Adventures In British Columbia: Wildhorse River & Yoho National Park

While I am normally a planner extraordinaire, Micheal is more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. This makes going on trips together…interesting, if not an extreme exercise in frustration for both of us. And so it was that we recently ended up on the road, with no real plan, but enough gear to spend several days in the backcountry.

I have a book of hot springs hikes in Western Canada, that Mike’s mum bought me for my birthday last year. Using that as our guide, we drove out to Kimberley, British Columbia, in the hopes of hiking 9kms in to an undeveloped oasis of hot water and crowd-free camping bliss.


Unfortunately your narrator has a bad habit of ignoring the gas gauge on her truck. We had spent no less than 45 minutes slowly winding our way down logging roads that were a veritable maze of pot holes, when I helpfully pointed out that we were almost on empty.

“Why didn’t you get gas in town?” Mike asked, obviously annoyed.

“Well I didn’t know it was this far in” I replied, feeling sheepish.

“Is there some reason you must wait until that light comes on to alert you that the tank is empty? It’s ok to put gas in, even if it’s not on the red line yet.”



“I’m sorry I didn’t fill up before we left town”

It was actually far less amicable and much higher volume than I am indicating, but in the end we decided we had better turn around, as we had no idea how much further on the trail head was.

After gassing up, we realized that it was far to late to drive all the way back out and then hike three or more hours before setting up camp. So, we went with Plan B, driving out to Wildhorse river. There are supposedly hot springs there as well, but we couldn’t find them. Mike fell in the river, it was getting dark and we were both rather chilled and tired, so he took the dog to get water while I set up the tent and beds and got a fire going. We had tuna casserole for supper, cuddled with the dog by our meager campfire, and then called it a night.

Smidgin did very well during her first night in a tent. I fear that she was too cold however, and so I am currently in the process of inventing her a down sleeping bag (more on that later).

I rose early to take her out and start breakfast. There was fire and berry crisp and a glorious sunrise.

Mountains At Sunrise

Camping At Wildhorse

After Michael was up and full of breakfast, we decided to leave and head for Yoho National Park. He has been wanting to go there for a while, and so I agreed. We packed up and headed out.

Wildhorse River

More Water

We came across a baby black bear who was gorging himself on dandelions along the side of the road. Michael captured a couple of good photos before we attracted a crowd and decided to drive onward.

What's Over There?

Black Bear

Around the next bed, we found mountain goats!!! What a perfect day to see wildlife!


Mountain Goat

Eating Minerals

We reached Yoho in the late afternoon, and after speaking to one of the parks staff, discovered that they were fairly full up on campers. Still, she pointed out some sites that had availability and off we went.


Takakkaw falls

There was car camping at the trail head, or a 4km hike in to the first backcountry area. Even though we figured we were out of luck, we headed in. Smidgin needed the exercise anyway, after beeing cooped up in the truck most of the day.

It was a gorgeous hike, well worth the trip.

Other Falls

Falls At Yoho

Laughing Falls

Smidgin At Yoho


As we feared, the backcountry was full, so we hiked back out. We debated about spending the night at the car camping sites, or heading off on other adventures. In the end, Michael decided we should strike out for something better. What that was will have to wait for another day, however.

About the author

Mike & Cal have been backpacking around Alberta for the past decade. This site is where they share trip reports, photos, and tips and tricks for getting outside.


  1. Wow! Impressive photos. I really do love waterfalls and that’s awesome that you saw a baby bear. It’s on my list to see a bear in the wild so I’m jealous!

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