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Michael Falls
   British Columbia, Canada

This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database.
Photo of Michael Falls Fed by a modest glacier nestled south of The President and to the west of Michael Peak, an unnamed branch of the Emerald River hurtles over 1400 feet down the side of Michael Peak in one of the more impressive waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies Parks. However despite its size, because the falls are situated in a deep recess such that it cannot be seen from the popular Emerald Lake area, the falls are very obscurely known and receive comparatively little visitation.

As the waters of the unnamed glacier on the west of Michael Peak conglomerate and form a noteworthy stream, it runs over long slabby ledges and talus deposited by the retreating glacier. Upon reaching the edge of the mountain it hurtles over a sheer plunge of between 200 and 300 feet before cascading through more talus. At this point the water funnels to the left and skips and horsetails over 500 feet down a long narrow crevice, from which it gathers and explodes out a forceful plunging firehose, dropping another 300 feet in impressive fashion. Before the creek resumes its long descent down the talus slope to join Emerald Lake below, it flumes down a narrow crack containing about 200 feet of additional cascades, though due to foreshortening and the narrow nature of the gorge, much of this part of the falls cannot be seen easily.


  • Michael Falls is the Official name of this waterfall

Our thoughts

Though the volume isn't even close to the same scale as more famous Takakkaw Falls just over the hill, Michael Falls should be considered one of the major waterfalls in this part of the Rockies, perhaps the 4th best waterfall in Yoho National Park (after Takakkaw, Twin and Wapta Falls). Though Yoho Pass is a fairly popular hike, because most begin the hike from the Yoho Valley side, few people get to appreciate the falls - especially surprising considering the bug-like swarms of people who frequent Emerald Lake and Yoho Valley during the summer months.

Location and directions

Michael Falls is located near Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Hike the Emerald Lake loop clockwise for 1.7km to the Yoho Pass Trail and bear left. The trail crosses a good dozen channels of the Emerald River then begins climbing steeply. At the top of the climb the trail swings right across a talus field where the falls are visible, a total of 4.4km from the parking lot at Emerald Lake. The falls can also be accessed via a 6.5km hike from the Yoho Valley Road.

Michael Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

Additional Nearby Waterfalls

Name of Waterfall Distance
Whiskey Jack Falls 1.83 mi / 2.92 km
Emerald Basin Falls 1.91 mi / 3.05 km
Takakkaw Falls 2.68 mi / 4.29 km
Hamilton Falls 2.95 mi / 4.73 km
Point Lace Falls 3.12 mi / 4.99 km
Angel's Staircase Falls 3.39 mi / 5.43 km
Laughing Falls 3.91 mi / 6.26 km
Yoho Gorge Falls 3.92 mi / 6.28 km
Little Yoho Falls 4.07 mi / 6.51 km
Fairy Creek Falls 4.76 mi / 7.62 km


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Photo of Michael Falls Photo of Michael Falls Photo of Michael Falls

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Photography tips

Because there are no truly close approaches to the falls, one must be satisfied with the more distant trailside views, which necessitates a longer focal length - generally between 50 and 100mm works well, but even longer for isolation shots. The falls face southeast and will see best light before the afternoon hours.

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