Hike Iceline Trail

12.3 miles 2867.5 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Christin Healey

This is a pretty tough day hike, but totally and completely worth it. It is a 19.8km hike with a 874 m elevation gain (be sure to convert that to feet in the US!). Take in views of the Canadian Rockies, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and wildflowers in the meadows.

The trailhead is accessed at the Takakkaw Falls parking lot, and then you walk to the Whiskey Jack Hostel where the trail officially begins (you can not park here unless you are a guest). The well marked trail then begins its very steep ascent through the forest where you will catch glimpses of the 284 m high Takakkaw Falls along the way. Once you reach the treelike, you will have a clear view of the falls as well as the surrounding glaciers. How great to be looking down on such an incredible waterfall! As you continue to gain elevation, you will pass by several stunning glacial lakes, all of which make a great spot for a rest, snack, photo op, or lunch. You will continue along the northeastern side of the President Range until you reach the small Stanley Mitchell Hut. From here you will walk downhill (hurray!) through the Yoho Valley and then a dense forest, and finally back to your starting point.

Be sure to start early and bring lots of layers as this trail is totally exposed and not a good place to be stuck unprepared. I was caught in a hailstorm in August on what started out as a clear day, but with layers it's no problem! The mileage may not be huge, but you will want lots of time for the elevation gain and taking in the breathtaking scenery of this spectacular hike.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


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Overall rating: 

Didn’t go as planned but still awesome

This trail was amazing! We did the loop backwards, starting at the hostel across the way from the falls (careful where you park if you start on this side). This started off with a steep (but less steep than the initial incline by the falls) hike up with a beautiful view of the falls the whole time. Eventually we cleared the trees and started walking along the rocky path along the mountain but we hit some unexpected weather. They aren’t kidding when they say prep for any weather. You’re totally exposed and the way the mountains sit (I assume) brings a bunch of rain because it cleared as soon as we drove out. We doubled back back toward the hostel since we all didn’t have rain gear but cut off to pass Yoho Lake on our way. The trail to the lake was tree covered and definitely helped break up the rain for us. The lake was BEAUTIFUL and we had it to ourselves for probably and hour which was nice. It rained on and off but in between the water was glasslike and reflected be huge mountain that towered over it. After that we took the short cut off to see Hidden Lakes, which is an incredible graveyard for huge fallen trees that you can see through the crystal clear water. So even though we didn’t get to finish the iceline loop, there are plenty of trails off of it that made the trip worth it and are awesome stops along the way if you plan on doing the whole thing.


🥇Top Contributor

about 3 years ago

If nothing else, do THIS hike

After spending a lot of time in Banff, Jasper and Yoho this was hands down my favorite hike I did. Takakkaw Falls is amazing and you get to see it from below and above it you park at the base of the falls (which I recommend). The initial climb is steep with a ton of switchbacks but once you pop up above the treeline you'll be tripping over your own feet because you won't be able to look down. I also suggest doing the quick side trail to Hidden Lake on the way up. This is my favorite hike I've ever done!!

almost 5 years ago

Amazing trail

One of my favorite trails in all of the rockies. A must do for anyone visiting the area.

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