The beauty of the hike to the twin falls area was enough enticement to do the 20 km round trip hike. The icing on the cake was this amazing Historic Chalet that was at the base of the falls.
Once I saw the poster I was hooked on seeing the building. I wondered how much it would have changed since 1908. The first view of it as you summit the trail makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Turns out not much has changed but there was no angle I could take the photo that didn’t have the modern sleeping bags hanging over the balcony.
They’ve done some log and roof replacements recently as we could see where they sliced into the old. But really it seems like 1917 when you are there.
The tea house was built in three phases between 1908-1928. A log structure was built in 1908, most likely built by the CPR, as a stopover cabin for trail ride groups. From 1925 – 1928, a single storey link was built, joining the two earlier log structures.
Built near the falls, the teahouse provided meals and rudimentary shelter for hikers and trail riders.
It’s so cool to look at this structure and think about men felling trees, notching them, building the structure and sleeping in it. They’d have had to carry all their supplies in and live in the bush as they did it. I wonder if anyone’s family lore includes the building of this structure. The legacy is that it is still standing today which shows how skillfully it was crafted.
Sadly we missed the tea house being open by about 20 mins. It’s interesting that the same operator, Fran Drummond, has ran this seasonal site for Parks Canada since the 1960’s. Yes, seriously. Isn’t that crazy! She must have gotten annoyed at always answering the same questions over the years because she stuck up the answers near the door!
I had a couple of questions that weren’t up there (how old are you and how much does Parks Canada pay) but they were unpacking supplies and didn’t seem overly talkative plus asking someone their age and income aren’t polite questions.
So we peeked in the windows and talked about how it would be neat to book in to stay up there. Which, interestingly enough, can only be done off season and reservations can’t be changed as they can’t be reached. No cell coverage I guess or at her age she isn’t “into” texting. Or maybe she’s just too busy working while everyone else enjoys the view from around the corner.
The Twin Falls Tea House plays an important role in the overall series of recreational opportunities in Yoho National Park. It is a well preserved example of the rustic design in Canada’s National Parks. It was designated in 1992 as a National Historic Site and serves as a vivid reminder of the early days of hiking, mountaineering and trail riding in the National Parks. Heck it still does all those things today and helps us realize how blessed we are to live in a country that has preserved so many natural areas.
This is the last of my Parks Canada experiences this year unless we take an unplanned weekend trip away. I’ve really enjoyed researching, writing and blogging these snippets for Canada 150. I’m still more than willing to edit and post any other submissions that travellers care to send me.