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Go on an unforgettable hiking adventure at Lake O’Hara, where pristine alpine lakes mirror towering peaks, and where wildlife roams freely in their natural habitat. Limited access to the area ensures preservation of the environment as well as exclusivity of this immersive experience. The well-maintained trails are surrounded by a sea of wildflowers, passing majestic waterfalls that cascade into emerald waters. Whether you’re an avid photographer, an aspiring artist, or just a nature enthusiast seeking tranquility, Lake O’Hara will surely awaken your senses and leave you captivated by its untouched beauty. Lace up your boots and learn how the Rockies earned their spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • Abundance of trails

    The area around Lake O’Hara offers an extensive network of well-maintained hiking trails, from leisurely strolls to challenging alpine hikes

  • Nature's masterpiece

    Lake O’Hara is surrounded by a series of mesmerizing alpine lakes, each with its unique charm and crystal-clear waters

  • Artistic haven

    With a plethora of jaw-dropping landscapes, mirror-like reflections, and wildlife in their natural habitat, the serene atmosphere has drawn artists and writers for decades

Itinerary

Tackle one of the greatest lakeside treks in the Rockies! Meet your guide in the Lake O’Hara parking area, and follow well-developed and well-maintained trails encircling the titular teal lake, admiring the surrounding forests and looming mountains. Once at the lake, you will have the opportunity to explore some of the surrounding trails (up to 11 km/ 7 miles) to gain some spectacular views. You can expect to hike to Lake Oesa, then potentially on to Opabin lake, depending on your fitness and skill level.

  • The area around Lake O’Hara offers an extensive network of well-maintained hiking trails, from leisurely strolls to challenging alpine hikes. These are some of the most popular trail options around Lake O’Hara that you can visit with your guide.

  • This stunning landscape offers a shorter hike ideal for those seeking a leisurely walk or for families with kids who still want to experience unbelievably beautiful scenery. The hike is a straight forward 6.6 km/ 4 mi round trip hike with only 240 m/ 788 ft of elevation gain. The trail passes a handful of waterfalls and small lakes before ending at the serene Lake Oesa. You may encounter some ground squirrels and similar small wildlife at the lakeshore. If this turns out short for you, extend this hike either by looping around the Lake O’Hara lakeshore trail on the way down, or by combining Lake Oesa with Opabin Plateau.

    Distance: 6.6 km/ 4 mi
    Elevation gain: 240 m/ 788 ft

    Clear lake surrounded by mountains in the hidden gem of the Rockies, Lake OHara
  • This longer hike leads to a high hanging valley nestled between the imposing peaks of Yukness Mountain and Mount Schӓffer. One of the plateau’s trails will take you through larch forests past several picturesque small lakes until you reach Opabin Lake. Try to spot varied wildlife or enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains from Schӓffer Ridge. Loop back down to Lake O’Hara or take a short detour to Opabin Prospect offering epic views of Mary Lake and Lake O’Hara. 

    Distance:  5.9 km/ 3.6 mi
    Elevation gain: 250 m/ 820 ft

  • Tucked away in Yoho National Park, the Alpine Circuit is widely considered to be one of the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies. If you and your group have some hiking experience and an excellent level of fitness, this day-hike looping around Lake O’Hara will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. The full circuit is considered a challenging route and it usually takes 5 to 6 hours, crossing 11 km/ 7 mi. The trail travels along the shores of several pristine alpine lakes and along the rocky ledges of some impressive mountains — the Wiwaxy Gap and Huber Ledges, Lake Oesa, the Yukness Ledges, Opabin Plateau (with its famous view) and the Odaray Grandview Prospect.

    The alpine routes can be dangerous during snowy seasons and are best saved for days with good weather. 

    Distance:  11 km/ 7 mi
    Elevation gain: 887 m/ 2910 ft

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Meet your guide

Alpine Air Adventures
5.00
Alpine Air Adventures
You’re never on your own in the Banff wilderness because the experienced professionals from Alpine Air Adventures are here to guide you. While they know how to have a great time, they’re always mindful of advanced safety practices. They’re committed to showing each of their guests the best of the Rockies while protecting them every step of the way.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Adam Z. (source: Tripadvisor)

We hiked Lake O’Hara with Andrew. He did an amazing job taking us to places we wouldn’t have gone. This was the first time we went on a guided hike and we would definitely do it again. We learned things about the area and hiking. This was my parents’ first time in the Canadian Rockies, and the whole group had a great time! Definitely recommend this experience and Andrew as a guide!

Aaron D. (source: Tripadvisor)

My family did the ridge line hike with Jeff, and it was the coolest thing we’ve ever done on vacation. 5 isn’t high enough a rating. The views are ridiculous. The hike is a challenge, but manageable. I can’t recommend this enough.

Yuval Shafrir

Laura was great, trip was perfect

Nice walk not hard beautiful place

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • A full day of hiking at Lake O’Hara
      • Round trip Park Canada bus ticket for the Lake O’Hara tour

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to and from Lake O’Hara Parking lot
      • Accommodations
      • Food and drinks
      • Parking
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • The best thing about hiking at Lake O’Hara is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full-day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. 

    On the Lake O’Hara hiking tour, you can expect to hike to Lake Oesa, then potentially on to Opabin lake. 

    • Lake Oesa is a straight forward 6.6 km/ 4 mi round trip hike with only 240 m/ 788 ft of elevation gain. 
    • Opabin Plateau Circuit is a 5.9 km/ 3.6 mi circuit with 250 m/ 820 ft of elevation gain. 
    • The Alpine Circuit may be hiked if it is a strong group and the trails are snow free. This is a 11 km/ 7 mi loop with 887 m/ 2910 ft of elevation gain.

    Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Comfortable hiking boots or shoes
      • Spare clothes for layering
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Lunch, snacks, and drinks
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Headlamp or flashlight
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • Due to seating limits, the max client-to-guide ratio for this tour is 4:1.
      • Please refrain from booking any tickets until the exact date is confirmed. Parks Canada issue permits which are currently still pending. You can book the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know as soon as permits are issued and for when.

    Hiking at Lake O’Hara can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Parks Canada strictly limits the number of visitors to Lake O’Hara to prevent the area from overcrowding. This means you can enjoy the scenery without crowds. Dates for this year are not yet confirmed—the guides are still waiting for the permits to be issued. You can still pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know about the permits and availability as soon as Parks Canada issue them.

    The bus to the lake has limited capacity and reservations fill up quickly. Your guide will reserve your seats beforehand, meaning you don’t have to go through any extra hassle to reach the trailhead.

  • Lake O’Hara is in Yoho National Park which is close to the BC-Alberta Border as well as Lake Louise and Banff National Park. It’s about an hour’s drive outside of Golden too. 

    Most people fly into Calgary International Airport 3 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus or shuttle service. No matter which direction you’re coming from, be sure to check road closures on the highway.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be the Lake O’Hara Parking Area. The guide will then choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Canadian Rockies, please refer to the Government of Canada website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • Day Trips Cancellations
    Fully refundable within the initial 48 hours from booking, unless the trip date is less than 7 days from the time of the booking.
    Cancellations up to 7 days prior to the trip date are refundable 100%.
    Cancellations within 7 days prior to the trip date are non-refundable.

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