Backpack Burgess Pass to the Iceline to Takakkaw Falls

Burgess Pass Trailhead, Field, British Columbia, Canada

  • Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    42.3 Miles


This backpacking trip in Yoho National Park offers spectacular scenery of the Canadian Rockies, waterfalls, glaciers, and alpine lakes.

This hike begins at a trailhead 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from Field, B.C., Canada. When heading west on the Trans Canada Highway towards Field, turn right 1.5 km before Field onto a small dirt road. Immediately turn left and continue driving straight for 500 m (0.3 mi) to a small open area for parking at the start of the trail. This route ends at the Takakkaw Falls campground and requires an easy hitchhike back to your car (unless you have two vehicles).

From the trailhead you'll hike 7.3 km (4.5 mi) of switchbacks along the east side of Mt. Burgess towards the Burgess Pass. Climbing the switchbacks provides an incredible panorama overlooking Field as you ascend through the treeline.

The Burgess Pass (7136 ft) marks the junction for the Burgess Pass Trail and the Wapta-Highline Trail, each of which completes one side of the Emerald Triangle hiking circuit around Emerald Lake. Just around the Burgess Pass junction, look out for a side trail on the left that provides a great overlooking viewpoint of Emerald Lake. Then continue on along the Wapta-Highline Trail for another 6.1 km (3.8 mi), where you'll hike in the shadows of Mt. Field and Wapta Mountain on the right and overlook Emerald Lake on the left.

Once at the Yoho Pass junction, you'll descend another 0.6 km (0.4 mi) into alpine meadows filled with wild flowers in early spring/late summer. The Yoho Lake backcountry campground is a great place to set up camp for the night.

The next day you'll continue to ascend another 2.4 km (1.5 mi) along the Highline Trail until reaching the Iceline. Hike north along the Iceline for 3.2 km (2 mi) where you'll have an amazing view over Yoho Valley on the right, passing Emerald Glacier and the President Range on the left. After 3.2 km at the junction for Celeste Lake Trail, stay on the Iceline. After another 0.7 km (0.4) you'll reach the summit at 7316 feet. Another 4.1 km (2.5 mi) along the Iceline and you'll eventually start descending towards the Stanley Mitchell Hut (Alpine Club of Canada). From there it is an easy 2.9 km (1.8 mi) along the Little Yoho Valley Trail, which eventually meets up with the Celeste Lake connector. Laughing Falls campground is only 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from there, with easy access to Laughing Falls.

With the hard work behind you, it's only 4.3 km (2.7 mi) down the Yoho Valley trail to Takakkaw Falls walk-in campground. There are a number of side trails off the Yoho Valley Trail to explore including Duchesnay Lake, Point Lace Falls, and Angel's Staircase. Now it's just a matter of getting back to your car!

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Hiking boots
  • Layering clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
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We did this a few years back and still remember it to this day as one of the most beautiful and outstanding hikes we have done. We finished it by hiking up the Whaleback trail to the top of the Twin falls which was probably the wrong decision at the time as we were overloaded and not fit, but it makes for a great story these days. Great views!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

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