Explore Lake O'Hara

Canada Lake O'Hara Trailhead

Added by Callum Snape

Be surrounded by amazing views, wildflowers, and wildlifeThere are great hikes for all abilitiesMake sure to get a permit well in advance of your trip to Lake O'HaraDuration: Overnight

Hidden deep in the Canadian Rockies is Lake O'Hara, a diamond among the rough peaks. Ten minutes drive east of a small town called Field in British Columbia, or sixty minutes west of Banff, Alberta; is a small parking lot where the adventure begins. A $25 return, 30 minute bus ride from there takes you to Lake O'Hara itself, you can opt to hike the unadventurous 11km trail. The real adventure starts at the lake with numerous day hikes.

Lake O'Hara is the trailhead for several hikes with all abilities, the Alpine trail is Advanced. Alpine Trail = 7.4km divided into 3 sections for shorter hikes. 5 + ½ hours round trip. Very steep terrain, rock ledges, route finding. Spring, Summer, Autumn for hiking and Winter for Snowshoeing or XC Skiing.

I took the bus in and camped for two nights, the first day exploring the Alpine Circuit trail with some of the worlds most breathtaking views with the highlight being the 'Yukness Ledges'. The second day I adventured up to Lake McArthur, undoubtedly one of the Blue-est lakes in the world, before relaxing by the campfire on the last morning and catching the bus out.

Lake O'Hara is one of the worlds most protected playgrounds, the views here unbelievable, you'll be pinching yourself the whole hike. The number of day hikers is restricted by Parks Canada so you can go a few hours before seeing another person, you'll be surrounded by wildlife, wildflowers and grand views.

You HAVE to book your trip exactly three months in advance and you will be on the phone for up to two hours just to try to get into this beautiful place. You have the option of staying at the Elizabeth Parker or Abbott Pass Huts as well, these are owned by the Alpine Club of Canada and can be even more challenging to book.

Pack List

  • 2-3 Liters of water
  • STRONG bug spray
  • Bear Spray
  • Lunch & Snacks
  • Camera
  • Petzl Headlamp
  • $$ for Carrot Cake, or two, or three.
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Food
  • Warm clothes
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Rating:

Features:

Lake
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

Magical!

I would definitely recommend Lake O'Hara! The camp grounds and the lodge book up quickly for the season and unless you have a booking, you can't catch the bus from the parking lot. I definitely wouldn't let that deter you though! A friend and I hiked the 11kms up to the Lake and it was beautiful. Once you're there there are plenty more hikes to explore or just take the loop around the lake. From there you are able to catch the bus back down but remember to bring cash and keep an eye on the time because if you miss the last bus (as we did) you'll be stuck hiking another 11kms back.

5 months ago

Added by Callum Snape

More Adventures Nearby

Photograph Sunrise at Pinnacles Provincial Park

Canada / Pinnacles Provincial Park

Located just west of Quesnel, Pinnacles Provincial Park is a great place to go for a short walk to a beautiful viewpoint. Park at the entrance of the park and follow the path towards the view points.

Kaila Walton
3 Saves

Hike the Helmcken Falls Rim Trail

Canada / Helmcken Falls Rim Trail

Wells Grey Provincial Park is home to an abundance of trail networks, towering mountains and rushing waterfalls. The immense Helmcken Falls is arguably the most popular and sought out of these falls.

Jordon Conway
1 Saves

Snowshoe Dog Mountain

Canada / Mt. Seymour Trailhead

A perfect way to get outside before or after work. Dog mountain is an easily accessible snowshoe trail that takes you up to the short peak from the Mt. Seymour parking lot.

Tara Stamnes
1 Saves