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Hamilton-Emerald Circuit

Yoho National Park

NE facing Ski Line with Tricky Descent

Ski Touring Moderate

14 km
1.3 km
1.3 km
6-7 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.4 km
Hamilton-Emerald Circuit Map

Follow the hiking trail to Hamilton Lake up the flank of the mountain. The trail is somewhat marked, but generally stays 100m above the gully.


Near the lake the trail crosses a couple slide paths. The lake is nice and flat. This is a good spot for a pit test. Keep an eye out for remote triggers on the surrounding slopes. The col is to the lookers right of Top Hat Peak.

The descent is decently steep with several terrain traps. There are safe zones skiers left near the ridge. Just past the halfway mark the route gets to a cliff that will be hard to see in white out conditions. Skiers right is the best descent. It is awkward, and will take a bit of awkwardness to get through.

The finale section is open followed by another steep drop. Avalanche debris is common here, so keep and eye out, and pick your safe zones well. Skiers left has a good island of trees.

From here stay high and traverse above the river. The thick gathering of forest by the river is where you will need to go down and follow the river. You can also skin up and head through a poorly marked summer trail in the trees. You will likely have to skin up anyway, so this egress is more pleasant.

After a kilometer you get to the fan of the river and you can skin or slide through flat trees to the lake, and then across to Emerald Lodge where the route began.



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between January and March


  • Bowl
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Single Descent

Equipment required

  • Skins

Similar routes nearby