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Glacier Crest Trail Glacier National Park near Golden BC
8 day itinerary

Hidden gems in Yoho and Glacier National Parks

Experience alpine lakes, waterfalls, historic sites, and stunning scenery – but without the crowds. Visit in late summer or fall when visitor numbers diminish, and higher elevation trails are still accessible.

Our online trip planning tool can you create your own dream vacation.

Day 1 | Get ready for your parks experience

You'll find a wide variety of accommodations for your stay in Golden, including cozy cabins and rustic charming mountain chalets, slope-side condos, luxury vacation homes, hotels, and welcoming bed and breakfasts, for a truly authentic mountain experience.

After checking in, head into town for those last-minute essentials and dinner at one of the many restaurants or pubs. After dinner, you could be relaxing in a hot tub and planning your days at the heart of the parks. 

The Golden Hiking Maps map includes maps of Yoho and Glacier National Parks, as well as hikes in and around Golden and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Find it at the Golden Visitor Centre or at other locations in town.

Hints & Tips:

Purchase your Parks pass at the information centres in Field, Rogers Pass or once you arrive in Golden at the Golden Visitor Centre.
Leave early to avoid busy parking lots.
Always carry a first aid kit and bear spray and pack adequate food, water clothing, maps, and gear.

Get updates on trail conditions from Parks Canada website or visitor information centres.

Glacier National Park

Yoho National Park

Day 2 | Yoho - Emerald Lake & Basin

Your options include:

Emerald Lake -The parking lot and first 500m of the trail may be busy, but once the bus tour visitors turn back you will enjoy a gentle, lakeshore trail surrounded by mountain and glacier views.

Emerald Basin - Start along the shore of Emerald Lake then travel through ancient stands of hemlock and cedar to a natural amphitheatre.

Hamilton Falls - From the Emerald Lake parking lot, leave some extra time to take a short 30 minute walk through lush green forest to the delicate cascade of the falls.

Hamilton Lake - A steep and steady climb through lush forest rising steeply into subalpine and rocky alpine habitats to a classic, cliff-encircled alpine tarn.

Day 3 | Yoho East: Sherbrooke Lake and Paget Lookout

On route stop at the Spiral Tunnels - When British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871 the Kicking Horse Pass was chosen as the route to build a railway link to connect the province to the rest of Canada. The steep grade posed a serious challenge, the solution to which was the Spiral Tunnels, completed in 1909 and modelled on a system used in Switzerland. The tunnels provide a gentler grade as the train spirals through. See for yourself at the lookout on the Trans Canada Highway.

Sherbrooke Lake- Typical Rocky Mountain forest with avalanche debris at the lake. Part of an important wildlife corridor.

Paget Lookout - A steep, rocky trail to views of the Bow, Cataract Book and Kicking Horse Valleys.

Day 4 | Get fossilised! Hike the Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Yoho National Park is just a 20 minute drive from Golden, and the home to one of the most significant fossil finds in the world. The fossil beds are only accessible on pre-booked guided hikes. Choose from two options, both of which require some stamina (hikes are between 7 and 11 hours) and familiarity with steep strenuous hikes at higher elevations, but are well worth the effort. Enjoy stunning vistas over the Yoho National Park and Emerald Lake, and explore the extensive fossil beds which offer abundant and obvious Cambrian fossils. Guided hikes should be booked in advance. Visit the Burgess Shale Foundation for more information.

Day 5 | Yoho West – Wapta Falls and Mount Hunter

Wapta Falls - A lush, forested walk to the base of an impressive 30 m waterfall - the largest waterfall on the Kicking Horse River.

Mount Hunter Lookout and Upper Lookout - A steep trail to a historic fire lookout tower and beyond to views of the Kicking Horse and Beaverfoot Valleys.

Day 6 | Yoho Takkakaw, Laughing and Twin Falls

From Takkakaw Falls parking lot:

Laughing Falls -   A forested trail to a waterfall at the confluence of the Yoho and Little Yoho Rivers

Twin Falls - This forested trail passes Laughing Falls and carries on along the Yoho River to a spectacular double cascade and Twin Falls Tea House National Historic Site.

Day 7 | Experience History in Glacier National Park

Rogers Pass Visitor Centre - Explore Magazine calls it the best national park museum in Canada. An essential place to start or end your day, this recently-renovated information centre features a theatre, exhibits about avalanches, wildlife and the history of the area.

Loop Brook - Railway history is featured on this 1.6 km round-trip trail that leaves from the viewpoint just east of the Loop Brook Campground. This trail, part of Rogers Pass National Historic Site, highlights the stone pillars that once carried the railway track across the valley. It has short, steep sections. These features are among the oldest surviving man-made structures in western Canada.

Day 8 | Glacier Crest Trail

Glacier Crest – More difficult, but with high reward. This is a 6 hour hike on a steep trail up to a ridge providing glacier views of the Illecillewaet glacier to the east and the Asulkan Glacier to the west.