Totally Golden: Takakkaw Falls

While the weather is still nice, and the roads are fairly dry, you might want to get out of town a little ways to enjoy some great scenery.

Although our next adventure isn’t in Golden per se, it is still part of our district. A trip to Takakkaw Falls is only accessible in the summer, as the road gets really bad in the winter and actually closes. There is a really gnarly hairpin turn in the road that was very exciting to drive, but might freak some people out. On your way back down toward Field, you will have to stop and ensure there isn’t any oncoming traffic. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a tour bus go up and reverse around the sharp curve, continuing to drive backwards before turning around again.

Takakkaw Falls is a waterfall located in Yoho National Park, just east of Field. The drive up to it is about an hour, and I know I should have paid more attention for you, but I had my eyes on the road and not the clock. The drive is beautiful, and the road is narrow and winding, so don’t get blown away by the beauty, stay focused on the drive.

There are a number of things you can stop and do on your way to Takakkaw Falls, and for the more adventurous type, I read a sign near the parking lot at the falls that there is a cabin, or hostel, you can hike in to for overnight trips.

Pulling into the parking lot, hopefully you’re not overwhelmed by how many vehicles are parked there. It is surprising how many people will drive up that road to check out these cool waterfalls. The hike to the falls isn’t long, and is not steep. The highest point of the falls is 380 metres, but its true “free fall” is only 254 metres. This waterfall is named as Canada’s second-highest waterfall, and is fed by the Daly Glacier. The falls flows at its peak in July, but is a spectacle to take in at any time of year (granted that the road is open and it is safe to travel). According to the website, the road is only open from July through to October, which means you have only another month to go check out this impressive sight if you haven’t been before. The road closure in the winter is due to high-frequency avalanches in the area, making it unsafe to travel (plus, I’m not sure I would test that road out in icy conditions).

Once you’ve found your parking, you might notice that the crowds are dispersed. There is plenty to look at before or after making your way to Takakkaw Falls. With nice seating, small trails, and a beautiful creek which flows under a picturesque bridge, this spot is nothing short of beautiful.

I was happy to see all different types of people on the trail to the falls. It shows that this is an accessible outdoor option for anyone. I am always warmed when I see elderly people walking to natural areas, and I aspire to be just like them one day.

Along the mostly dirt path, people have built rock towers in the river bed. The cute creatures were nice reminders of all the people that have been to the site before, and without a doubt, they will all get washed away over the winter and spring freshet.

It took me a while to realize there was a lot of background noise. Not from the tourists checking it out, but from the freefall of water coming over the cliff. It was like a buzzing in your ear you don’t notice until it sounds like thunder. The build up was exhilarating, and I was happy when I saw Takakkaw.

The base of the waterfall is the perfect spot to have some lunch or a snack before heading back. For the more adventurous type, I have heard there is also the opportunity to rock climb to the top.

To suggest a “Totally Golden” thing to do, please e-mail

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