Emerald Lake Complete Guide

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is one of the most stunning freshwater lakes located in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada. It is considered one of the Canadian Rockies’ finest lakes and the largest lake in Yoho National Park. This stunning body of water boasts an area of 91 ha and its crystal-clear emerald green waters are simply mesmerizing.

One of the most unique features about Emerald Lake is that it is surrounded by President Mountain Range, which adds to its already picturesque surroundings. The snow-capped peaks contrast beautifully against the vivid color of the lake, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Emerald Lake is a stunning destination nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, with an elevation of 4,267 feet. This attractive water-based location offers visitors a chance to witness large mammals such as elk, moose, black bear and deer in their natural habitat.

The Emerald Basin opens to the west, providing breathtaking views of towering peaks that surround this magnificent lake. Visitors can take part in various activities like hiking or kayaking while being surrounded by pristine nature. This area is also home to majestic trees such as western red cedar and western yew which further enhances its scenic appeal.

When it comes to finding the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, there are few places quite as picturesque as Emerald Lake. This stunning body of water is bordered by towering pine forests and offers plenty of trails for visitors to explore at their own pace.

One of the best things about this destination is that it’s easily accessible by car, with a large parking lot located nearby. Whether you’re planning on spending just an hour or two soaking up the scenic views or intend to make a day out of it, you’ll find everything you need here.

The lake itself is truly breathtaking – its crystal-clear waters reflecting the surrounding mountains in all their glory. There’s no better place to relax and take in the beauty of Banff/Yoho national parks than from one of its many hiking trails.

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park

Nestled within the stunning Rocky Mountains lies one of Canada’s most breathtaking national parks – Yoho National Park. Covering an impressive 507 square miles, this natural wonder is bordered by Kootenay National Park to the south and Banff National Park to the east. Visitors can expect to be awed by the park’s vast ice fields and towering mountain peaks.

One of the main attractions within Yoho National Park is its collection of glacial lakes, which are famous for their bright blue hues that reflect off the surrounding mountains. These lakes offer visitors a tranquil escape from everyday life, where they can sit back and take in all of nature’s beauty.

Established in 1885, Yoho National Park is Canada’s second protected area that encompasses some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country. From the emerald waters of Emerald Lake to the dramatic Takakkaw Falls, visitors can explore a range of scenic locations within this park. One must-visit spot is Lake O’Hara, which offers breathtaking views and hiking trails that will take you through alpine meadows and glacier-fed lakes.

Visitors can learn more about these natural wonders at Yoho’s Visitor Centre located at its entrance. Here they can gather information on activities such as guided hikes and camping options available throughout their stay.

Yoho National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. With over 224 species of birds and 58 species of mammals, it’s no wonder why many flock to the park just to catch sight of some of the most diverse animals in Canada.

The rocky terrain provides an ideal habitat for mountain goats, grizzly bears, pikas and white bark pine trees. Visitors can witness these magnificent creatures roaming free in their natural habitats while also taking in the stunning beauty surrounding them.

One must-see attraction that will take your breath away is Takakkaw Falls, which stands at a staggering height of 373 metres – making it the second tallest waterfall in Canada.

Best Trails in Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is a hiker’s paradise, offering an array of hiking and walking trails that take visitors through breathtaking scenery. The trails are well-maintained and offer something for all skill levels, from easy strolls around the lake to challenging hikes up steep mountains.

Emerald Lake Loop

Trail Length- This is a 5.1-km loop trail that takes on average 1 hour 35 minutes to complete.

Difficulty Level- Easy trail

Emerald Lake is a hidden gem in Yoho National Park, known for its stunning glacial waters surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks. This popular area is not only great for birding enthusiasts but also offers endless opportunities for hiking and paddle sports. The best time to visit Emerald Lake is from May through October when the weather conditions are ideal, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.

The Emerald Lake Loop takes you on an unforgettable journey through dense forested trails that wind around the lake’s edge. As you hike along this picturesque trail, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as elk, deer, and even grizzly bears.

As you embark on the Emerald Lake Loop, a breathtaking sight awaits you. The tranquil lake is nestled amidst an exquisite landscape of snow-peaked mountains that create a stunning contrast with the crystal clear emerald waters below. The paved trail leading up to the lake promises an easy and enjoyable hike, allowing you to take in all the natural beauty along the way.

As you continue on the Emerald Lake Loop, the second half of the hike takes you through a stunning pine tree forest. This portion of the trail is accessible for almost everyone, making it an ideal spot for families and avid hikers alike. The peaceful atmosphere gives way to a sense of tranquility as you make your way through this lush green oasis.

The lack of crowds in this section makes it a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take in all that nature has to offer as you breathe in fresh mountain air and listen to birds chirping overhead. With fewer people around, there are plenty of wonderful photo opportunities along the way.

Emerald Lake and Emerald Glacier Trail

Trail Length- This is a 10.8-km loop trail that takes on average 3 hour 20 minutes to complete.

Difficulty Level- Moderate trail

Emerald Lake and Emerald Glacier Trail is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, especially for those who enjoy birding, hiking, or snowshoeing. The area offers stunning views of a glacial lake surrounded by majestic mountains that will leave visitors in awe.

The trail is open year-round, providing different experiences during each season. During the winter months, the snow-covered landscape transforms into a magical wonderland perfect for snowshoeing enthusiasts. In contrast, spring brings an array of wildflowers blooming along the path.

One of the highlights of this trail is the diversion to Emerald Basin through lush forests. Visitors can take their time exploring this enchanting forest before resuming their journey towards Emerald Lake.

As the weather warms up, hikers visiting Emerald Lake can add a new activity to their itinerary – canoeing! The calm waters of the lake offer a serene and peaceful experience as you paddle through the turquoise colored water surrounded by towering mountains. This area is especially popular during the summer months, so make sure to book your canoe rental in advance.

In fact, it transforms into a winter wonderland with plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy. Skating on the frozen lake is an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed. For those looking for more adventure, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are great ways to explore the surrounding wilderness.

Emerald Peak via Hamilton Lake and Emerald Lake loop

Trail Length- This is a 10.5-km loop trail that takes on average 3 hour 20 minutes to complete.

Difficulty Level- Hard trail

The Emerald Peak via Hamilton Lake and Emerald Lake loop is a popular trail for hiking enthusiasts. If you’re planning a visit, the best time to go is between June and September when the weather conditions are favorable. During this period, the view of the falls and Hamilton Lake is breathtakingly beautiful.

The trail offers a beautiful view of the falls, which adds to the overall charm of the journey. As you make your way through this well-maintained path, you’ll notice dense tree cover up till lake Hamilton, making it feel like you’re walking in a mystical forest.

As you traverse along the hike, you’ll come across several rock formations that add to its charm. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, this trail offers something for everyone. From stunning views to challenging terrain, there’s never a dull moment on this adventure.

Emerald Lake to Takakkaw Falls

Trail Length- This is a 12.9-km point-to-point trail that takes on average 4 hour 35 minutes to complete.

Difficulty Level- Moderate trail

The Emerald Lake to Takakkaw Falls trail is a popular destination for birding and hiking enthusiasts alike. With its beautiful lakes, creeks, waterfalls, and stunning views, it’s easy to see why! Although the trail can be challenging in some spots due to water crossings and small patches off the main path, once you reach your destination the view will take your breath away.

As we hiked through misty conditions at first, it was hard to fully appreciate our surroundings. The trail itself was well-maintained which made navigating easier even when crossing shallow streams or finding alternate routes around obstacles.

One of the highlights of this hike is crossing over various waterways on foot – there are a few spots where one must tread carefully not to slip into deeper waters below.


Yoho National Park offers an incredible camping experience for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. The park provides four first-come-first-served campsites being Kicking Horse, Hoodoo Creek, Monarch and Takakkaw Falls. Each offers unique experiences for campers.

Kicking Horse

Nestled in the heart of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park, Kicking Horse Campground is a true gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With 88 unserviced sites available from mid-May to mid-October, this campground offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and access to some of Canada’s most picturesque hiking trails.

While there are no hookups at this campground, there are flush toilets and showers available for use. It’s the perfect balance between roughing it and having some basic amenities.

Hoodoo Creek

Hoodoo Creek campground offers a serene and secluded camping experience for nature enthusiasts. With 30 spacious sites to choose from, visitors can pitch their tents or park their RVs alongside the creek and enjoy the soothing sound of flowing water.

Although basic amenities are available, such as pit toilets and fire pits, campers are encouraged to embrace primitive living during their stay.


With 44 unserviced sites, campers will have the opportunity to truly unplug and connect with nature. The campground opens early to mid-May and late June to early September, providing ample time for summer adventures.

While there are no hookups available at these sites, potable water is provided for drinking and cooking needs. For those concerned about bathroom facilities, pit toilets are located throughout the campground.

Takakkaw Falls

Takakkaw Falls Campground is a nature lover’s paradise that offers breathtaking views of the Takakkaw Falls. With 35 walk-in tent sites available from late June to mid-October, visitors can enjoy a serene and peaceful camping experience surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Although there are no RV or trailer hookups available, visitors can still enjoy basic amenities such as pit toilets and pump water.

Fishing in Emerald lake

Fishing in Emerald Lake is a favorite pastime of many visitors. It comes as no surprise that fishing is popular, given the abundance of fish in the lake. The most frequent fish caught are Brook Char and Rainbow Trout, which can be seen swimming around the crystal-clear waters.

Boat rentals are available to those who want to explore deeper into the lake’s depths and try their luck at catching more elusive species. But if you’re looking for a challenge, fly fishing is also a popular option here.

Before heading out to catch some fish, make sure you have obtained your fishing permit and are aware of current regulations. These measures ensure that both anglers and aquatic life remain safe and healthy.

Fishing Permit Price:

  • Daily – $ 9.80
  • Annual – $ 34.30

Canoeing in Emerald Lake

Canoeing in Emerald Lake

As you paddle through the stunning Yoho National Park, it’s easy to get lost in the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you. The turquoise-colored water of Emerald Lake is a sight to behold and being enveloped by astounding mountain views makes for an unforgettable experience. But don’t let the grandeur of nature intimidate you! Even if you’re a beginner, these waters are friendly and beckoning.

Canoeing at Emerald Lake offers a unique way to soak in your surroundings while also allowing for some much-needed relaxation. Take your time as you float along, breathing in the fresh air and feeling fully present in this moment. This is truly an experience of a lifetime.

And with ample space on these pristine waters, there’s no need to feel crowded or rushed. So go ahead – channel your inner adventurer or simply unwind in this natural wonderland – either way, canoeing at Emerald Lake will leave you feeling restored and rejuvenated.

With a canoe cost of $90 for the first hour, you can explore this picturesque lake with up to two friends or family members. The three-person maximum per canoe ensures that everyone has enough space and safety equipment during their adventure. You can do it any day of the week between 10 am and 6 pm!

Food at Emerald Lake

Food at Emerald Lake

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat at Emerald Lake, then Cilantro is the place to be. This cozy little cafe serves up delicious sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee, and mouth-watering pastries. Whether you need a caffeine boost before your hike or are craving something sweet after a long day on the trails, Cilantro has got you covered.

At Emerald Lake Lodge, guests can enjoy not only the stunning views but also delicious dining options. The Mount Burgess restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, offering a range of dishes to satisfy any palate.

Best Time to Visit

July and August are the peak months to visit Emerald Lake, where you’ll witness nature in full bloom. The brilliant turquoise lake surrounded by towering mountains, lush forests, and vibrant wildflowers is a sight to behold.

During these months, the weather is warm and sunny with average temperatures ranging from 12°C to 16°C. You can hike along the trails surrounding the lake or take a leisurely stroll around it while enjoying spectacular views of its crystal clear waters.

Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted as July marks the beginning of trout season at Emerald Lake. Cast your line into one of Canada’s most picturesque lakes and try your luck at catching rainbow or brook trout.

For wildlife enthusiasts, July and August offer ample opportunities to spot grizzly bears, moose, elk, and other animals as they roam around their natural habitat. Birdwatchers can take delight in spotting hummingbirds flitting around flowers or bald eagles soaring overhead.

Tips for a Great Trip

However, planning the perfect trip can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help make your visit to Emerald Lake unforgettable.

First and foremost, make sure to pack for all types of weather conditions as they can change rapidly in this area. Don’t forget your hiking shoes and camera as there are several trails that offer breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

To avoid crowds, plan your visit during off-peak seasons such as spring or fall when the scenery is just as beautiful but with fewer people around.

Take advantage of local tours and activities like canoeing, kayaking, and fishing which allow you to immerse yourself in nature while also learning about its history from experienced guides.

Lastly, don’t forget to indulge in local cuisine at one of the many restaurants near Emerald Lake Lodge. There’s no better way to end a day full of adventure than with a delicious meal surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

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Emerald Lake FAQ

where is Emerald lake?

Emerald Lake is one of the most stunning freshwater lakes located in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

Can You Swim in Emerald Lake?

While it may be tempting to take a dip in these icy waters during peak summer months, be warned: the water temperature never rises above freezing!

how big is Emerald lake?

This stunning body of water boasts an area of 91 ha and its crystal-clear emerald green waters are simply mesmerizing.

what fish are in Emerald lake?

The most frequent fish caught are Brook Char and Rainbow Trout.

are dogs allowed at Emerald lake?

Pets allowed at Emerald Lake!

is Emerald lake open?

Emerald Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in British Columbia, is open to public access year-round.

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