5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
Emerald Lake is a popular destination in Yoho National Park.
It’s a classically beautiful glacial lake surrounded by towering peaks, with many trails branching out from its shoreline.
One of the more difficult but most rewarding hikes is the “Emerald Triangle” loop, which climbs all the way from the lake to alpine slopes, granting unobstructed views to glaciated peaks.
It connects Yoho Pass and Burgess Pass, with the Wapta Traverse in between. If you want more gradual elevation gain, hike the loop clockwise, going first to Yoho Pass.
You’ll begin with a stroll along the scenic shore of Emerald Lake, then gradually ascend the sparsely forested alluvial plan above, with constant eyefuls of the mountains you are about to take on.
The climb to Yoho Pass is not too difficult, but it’s long, and on a rocky trail.
The forest becomes denser and wetter as you go up, but views from clearings make it apparent how far you’ve come, as the lake shrinks away below.
There’s also the refreshing sight of a mighty waterfall plummeting from a glacier on a nearby mountain. Yoho Pass itself is heavily forested, but you’ll soon leave the trees behind by continuing on the Wapta Highline.
This is one of Yoho’s most spectacular sections of trail.
It traverses flower-flecked open slopes and rocky avalanche paths, practically at eye level with massive glaciers across the valley, and beneath the imposing cliffs of Wapta Mountain.
Nearing Burgess Pass, the trail goes in and out of trees on the rock-strewn slopes, then re-enters the forest for good at the pass.
To finish the loop, the trail makes a very determined descent back to Emerald Lake, with many switchbacks and steep sections. Sources: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/randonnee-hike/jour-day https://autumnsky.zenfolio.com/rockies/yoho/wapta-highline