Emerald Lake Circuit

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Emerald Lake Circuit

Distance: 5.3km
Elevation: 50m
Time: 1-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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!

Getting there

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


When to do

All Year

Backcountry Campsites




Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type



Detailed Description

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 1.5km 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

  • 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.

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