explore Yoho national park any more. I will definitely have to add it to the list for next time, and it’s so convenient even if you don’t have a lot of time. Although I think I would definitely spend longer here and do some of the walks around it.

    1. I feel like that every time we visit the Rockies. 😂 How ever much you see, there is still sooo much more. If you do go, I think you’d like the longer hike to Twin Falls and Laughing Falls – it is ah-maaaazing.

  4. What a gorgeous waterfall and yes perfectly named as it is wonderful! Love all your photos and the fact that you don’t need to walk too far. It would be neat to hike one of the nearby trails just to enjoy the scenery!

    1. Thanks Vanessa. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to pronounce it at first, but once I found out the meaning, it seemed perfect!

  5. This is so gorgeous! I haven’t really spent time in Yoho before as we have only driven through, but I would definitely love to go and explore the park and spots like this 🙂

    1. We’d only driven through before this too (I mean, that is fun as well…) I hope you can explore it next time Kelly. It’s a gorgeous park, and not quite as crazily busy as nearby Lake Louise.

  6. Yoho may be my favourite park and Takakkaw Falls are awesome. The views you get of the falls from the Iceline Trail are out of this world. I agree though that it’s great that you don’t even need to hike to appreciate this magnificent piece of nature.

    1. I reeeeeeally wanted to do the Iceline trail! The day we had planned to do it was just a bit too rainy/misty so we would not have been able to see any views. It just means we’ll have to go back and do it next time!

      1. Too bad, but the Iceline will be there for you on your next visit. Three Brothers and Frosty were great. Luckily we did our hiking on Thursday and Friday so it wasn’t too bad. I heard that Saturday was a zoo.

    1. Thanks Tania. I feel like we might have to go back and visit it again even if we are just driving through Yoho. It was just sooo spectacular.

    1. I was thinking that too – it seemed like a great place to camp. They even had trollies to help people carry their tents in. So you could do a glamping version (as the campground is sooo close to the car park.)

  7. ‘Loo with a view’ haha!
    I like the idea of it being less than kilometre of hiking for that view!

    I bet the sound up close was almost overwhelming.

  8. I absolutely love waterfalls so I’ll definitely have to plan for a trip to Yoho National Park. I’d love to see what it’s like in spring too if it’s this impressive in the summer! It definitely looks worth walking a bit to take in some of the other views and the other two waterfalls, but it’s great that Takakkaw Falls is accessible by car.

  9. Wow! How lucky are we to have this in Canada? I like how you said you can hike here or stop for a picnic – what better backdrop would there be to pull over and enjoy a bite to eat? Looks like an amazing hike too. I have to get to the west coast of our country!

  10. Wow, three waterfalls on one hike. Amazing! It seems that you have now covered every trail and waterfall in the Vancouver area and now comes the Calgary area or is Jasper next? I look forward to seeing more waterfalls. 🙂

  11. I think this place looks so incredible! The waterfalls look so clean and fresh and thanks for the informative post. Happy travels!

  12. I recently moved to North Carolina and it is a state FULL of waterfalls and I am just starting to explore some. I missed hiking to them in the summer where the ultimate reward is getting a little wet, not so fun in cooler weather but still beautiful! Canada is such a gorgeous country, it doesn’t surprise me that there are falls like this!

  13. Wow, the name really is fitting for these falls! For whatever reason, my eye is drawn to the trees on top of the cliff, which just look like a thin layer of fur from your pictures! The rocky cliffs without any vegetation on them stand in stark contrast to the otherwise green landscapes.

  14. Oh my gosh, this waterfall is huge!!! I’ve never seen anything like that water wheel either. The view from Twin Falls is pretty incredible, would def add this on to my hike too! Can’t wait to read more about that in a future post!

  15. Not going to lie, everytime I read Yoho I read “yo ho ho,” like the pirate song. Anyway…
    The waterfall looks gorgeous! I know some hikers are “over them,” but I’m definitely not one. Adding this one to my growing list of places I’ve learned about from you!

    1. Hehehe I wonder if I can ever get ‘over’ waterfalls!? I honestly this they are one of the best things to aim for on a hike. I also love that each waterfall is so different if you go back to visit it again.

      p.s. Hehehe Next time we go to the Rockies I’ll bring a flask with rum so we can sing “Yohoho with a bottle of rum.”

  16. How good! I saw in this area last year and had these falls on my list. I’m just stretching my brain to remember if I saw them! I know the name and it was on my list lol How lucky are we to have these so easy accessible! Certainly saving this for later as I will most certainly be back!

  17. Your post describes the entire experience so well Josy – from the rain gear to the view from the car park till the falls – every thing is outlined so clearly. Absolutely loved that about this post. The waterfall is quite stunning in itself and the natural surroundings around them are quite something else too.

  18. Wow! So cool that you can pretty much drive to the viewpoint for this amazing waterfall! But I’d still definitely do the hike to the other two 🙂

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