- Physical DifficultyThis 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.
- Technical DifficultyThis 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.
The Iceline hike is a wonderful trail up past tree line to and along a ridge presenting beautiful vistas across the Yoho Valley of Takakkaw Falls as fast-receding glaciers teeter above you. You can make this longer or shorter depending on your energy.
View Iceline on Map
- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Iceline
Walk 0.5 km towards the HI Whiskey Jack Hostel, where you will find the trailhead (west side of the road). Keep in mind you cannot park at the hostel unless you’re staying there. Get on the trail and immediately start the steep climb through switchbacks. Don’t worry, it gets better. After a few hundred vertical meters you will find yourself above the treeline. If you can believe it, it wasn’t until recent trail updating that the route went above the forest and allowed for such spectacular views.
Once past the treeline a little climbing remains, but reinvigorate your legs with the view across the valley. You can see Takakkaw Falls and the Daly Glacier that feeds it. The trail moves through barren moraines and loose scree – a moonscape to say the least. Continue along the trail as it becomes increasingly flatter, passing three beautiful lakes. Take the time to relax by the water and, if it’s a nice day, soak in the view and warm yourself in the sun.
You can turn around any point you want and retrace your footsteps. Those who are more adventurous can descend into the basin and take a woodland trail through the Yoho River Valley. You could also make a big day and descend to the ACC Stanley Mitchell Hut and overnight as part of a longer route.
We prefer to go as far along the Iceline as we can before it starts to lose elevation and then we turn around and head back along the way we came, enjoying the views and staying high.
Insider Hints for Iceline
- Save this hike for a clear day, as missing these amazing views would be a shame.
- You can make a weekend here along a longer route by staying at the historical Twin Falls Chalet or the Stanley Mitchell Hut, which is managed by the Alpine Club of Canada.
Getting to the Iceline Trailhead
Drive west from Banff or Lake Louise along the Trans-Canada Highway. Take the exit north towards Takakkaw Falls. If you reach Field BC, you have gone too far! Go for nearly 14.0 km up the road until you see the parking area. Trailers are not allowed on this road.
Iceline Elevation Graph
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