Embarking on what I considered to be our first actual day of adventure, we set off for hiking Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. The journey there was, of course, spectacular. No amount of rain or stormy weather could diminish the beauty of this wilderness.
Emerald Lake Trailhead
I pulled into the Emerald Lake parking area and crossed every finger and toe. It looked busy – definitely hoping that what I’d read about the touristy areas was true: 20 feet away from the main viewpoint, you’ll encounter hardly anyone. I saw the trailhead, then off to the left was a bridge leading to several lovely lodge buildings. Fancy. Canada, you are one legit classy broad.
But first things first, I had to pee. I spotted an outhouse by the trailhead. Jackpot.
Let it be noted that not only do Canadian’s have stunning lodges, but their outhouses also are really freaking nice! There may not have been running water or plumbing of any sort, but each one I stopped at was clean and equipped with plenty of TP and hand sanitizer. Small but significant comforts.
I assessed the trail map by the bathrooms and walked back to collect the pups. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the start of our new routine: First, park the car. Then stop at the trailhead bathroom. Next, assess the maps. Return to collect the dogs. And finally, hike!
Hiking Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake Trail: 3.2 miles (5.2 km), approximately 2 hours of hiking, minimal elevation
We shimmied past the crowd of people collected by the maps. I chatted with a park ranger for a moment. Then continued down the path. The first thing I noticed was the silence. Or rather, the lack of human noises. It was like everyone had disappeared. Bliss.
The trail was wide enough for the pups to walk along my sides most of the time. First, the trail was mostly dry, with just a few puddles and muddy sections along the way. The trees blocked most of the rain, not that I minded it too much – nothing could distract me from the scenery!
Aptly named, Emerald Lake was a vision of color! Standing there, looking directly at it, it was still hard to accept the colors as real. I just stopped and stared many times along the way.
We came across a few other hikers. Many seemed to turn around once they reached the end of the lake opposite the parking lot and trailhead. At first, I wondered if I’d missed something. But it was actually rather convenient because now the trail was getting muddy. I was becoming quite a mess!
The dogs were barreling through not just some but all of the mud puddles. Cool Whip now had brown legs, and if my pants hadn’t been a dark color already, they’d have been brown as well from all the dirt and water the dogs splashed up. Perfect. My car is about to get really dirty!
We made it back to the car just as the rain stopped—a perfect time to brush off some of the mud and give the hooligans a snack.
Hiking with Dogs in Yoho National Park
Leashed dogs are welcome on all trails in Yoho National Park unless otherwise noted. Some trails are closed to pets and small groups during times of heavy grizzly bear activity. Be sure to pack poop bags, a water bowl, and water for your hiking adventures.