Lake O'Hara

Summer and fall hiking, backpacking, photography and nature enjoyment at spectacular scenic backcountry area in Canada's Yoho National Park. Take the park bus to base camp for day hikes ranging 6-10 miles and 800-1,200 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy wildflowers and wildlife in golden larch landscapes at Lake O'Hara, Lake Oesa, Opabin Plateau, Schaefer Lake, Odaray Grandview and more.

getting there

Visitors reach Lake O'Hara via shuttle bus—make a reservation with Yoho National Park. Parking for bus is reached via Trans-Canada Highway 1 to its junction with Lake O'Hara access road, 2 miles west of the Alberta-BC border and 1 mile east of Wapta Lake. Follow paved road across tracks and take right onto short gravel road to parking.

  • The Lake O'Hara area is on Mountain Time, not Pacific Time. If you are traveling from Seattle, set your watch one hour ahead or you might miss your bus.

on the trail

Enjoy most spectacular scenic backcountry area in the Canadian Rockies during summer and early fall.  Views range from close up to panoramic views of mountains, glaciers, dramatic rock forms, lakes and tarns, waterfalls, meadows, cascading streams, golden alpine larch, birds and other wildlife (pikas to larger species).  Expect abundance of botanical attractions: mushrooms, lichens, mosses, fall color transformations of foliage and larches. You may even see a wolverine in one of the Canadian Rockies' best areas for sightings. Be prepared for a light snowfall to enhance the stunning scenery. Day hikes include Lake Oesa, Opabin Plateau, Schaefer Lake, and more from a base camp to which the park bus transports you. Expect countless photo opportunities, natural history, and a memorable trip to a very special place in the Canadian Rockies!

scrambling & climbing

Scrambling and climbing are also summertime activity options. The nearest well-known scramble goes from Lake O'Hara to the Abbot Pass Hut.

Elizabeth Parker Hut

The Alpine Club of Canada's Elizabeth Parker Hut is open year-round for overnight stays at Lake O'Hara for up to 24 people. The hut is family-friendly and there are easy hiking trails nearby suitable for kids. In winter, cross-country ski or snowshoe to the hut where winter activities abound.


  • Guidebook:  Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 9th ed. by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson (Summerthought Publishing 2011)

INFORMATION for leaders

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Cross-country Skiing, Day Hiking, Scrambling, Snowshoeing
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: U-XC 4 Advanced Ungroomed
  • Length: 35.0 mi
  • 8,282 ft
  • Land Manager: Yoho National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Lake O'Hara Adventure Map
  • Lake O'Hara Gem Trek Map
Trip Reports

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  • Elizabeth Parker Hut

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