Hiking to Takakkaw Falls


Our trip to Takakkaw Falls wasn’t originally part of our “itinerary”, but we were so glad that we got to experience it!  It was by far Luke’s favorite adventure that we went on while in the park.

We had originally planned to visit Lake Louise and hike to the Lake Agnes Teahouse that day, but didn’t get up early enough to find a parking spot and they wouldn’t allow Patronus on the shuttle.  Rather than giving up on the day, we decided to look for a new adventure to do.  Takakkaw Falls had originally been on my list of things I wanted to see, but I had moved it to a “B-List” activity because I didn’t think we would have the time.  As we were driving, we noticed a sign for the falls and thought, hey, why not?

According to the website for Field, BC, Takakkaw Falls is Canada’s second largest waterfall, with melted water from the Daly Glacier dropping from a height of 1246 feet (833 feet of which is free falling water).  The roar of the falls is quite impressive, as you can hear it all the way from the parking area!

In general, the hike from our car to the falls was easier, shorter, and much less crowded than some of the other adventures we went on in Banff.  That said, if you’re looking for a more challenging hike in the area, you could also check out the 17.2 mile Yoho Valley Loop.

To reach the falls, we drove up a narrow, winding mountain road overlooking nearby trees, mountains, and bodies of rushing water.  The road eventually came to a parking lot and an area lined by the cars of people who came to get a view of the falls.

The trail to the falls.

The hike from our car to the falls is relatively short, about half a mile, and much of it was paved.  The elevation gain wasn’t crazy, and this trail would be perfect for hikers want to explore without an intense workout.  We walked a short distance through a forest of pine trees before reaching our first lookout point.

Overlooking the falls.

From the lookout point, there was a small, steep footpath leading down towards the rushing water.  We decided to follow the path to gain a lower viewpoint.

After spending some time down by the water, we headed back up to the main path to continue our hike to the falls.  Here the trail crosses the water via a long wooden bridge and takes you all the way up to the falls.

If you’re smart (unlike us), you’ll remember to take your pack and a dry bag out of your car and bring it with you so you don’t have to worry about getting your camera and other electronics wet on the hike.  You can definitely feel the mist of the falls from a good distance away.

While the falls were loud enough to hear all the way back at our car, the sound of its roar was incredible the closer we got.

Facing away from the falls.

After spending some time enjoying the falls, we decided to hike back down the trail and let Patronus explore the banks in the valley.

The hike back to our car gave us a view of Whiskey Jack Falls and the Yoho Valley.  (Not a bad view either!)

The hike back.


The drive back down the mountain was a bit more comfortable than the drive up, mostly just because we knew what to expect.

Overall, if you’re looking for an easy but still “adventurous feeling” hike to do in the area, definitely add Takakkaw Falls to your bucket list!

Hike Details:

Trail Distance:  0.5 Miles
Difficulty:  Easy
Highlights:  Waterfall
Map:  Hiking Project

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