On the way back from Golden to Lake Louise we drive again through Yoho National Park, and again, and luckily, it's a reasonable day with fair weather. We don't have much time as we don't want to miss our bus, but we can still in a detour or two and from many potentially beautiful spots we pick the Emerald Lake.
The turn-of is a couple of miles west of Field and it takes us along a decent minor road (open all year round, unlike many other side roads around here). The first stop is what is called "Natural Bridge", despite the fact that rock arch over the Kicking Horse River has now fallen in. But the spot is still supremely beautiful, with a river tumbling noisily between the rocks, eroding them with its power. The pools below the rapids are glowingly blue, the color give by the rock flour carried by the river from the high mountainsides. We spend a pleasant half hour here, admiring the views and peeking between the rocks, luckily managing to slot ourselves between two coach-fulls of organized groups.
Five miles up the road is the Emerald Lake, a superbly attractive lake surrounded by mountains and glaciers – Burgess Shale, famous as and unrivaled fossil source of strange and wonderful creatures – is nearby and some finds are exhibited on the circular lake trail.
Unlike Lake Louise, the Emerald Lake is starting to melt at the time of our visit, and although the surface is yet far from clear of ice, large patches of dark-green (bottle green more then emerald green) are appearing, reflecting the mountains and tall Douglas Firs that surround the lake.
It's a beautiful spot and despite the Icefields Parkway wonders that await us from Lake Louise, I consider this small detour one of the highlights of our whole time in the Rockies.