Kicking Horse Campsite, Yoho National Park
Yoho Vally Road, Field, BC, V0A 1G0
Cost per Site: $27-30 (although we only paid $20 as the showers were down!)
Fire Pits: $8.80 (no restrictions)
Extra Costs: National Park Entry Pass is Required (costs varies for families/seniors/children but approximately $10 per person a day and can be collected at booths upon entry to the national parks)
Bear Boxes: Available
Toilets: Available with Electric Points
Showers: Available (in July 2014 not operational)
Extras: Couple of hiking Trails, day treks and evening activities/presentations
Having stumbled across fellow travellers in Lake Louise and Banff and hearing their tales of ginormous queues into similar campsites in the vicinity, we were sure glad we picked to drive that little bit further in to Yoho National Park and glide straight in to the Kicking Horse Campsite without delays.
Based in the hub of the park, it’s the largest campground in the vicinity. The sites are relatively private with forests surrounds, plenty of shade, a picnic table and fit pit. It’s a beautiful site for sure, with the rather impressive gothic Cathedral Mountain overlooking you through the pines at an impressive 3189metres high, babbling glacier cooled rivers and various waterfalls snaking their way down the cliffs and ridges of the mountain sides.
Clean and well organised, our site was relatively flat, although quite compacted so a little hard on pegging out our tent (improvised hammers – aka large rocks – were required!). The bathrooms were spotless and had electric points should you need a quick boost on any mobiles/laptops etc but the showers were out of order so we cannot really feedback on that bad boy! Plenty of hot water too, out door washing facilities and also little shacks you can cook and meet in with roof coverage should it be a pretty mong day of weather (they also have fire pits in too so you can stay nice, toasty and dry!)
Apparently visits from bears can be frequent so bear boxes are provided and, although a bit of a long walk away from the our site, were large enough for our saddle bags (bring your own lock padlock if you desire extra security). Mosquitos… they were about but not in swarms… it was fine to sit out and cook and chat through the evening without being overly pestered! A nice addition to the campsite is they have organised treks in the day and evening activities including geocaching competitions and talks on bears. All the staff are lovely and speak both English and French.
Throughout the day and night you can expect to hear the rumble of trains chugging past, rhythmically tugging their way through the local Spiral Tunnels. If you’re a super light sleeper this may cause you a bit of a restless night but to be fair it had no affect on us.
You’re only really around 20mins to a maximum of an hour away from a good deal of the tourist attractions (see below for details).
All in all, a lovely campsite. We would stay there again for sure, I could have easily spent a good day just chilled and reading by the river. Very relaxing!
(some details shamelessly pinched from the NCPA webby!)
Only a couple of km away, you can pick up basic groceries and food here. They have a couple of cafes and a restaurant too (Truffle Pig Cafe does goooood coffee and supposedly scrumdiddlyumptious meals but we only sampled their banana cake!)
Wapta Falls (24 km west of Field)
In 1858, near Wapta Falls, a pack horse kicked explorer James Hector in the chest, and the Kicking Horse River got its name. Wapta Falls is the full width of the river and drops 30m (100′). A short drive off the TransCanada Highway takes you to the start of a 2.4 trail walk to the falls. This is a relatively flat trail but with lots of knotted roots and steady climbs.
You can see the falls from above but also have the option to clamber down to the lower levels. This is a steep descent and may be troublesome to elderly or very young.
Hoodoos (22 km west of Field, in Hoodoo Creek Campground)
A steep hike to see these capped pillars of glacial debris. The 1.6 km trail starts in Hoodoo Creek Campground.
Natural Bridge (3 km west of Field, on the the Emerald Lake Road)
The Kicking Horse River has carved a natural bridge through solid rock, 1.6 km from the Trans-Canada highway on the Emerald Lake Road. This is a crazily insane tourist trap in Summer, with coach loads of people piling on and off.
If you are wanting a different angle slightly less rammed with elbows and cameras, climb down to the shore and walk along the side and take a snap from there! Be careful though, something you really don’t want to tumble into!
Emerald Lake (11 km west and north of Field, on the Emerald Lake Road)
Emerald Lake is incredibly popular for sightseeing, canoeing and hiking. It’s pretty amazing, but my of my, super full of people and sight seers!
Takakkaw Falls (13 km north of the TransCanada Highway, at the end of the Yoho Valley Road)
With a free-fall of 254 metres, Takakkaw Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Canada. It is STUPENDOUS! We went early morning before any crowds had arrived and it was so jaw droppingly lush! The ride up is pretty neat too, with a handful of switchbacks near the beginning (note, this has made it somewhat trailer-pulling unfriendly!) Do this and play spot the squirrel. Lots of them about all willing to give you a show!
Lower Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint (8 km east of Field)
A fascinating display explains the history and operation of the spiral tunnels. From the platform, visitors have a spectacular view of the Yoho Valley, Yoho Glacier and the lower spiral tunnel portals in Mt. Ogden. If you’re super lucky you will be able to see a train