A leisurely walk through the woods has a great payoff at the end where Wapta Falls rages down the river. Keri Sculland/Star Photo

Totally Golden things to do: Wapta Falls

There are a couple of ways to access Wapta Falls, the glorious raging waterfalls about 30 minutes east of Golden.

Each year, I try to check them out, because the hike is fairly easy and they are a great sight to take in.

At this time of year, the parking lot is quite full, it could take you a few extra minutes to walk to the trail head depending on how busy it is.

The clear trail is well maintained and flat for a long while before it begins ascending the hills through the deep forest. There are enough people on the trail at this time of year that there isn’t much of a concern about wildlife, but it is always best to err on the side of caution, and carry bear spray anyway.

We walked for what seemed like forever, but it is honestly one of the shorter hikes I’ve done around Golden, only taking 40 minutes to the bottom of the falls along the 2.3 km path. The falls are located in the Yoho National Park, so you should obtain a park pass before you go, either from the Visitor Information Centre or at the park entrance when you’re heading east.

Before you make it to two kilometers, you will begin to hear the roar of the falls long before you can see them. At one point, I was sure I could feel the earth shaking under my feet, but it could have been the excitement.

The path was crowded in some areas, and I had to let oncoming hikers move by me a few times. The crowd begins to thin out as people find their pace, and a good amount of them stop at the upper falls lookout area without continuing on. For me, the top of the falls isn’t quite enough of an adventure. Continuing on, you will move through more forested paths that split, but both end up in the same place. The trail on the left is moderately steeper than the one that continues to the right. Either way, I don’t think you’re saving much time by picking one over the other.

At the bottom of the falls, it is a bit more peaceful. There’s a lot of space down there, and some people have taken a seat along the riverbank with their picnics. My dog just wanted to play in the water, so we continued to walk along the river until we found a quiet place without people.

This “totally Golden” hike is suitable for children and older people. It doesn’t take much effort to see the roaring waterfall, and it is worth the visit. Yoho National Park is home to a plethora of great waterfalls. Some are more remote than others, but this is a good one to put on your list if you have a couple hours to spare.

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