This was our third hike of our trip in the Rockies. I would say this was more of a walk than a hike but the Emerald Lake Trail was a one-up for beauty on what Loz and I had done so far.
We started at the car park and made our way to the trail head. As we turned the corner there was a cafe which you could only get to via a cute wooden jetty. The cafe integrated better with the surroundings being made from rock and timber so it was certainly less of an eyesore than the Fairmount at Lake Louise.
We walked around the lake clockwise. Knowing that it was a smaller hike I was very happy to stroll and take my time. We weren’t in any real rush and it was so peaceful that in all honesty I could have taken all day to do this one. Loz on the other hand was taking another approach. This was the first time that the differences in our hiking / walking speeds became obvious.
Loz wanted to get her blood pumping and so head off into the distance. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t want to go too far ahead without the bear spray – which was with me. It would have been fine for sure, however she wasn’t up for going alone and therefore hung back a bit. I could tell this annoyed her a bit. She would beacon me to speed up. “Cummon!” But we found our own pace so that she could walk fast enough but remain a ‘safe’ distance and I was slow enough to take in the views and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
I was also on camera duty so that also made the walk a little slower. Differences put aside we both really enjoyed this loop. Emerald Lake Trail is further out from ‘other’ places and in the lesser marketed area that is Yoho (compared to Banff and Lake Louise, the flagship places to visit in the Rockies). This is another reason why I was happy to take my time – appreciate that there were hardly any people here. Compared to yesterday at Lake Louise, this place was remote!
We could see the mountains in the distance but it wasn’t until we got to the top of the loop where we had to make our way back that I really saw and appreciated the view. The opposite end to the car park where were now was pure Picture Postcard territory. In the foreground, you had the lake, behind that marsh, then forest and finally in the background sticking out was Mount President. And what a suitable name for this commanding mount. It was hiding around the corner and obstructed by the trees that we were in on the way up.
I didn’t want to leave this spot. We stopped for a bit to eat but we were forced to move on. We had planned to do a morning and an afternoon activity each day so unfortunately we didn’t have all day – which suited Loz. “Cummon”. I was walking backwards, not wanting to leave this beautiful scene. The view doesn’t look real. It looked like the painted backdrop from a film in a studio somewhere in Hollywood.
The trail is flat and easy going on the feet that really all you need are trainers. You may want something a little more substantial if the weather is rainy but that’s just to keep your feet dry. Walking forward now we were quicker that the way up. I didn’t have the mountain to distract me. I was happy to find a look out point on the edge of the lake where we perched for another rest and gawp at the mountains again. I was very happy to be taking plenty more photos and so I was clicking away. SNAP SNAP SNAP.
Alas we had to make our way back. We took a little detour up to where there are some cabins. There was a tiny village after the climb which you would never have known was there if you hadn’t climbed up this way. From the trail head it wasn’t obvious, neither looking back. Maybe it would have been different if we had checked out the lake at night and seen the lights. Anyway, it seemed like a better set-up. We met a young English family who were staying in the lodges. What a great place to wake up. We helped them take their picture and they reciprocated.
This marked the end of our hike for the morning. It was funny when taking this picture. I was super sweaty (it was warm, walking and I had a backpack) and the shirt I had on wasn’t a nice breathable top. We were going to get in close but Loz was not having any of it. Our friendship doesn’t extend that far apparently! Instead, it looks like we are holding hands so I think I am the real winner here.
- Alltrails.com is a great place to find more about the Emerald Lake Trail