Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park is a Scenic — and Easy — Visit

B efore driving north on Icefields Parkway towards Jasper National Park, I decided to keep heading west on Trans-Canada Highway 1 into the province of British Columbia to visit Natural Bridge in the Kicking Horse River Valley in Yoho National Park.

Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park is a Scenic — and Easy — Visit

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

This sign greets visitors at the parking area near the entrance.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The altitude of Natural Bridge — which is located approximately three kilometers southwest of the village of Field and 31.6 kilometers west of Lake Louise — is 1,207 meters.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Another sign displays this information:

The Kicking Horse River Valley

This section of the Kicking Horse River is actively cutting down its bed. The main processes involved in this area are solution of the limestone in the river water and abrasion by sand and gravel being carried by the water. Both these processes were involved in the formation of the Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Ironically, Natural Bridge can be viewed from this man-made bridge on which visitors walk from the entrance at the parking lot on the right.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The bridge crosses Kicking Horse River.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The Kicking Horse River rushes its way past the trees in the woods…

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and crashes along all sorts of rocks.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Natural Bridge can be viewed with a different mountain in the background, depending upon the location from which you view it. In this view, Mount Dennis is in the background.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

According to this article from the official Internet web site of the village of Field, “Sculpted by the erosive forces of rushing water over what had once been a waterfall, the Natural Bridge is a powerful reminder of how much influence water has in shaping the landscape.” In this view, Mount Stephen is in the background.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The article continues: “Softer rock found below the Natural Bridge’s hard limestone band eroded more quickly, and fissures in the rock widened until the flow of water was diverted below the outcrop.”

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The Kicking Horse River continues to sculpt and carve through the rock right before your eyes.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The resulting rock formations — which contain pools of water — at Natural Bridge are stunning, in my opinion.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I was mesmerized by the rapids of the river washing over the rocks, accompanied by its unmistakable roar.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

James Hector coined the name Kicking Horse River in 1858 when he was reportedly kicked by his horse while exploring the river during the Palliser Expedition, which is the same expedition in which a botanist named Eugène Bourgeau was involved.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The word Yoho for Yoho National Park is an expression of awe and wonder by the Cree, which is a group of indigenous people of North America. Greater than 200,000 members currently live in Canada.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The photograph above shows the view of Emerald Lake Road just outside of the parking lot for Natural Bridge with Mount Stephen looming in the background. Emerald Lake is only approximately seven kilometers to the north; and there are facilities available there. A trip report of my visit there is forthcoming.

Summary

Anyone can visit Natural Bridge, as no hiking is involved to see it. If you can transport yourself from the parking lot over the man-made bridge, you can visit with no problems.

Other than admission into Yoho National Park — which has been suspended for 2017 while Canada celebrates 150 years as a confederation — there is no admission fee to visit; and you can stay as long as you like…

…and if you only have as few as ten minutes or so, that will suffice as well. Natural Bridge is a scenic and easy place to visit for virtually anyone, with the only potential impediment being the throngs of other people visiting and crowding into the area as well during peak season, as tour buses do tend to stop here.

Please be aware that there is currently major construction under way on Trans-Canada Highway 1 in British Columbia just west of the border the province shares with Alberta; so you may want to factor in some extra time in traveling to Natural Bridge.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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