Distance: 9 km out and back
Elevation gain : 250 m
Spring, Summer, Fall
Well the time had come for my babies first hike, she was 3 weeks old – where do we go?! We did some research to find a hike that both she and I could handle and this was a great choice! Although it is pretty far off the beaten path, this trail has a lot to offer with little effort put in. A popular destination for fishermen and horseback riders, we found ourselves among a few other adventurers, even on a Monday afternoon.
Ya Ha Tinda is located way back in the back country where horses and other wildlife run wild. Its a slow and steady drive on the gravel roads but also a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery. The lake is located on google maps so it will take you right to the trail head. Take note that when you put the directions in, there is one section by the bridge that it says “dead end ahead” – we doubted if it was accurate ….. it was…. lol Don’t be me !! ha ha Make sure to head where it tells you to go!!!
The trail head begins at the Eagle Lake parking lot which is right after the kids camp/Eagle Lake campground. We headed up on the very obvious horse trail right beside the washrooms, where it quickly turned into more of a quad trail. (Quads are allowed here but only after and before a certain day so make sure if this is your method of transportation you check the restrictions.)
Soon enough you will reach a river you need to cross and get your feet a little wet, hopefully it is a warm day or you have waterproof shoes! It is very small and shallow so don’t let this discourage you. Once crossing the river, you will hit the Eagle Lake wooden sign to begin your trek to the first lake (Eagle Lake).
This trail is very straight forward so take the obvious route. Once you pass the meadows you’ll walk a little bit further and notice the trail starts to jet off in a few different directions – these all lead to Eagle Lake. You can walk around the entire lake as well, this is how you end up at James Falls and James Lake!
We ended up taking the left/north-east ish path around the lake, scouting to see if we could see any fish! Unfortunately, we couldn’t as it was too windy but there were other fishermen that had been catching all day!
The path to James lake is very obvious as well. There is a thick horse trail at the far back of Eagle Lake, James Falls is located off this trail and despite what it looks like, the falls will be on your left side heading down that path towards James Lake. There is no obvious path to the falls ,but once you pass the marshy area, continue a bit further until you find a dried up creek bed. There’s lots of deadf alls and a deep hole in the land – head directly left from here towards mountainside. You will come across another dried up creek bed which eventually turns into a small creek stream and then a beautiful waterfall! The falls will only be about a 5-10 minute walk off the original trail.
I wish I brought my suit!! It was such a hot beautiful day – I could have waded in the waters for hours!!!
Next we continued on to James Lake, heading back the way we came and continuing on. Not much further along (the trail from Eagle Lake to James Lake is only another 2 km) we arrived at the marshy opening of the lake. We didn’t have much time so we had a snack and went back to try our luck fishing at Eagle lake. It seems like there is a trail that goes around the southern part of the lake and continues on.
Overall, this was such a great way to spend the day. We had never visited the Ya Ha Tinda area before and I was impressed by its simplicity and beauty. This was a great first hike for Sophie and me as well, being only three weeks postpartum. Unfortunately, we did not catch any fish but maybe you will have better luck than us!!!