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Takakkaw Falls

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Hidden : 09/02/2009
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Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Takakkaw Falls, located just west of the Continental Divide in Yoho NP, is Canada’s second highest waterfall. This earthcache requires an approx. 1.2 km (return) walk on asphalt trails. NOTES: summer access only; valid National Park Pass required.

ACCESS: The Yoho Valley access road is only open from late June through early October. Exact dates vary, depending on the weather. There are two extreme switchbacks on the road, so trailers are not allowed (parking available). From the Takakkaw Falls trailhead parking lot, head south on the paved trail. After about 200 m, you will come to a sign that provides some information about the Falls. Cross the footbridge and follow the paved path, which will take you close enough to the base of the Falls to feel the spray on your face!

The water source for Takakkaw Falls is meltwater from the Daly Glacier in the Waputik Icefield. Waputik Icefield covers 40 square kilometers on the Continental Divide. Runoff from the Waputik Icefield provides water for numerous lakes, streams and rivers including Hector Lake, and the Bow, Kicking Horse and Yoho Rivers.

Peak flows at Takakkaw Falls are in July, when glacial meltwater is running freely. But in autumn, the melt is slowed, and by winter, the raging falls narrows to a ribbon of ice until the next summer sets it free.

Takakkaw Falls was long thought to be the highest waterfall in Canada, but in 1985 a new survey determined the total drop to be 373 m (1,223 feet). This makes it considerably shorter than the 503 m (1,650 feet) drop for Della Falls on Vancouver Island, BC.

Some other facts about Takakkaw Falls:

  • the average width is 30 meters
  • the average volume is 3 cubic meters / sec
  • Takakkaw Falls is more than 4 times higher than Niagara Falls, but the average flow at Niagara Falls is 2000 times that of Takakkaw Falls
  • in addition to being a “cascade” type of falls, Takakkaw is also a “horsetail” falls, which means the descending water maintains some contact with the backlying rock
  • these falls were featured in the 1995 film, “Last of the Dogmen”

If you look carefully at the rock face to the left of the falls, you may be able to identify three distinct layers, all belonging to the Waterfowl Formation. The lowest layer is dolomite, which often gives good climbing. As a result, climbers can sometimes be seen tackling the Takakkaw Falls Route, which follows a line immediately left of the Falls. Above the dolomite layer is a 30 m band of shale and then an upper layer of limestone. To complete the climb, ending just to the left of the top of the Falls, climbers make their way through a low tunnel passage through the limestone layer.

To claim your find, you must e-mail a short note to the cache owner which contains all the following information:

  1. The text GC1Y4JA Takakkaw Falls on the first line.
  2. The number of people in your group.
  3. The Daly Glacier has receded from the rock at the very top of the falls. How far does the meltwater from the Daly Glacier have to flow before it reaches the brink of the cap rock / top of Takakkaw Falls? (HINT: be sure to read the sign before the bridge.)
  4. From the trail / posted coordinates, you will observe that Takakkaw Falls takes more than one step to drop its total distance of 373 meters. How many steps are there and which step is the longest drop?

OPTIONAL: Post a photo of you or your GPS with Takakkaw Falls in the background.

This earthcache was established with permission from Parks Canada and complies with their geocaching guidelines. In granting permission for this earthcache, Parks Canada conveyed that all geocachers must stay on the designated trails and that no items are to be removed or left at the site.

SOURCES: Online Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Takakkaw Falls” on the internet at The Atlas of Canada – Waterfalls on the internet at World Waterfalls Database on the internet at “Waterfall” on Wikipedia at

Additional Hints (No hints available.)



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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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