Wapta Falls | Yoho National Park

South Side of Wapta Falls via Unofficial Easy & Flat Hiking Trail - Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

May 30, 2011: To get to this particular viewpoint, you have to take the alternative trail, rather than the official Yoho National Park hiking trail. See below for more details.

Wapta means “river” in the language of the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The falls can be found near the west gate of Yoho National Park on the Kicking Horse River. It’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The waterfall, the third largest (by volume of water) waterfall in Canada, is accessible relatively easily off the Trans Canada Highway #1. The hiking trail is closed in winter. In summer, there are two ways to get to this world famous waterfall: 1) the official Yoho National Park hiking trail to the north side of the waterfalls, and 2) the unofficial trail that guides you to the other side (south side) of the waterfalls for a more amazing, splendid view!!

The north side view is obstructed by a giant hill; however, it takes you up close to the base of the waterfalls. The south side view offers a wide open spectacular aerial view of the entire waterfalls without any obstruction; however, you will not be able to get to the base of the falls. This article will show you how to get to both sides of Wapta Falls.

Official Wapta Falls Hiking Trail

The official Yoho National Park trail takes you to the north side of Wapta Falls. The view is not as impressive as the other route described below.

Distance: 2.4km one way (45min one way)

Trail access: Drive west 22km from the town Field on Highway #1 to the Wapta Falls trail turnoff. Turn left and drive 1.8km on a gravel road to the national park’s trail signpost which marks the begining of hiking trail. An easy stroll along a level path for 1.9km to the top of the falls. From here, a trail heads back into the forest for a bit before heading to the river and the bottom of the falls. You lose about 60m in elevation on the way down and regain it coming back up.

The trail allows you to access to the base of the falls; however, the view is obstructed by a giant hill making it difficult to photograph the whole waterfalls. :(

Official Website: Yoho National Park

Unofficial Hiking Trail to Wapta Falls

South Side of Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

South Side of Wapta Falls

This secret, hidden trail lies “outside” the boundry of Yoho National Park; that’s why it’s an unofficial hiking trail. Not many people know about this trail. If you do, this trail takes you to the other side (south) of Wapta Falls with a breathtaking view of the entire falls as shown above!!! :D Let me know if you need more help in direction.

Distance: similar to the official trail about 2km one way (easy trail; flat throughout the entire trail)

Secret Trail Access #1:

Drive west 0.6km from the west gate of Yoho National Park. Turn south (left if you’re coming from Calgary) to Beaverfoot Road (see Google Map at the end of this page). Use your GPS device. Beaverfoot Road should be on GPS map. After crossing the Kicking Horse River bridge, follow this gravel road for about 9km to Fraser Creek. If you reach Beaverfoot Lodge (located at km 13), you’ve gone too far.

How do I know it’s Fraser Creek?

  1. As you drive on Beaverfoot Road, there will be road signs starting with numerical number 1, 2, 3,… indicating km 1, km 2, km 3,…etc. The bridge at km 9 spans across Fraser Creek.
  2. There is a sign at km 9 with an arrow pointing to the direction of Wapta Falls.

Point A of Hiking Map
* See hiking map at end of the page for reference.

Beaverfoot Hiking Trail Map to Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

At km 9 of Beaverfood Road, you will see this view. Park your car on the right. Follow the green arrow (Wapta Falls hiking trail) prior to crossing the bridge.

Beaverfoot Hiking Trail Map to Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

Follow the left side of the creek downhill for a few meters (green arrow). In the photo, I was on the opposite side of the creek.

Beaverfoot Hiking Trail Map to Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

Then you will see the sign for Wapta Falls pointing to your left. Follow the signs although they are few and far between. Watch out for bears, wear hiking boots as the trail is steep and muddy near the falls. This is a well-used ATV / horse trail, so follow their path if you run out of signs.

Point B of Hiking Map

Beaverfoot Hiking Trail Map to Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

After a long last, you will see this wide open area. This is a resting area for ATVs. The waterfalls is only a few meters away!!! This round open space marks the end of ATV trail with a foot-trail sign pointing into the forest leading to Wapta Falls with only a short walk. After this point, the trail is by foot only, so people park their ATVs here. As you can see in the photo, the area is pretty muddy.

Beaverfoot Hiking Trail Map to Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, BC. Canada | SAMTSAI.COM

The Wapta Falls sign at Point B. Follow the foot trail into the forest. Use the thudding sound from the waterfalls as the guide to get to the waterfalls. As you get closer to the falls, the thud becomes louder. There are no signs within the forest; make sure you remember the trail path from ATV rest area to the waterfalls, because there are numerous paths!!!

Point C of Hiking Map

Beaverfoot Road Hiking Trail along Fraser Creek to the other side (south side) of Wapta Falls in Summer - Yoho National Park, BC, Canada | SAM TSAI . COM

View of Wapta Falls at Point C

Secret Trail Access #2: Wapta Falls Recreation Site

Wapta Falls Recreation Site along Beaverfoot Road - BC Forest Service, Canada | SAM TSAI . COM

Wapta Falls Recreation Site is located at km 7 on the left side of the Beaverfoot Road. There are two campsites with tables for picnicking and hiking activities. There are hiking trails from this campsite to the waterfalls, but I did not have time to try it out. Trail access #2 (Recreation Site) appears shorter than trail access #1 (Fraser Creek); however, 2D map can be deceiving.

Website: Wapta Falls Recreation Site – BC Forest Service

Hiking Map – Point A, B, C

Google Map – Beaverfoot Road

The Green Arrow on the following map (click EXTERNAL LINK below to view map) indicates the intersection of Beaverfoot Road and Trans-Canada Highway #1. Once your get to Beaverfoot Road, follow the instructions above to get to the hiking trail.


4 thoughts on “Wapta Falls | Yoho National Park

  1. Hello! Great site! Are you still monitoring this post? If so, I’ve read about a possible RV boondocking (off grid or dispersed camping) in this area with a walking trail to the falls. I’ve looked at Beaverfoot Forest Service road using Google satellite maps, and there there seem to be several wide spots suitable for RV parking. Are you familiar with any such places? (I realize this may be outside the scope of your expertise, but I just thought I’d ask!) Thanks so much for your detailed instructions for these hikes to the falls!

  2. Hi, I am taking a group of girls to snowshoe to the falls in this month (March 2012). I have a friend who did it in December and said if was beautiful and not too bad. They pulled their toddlers in a sled. I am wondering about the unofficial trail to the south side. Is it also accesible in the winter? And how to you get to it?

    • In winter, the official hiking trail is closed; however, you can snowshoe to the falls from Trans-Canada Highway to the hiking parking lot (2km) then to the falls (another 2.4km). In other words, the trail becomes 4.4km, instead of 2.4km.

      I’m not sure if the trail to the south end of the falls is closed in winter. However, the south trail is often used for horse-riding, ATV, and snowmobile.

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