Emerald Lake Circuit

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
50 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panoramic views of the Emerald Lake Circuit hike in Yoho National Park

The Emerald Lake circuit is a family-friendly hike packed with amazing scenery. Hiking around Emerald Lake should be on your list of must-do’s on your next trip to the Canadian Rockies. It will be a highlight, trust us!

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Route Description for Emerald Lake Circuit

From the parking lot, head north towards the lake. Do not cross the bridge to Emerald Lake Lodge, but continue heading north passing the small canoe rental shop to your right. Continue along a broad path that boasts incredible views of Emerald Lake. The Emerald Lake Lodge will also be on your right. This path further leads you through a sunny rocky mountain forest.

You’ll quickly come across an avalanche slide path. After 1.5 km you will reach the end of the lake with a beautiful basin and many chose to return the way they came. There are options to head up into Emerald Basin or over Yoho Pass for the adventurous.

Continuing along the path contouring the end of the lake, you’ll cross some streams and finally head into the trees on the other side of the lake. The path is completely different, travelling through a Columbian forest with cedar and hemlock – it’s hard to believe the different ecosystem on this side of the lake. Continue on a narrow path through the trail, eventually coming out at the far end of the cabins at Emerald Lake Lodge.

Walk through the property and then down to the patio at Cilantro’s for a drink and a snack. This may be the best patio in the Canadian Rockies. For those in a rush, grab something quick at the window at Cilantro on the Lake.

Insider Hints for Emerald Lake Circuit

  • Combine this hike with a visit to Takkakaw Falls, a true wonder of the Rockies.
  • Staying at Emerald Lake Lodge is an unforgettable experience. Unplug from the TV and phone to have a wonderful meal followed by a log fire in the fireplace in your room.
  • Get here early, the parking lot fills up.
  • Ideally time your trip to enjoy lunch on the patio at Cilantro on the Lake.

Getting to the Emerald Lake Circuit Trailhead

Heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway, take the right-hand exit 1.6 km after the Field turn-off for Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake. Follow this road for 9.2 km until you reach the Emerald Lake parking area.

Route Information

  • When to do

    All Year

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Emerald Lake Circuit Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Emerald Lake Circuit Reviews

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