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What Is Yoho National Park?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Yoho National Park is a Canadian national park located in British Columbia, which is the westernmost province in Canada. Covering an area of about 507 square miles (1,313 square km), it was established in 1886, and it became a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site almost a century later, in 1984. Yoho National Park is also known as one of the four contiguous national parks in the Canadian Rockies.

Since it is located in the Canadian Rockies, which is part of the Rocky Mountains range that spans the western region of the North American continent, Yoho National Park has its share of notable mountains. The most popular is Mount Burgess. It is here that in 1909, American invertebrate paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale, a black rock unit that is celebrated as one of the world's richest fossil deposits.

The tallest mountain in Yoho National Park, however, is Mount Stephen, with a height of 10,496 feet (3,889 m). Mount Stephen also has a portion of the Burgess Shale. Other Yoho mountains include Mount Balfour, Mount Goodsir, The President and The Vice President.

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Also featured in Yoho National Park the Takakkaw and Wapta waterfalls. Takakkaw Falls, roughly named after the phrase meaning "it is magnificent" in the Cree Native American language, is officially known as the second-highest measured waterfall in the western region of Canada, with a peak of 1,260 feet (384 m). Wapta Falls, named after the Nakota Native American word for river, is the Kicking Horse River's largest waterfall, with a height of around 98 feet (30 m) and width of 490 feet (150 m).

Yoho National Park shares a common border, or is next to, three other national parks in the Canadian Rockies. To the north is Jasper National Park, which is the largest of the four. Banff National Park, Canada's oldest national park, borders Yoho from the east. Kootenay National Park, named after one of the two rivers that flows into it, is located to the south. Yoho National Park is notable for being the smallest of the four national parks.

Most people like to visit Yoho during the summer. The park is open year-round, however, and there is quite a sizable number of visitors during the spring and fall seasons as well. Common summer activities include camping, climbing and mountaineering, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ski touring and waterfall ice climbing are appropriate and unique winter-season activities that can be performed at Yoho.

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