Lake O'Hara


Day Hike - Lake O'Hara

Leader permission requests accepted beginning 3/29. Enjoy leisurely partial to full day hikes and ID of peak bloom summer wildflowers at one of Canadian Rockies' premier wildflower areas, as well as birds and other wildlife, abundant mosses and lichens, and superlative scenery throughout - lakes, cascading streams, glaciers, mountains and more. Bring your camera to capture many superb photo opportunities.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 25.0 mi
  • Pace: 1-1.5

Details to follow:  LeRelais day use cabin or other location TBD

Members only.  Leader permission requests accepted beginning 3/29, including copy of reservation confirmation (for dates during 7/22-25) for Lake O'Hara overnight camp or Lake O'Hara Day Use Bus.

Naturalist-photo oriented day hikes 7/23-25, at leisurely pace.

Contact leader if interested in assist/co-leading, after securing camp/day bus reservation.

Lake O'Hara day hikes may include some or all of the following:  Lake Oesa, Opabin Plateau, Schaefer Lake and trails toward MacArthur Lk, Odaray Grandview, Lake O'Hara lake circuit incl. Seven Sisters/Veils Falls, Linda/Morning Glory Lakes  to Last Larch, Alpine Circuit (2 or more sections), and more.  Recommended daily itinerary will follow, subject to trail changes based on conditions.  Multiple hike locations may be offered each day  if assist/co-leader available.

Leader permission will be contingent on participant securing own reservation & providing copy of reservation confirmation for either: 

1)  Lake O'Hara campground (2-3 nights preferably 3, during 7/22-25) via online reservation 3/28 7AM PT, -OR-

2) Lake O'Hara Day-Use Bus (2-3 days preferably 3 during 7/23-25) via online reservation 4/12 7AM PT. 

ONLINE RESERVATION SITE:   See reservation launch dates by province &  national parks camp type (front/backcountry) or Lake O'Hara day use bus at

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Enter online reservation site 45-60+ minutes prior to opening time, to get in website for the early randomizer queue  - no guarantee of space with randomizer queue process, but early access more than 30 minutes prior will improve your chances. Beginning at or just before 30 online res open time, your queue position will be assigned/displayed with approx wait time.  Later arrivals, after randomized queue, will be added to end of queue (with remote chance of space).  Watch for real time update of your time/position (likely faster than expected / ie, my 3/13 access 45 min early showed estimated 1 hr wait time which actually resulted in 35 minute wait time to search/reserve available sites at BC’s Glacier NP (few to none may be available at some locations).

As of March 3 or soon after, create your new Parka Canada online camp reservation account including GC account access (after 3/12, recommend afternoon/evening set ups during busy morning online reservation queue activity days).  Before the location’s reservation opening date, navigate through the locations reservation site selection options (park, frt/backctry activity or site, map/listing of sites available, arrival/departure date) to familiarize yourself before real time when you need to make selections quickly. 
Also in addition to online res queue, to improve your chances to secure space, at 7AM phone 1-877-737-3783 Parks Canada Reservations (shorter wait time possible).

Be sure to reserve front-country camps (preceding day and following Lake O'Hara hiking days if possible) ASAP 45-60 minutes before online reservation opening times on dates for Yoho NP (3/29 - 7AM PT for Kicking Horse CG), for Kootenay NP (3/29 - 7AM PT for Marble Canyon CG), or for Banff NP (3/23 - 7AM PT at Lake Louise soft-sided tents/trailers CG.  Also phone 1-877-737-3783 Parks Canada Reservations at 7AM on reservation days to for potential shorter wait time for available space.  
Alternative accoms (shared/single rooms) may be available at HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre and HI Castle Junction Hostel pre/post Lake O’Hara camp nights or day bus nights.  Lake Louise is about 20-30 minute drive west and Castle Junction is about 60 minutes drive west to Lake O’Hara bus parking. 

Leader will be staying at ACC Elizabeth Parker hut, nights of  7/23-24 for hiking days 7/23-25.  No other hut spaces available. 

Parks Canada annual pass required (adult and senior rates)

Be familiar with safe travel in bear country & carry bear repellent, as grizzly and black bears are present  in Lake O'Hara and much of Canadian Rockies.

 Trail descriptions / Lake O’Hara info:


Recommend you extend your stay in Canadian Rockies for more wildflower/naturalist/scenic hikes following Lake O'Hara at Glacier NP (BC),  Banff NP, Yoho NP, or Jasper NP.  Add front country camps on online reservation opening days as needed.

Recommended guidebooks:  Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, incl all NPs & adjacent provincial parks/lands (Patton & Robinson), Handbook of the Canadian Rockies (Ben Gadd), Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies (Scotter & Flygare), Birds of the Canadian Rockies (Scotter, Ulrich, Jones), Mammals of the Canadian Rockies (Scotter & Ulrich).


Lake O'Hara

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
  • Bear spray (required)
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
Trip Reports