Added by James Hueser
There is no better view of Lake O'Hara and McArthur than from Little Odaray.
First things first: prior to August 15, there are only 4 groups of people allowed in this area per day, and after August 15, only 2 groups are allowed in. Start early!
Starting at Lake O'Hara, head towards the Elizabeth Parker ACC Hut. Continue past the hut and meander through meadows and forests. If the signs don't mention the Odaray circuit, keep following signs towards McArthur Lake. The turn to Odaray is signaled by a large sign with a binder to sign into. Please, don't go into the area if there have already been 4 or 2 groups for the day.
The trail is still very defined and starts contouring around the mountain. Don't forget to look up. I couldn't believe how amazing the view towards O'Hara was, and it only gets better. The trail turns into an "alpine" route which is just a bit steeper and crosses some rock gardens, no big deal. People usually finish this trail at Grandview - named that for obvious reasons, but keep pushing on! It looks steep, and it kind of is... but totally worth it.
The trail follows a bit of a ridge to gain the ridge proper, and there's some scrambling that's involved in this stretch. It feels a bit exposed, and some of the holds aren't that great but there's always a nice flat outcrop to get a good foot hold on. Keep picking your way up through these outcrops, and try to stick on the trail. As I like to say, a lot of people have taken the trail for a reason.
Once on the ridge proper, make a very good mental note - or even a cairn - of where you came out of. I had met a group on the mountain that missed their mark and started coming off the ridge at the completely wrong spot. I was able to hear their screams and rocks sliding for a good half an hour before they were back on the trail.
But, once on the ridge proper, it's a straight shot to the top of Little Ode. Unfortunately, unless you're equipped with your trad gear, the true summit of Odaray likely isn't in your plans for today and that's ok. Have I told you to look around yet?
The view from the top of Little Ode is stupid. It's unfathomable. One of the best viewpoints in the Lake O'Hara area, if not the best. You'll be able to see Lake O'Hara, Schaeffer Lake, McArthur Lake, Linda Lake, the Morning Glory ponds, and everything in between. Just another piece of evidence for my theory that the higher you get, the better the view.
- Hiking boots
- Hiking poles
- Appropriate layers
- Climbing helmet - not necessary, but better to not leave your safety in the hands of the people in front of you
- Water and snacks
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
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Added by James Hueser
On weekdays I'm a hydrogeologist for a contaminated sites group which involves a ton of fieldwork throughout the spring, summer, and fall, but leaves most of my weekends to get out to (and hopefully on top of) the Rockies. I'm originally from Saskatchewan, so I've become rather obsessed with bagging peaks ever since I moved to Calgary in 2014.Follow
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