This is an easy to moderate difficulty hiking tour. It involves hiking for up to 5 hours per day where daily distances can range from 8km to up to 16km. Elevation gains of up to 600m for some hikes. Participants will be carrying a day pack containing spare clothing, camera, lunch and something to drink each day. Hikes will be chosen to best suit the group.
This program is designed for fit walkers. Any training you can do before you arrive will enhance your experience. No previous mountain hiking experience required.
Lake O’Hara is a place where dreams are made. Its unmatched beauty is enhanced by the strictly protected fragile landscape and the abundance of wildlife that travel through it. Since the late 1800’s visitors have been exploring the areas numerous lakes and majestic snow-capped peaks leading to the development of one of the most extensive and well-maintained trail systems in the mountain parks.
The variety of breathtaking trails available makes this 4-day trip suitable for all levels. We’ll explore the valley basin, azure lakes, alpine meadows and mountain routes with vistas that will not only immediately impress you but leave you with memories to cherish forever!
Day 1: Travel to Lake O'Hara and begin exploring the area
At 8.00am we meet at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office in Canmore. We'll go over the trip with you and check to see that you are properly outfitted before heading to the Lake O'Hara parking lot just west of Lake Louise for our 10:30am shuttle.
An 11km drive up the restricted fire road brings us to one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Framed by snowy mountain peaks, numerous hiking trails radiate from the cerulean waters of Lake O'Hara. We follow one of these trails 0.7km west of the Le Relais Day-Use Shelter to the Elizabeth Parker Hut.
After settling in we can head out for the remainder of the day to explore and get a feel for the area.
Day 2: Day hike
After a hearty breakfast we head out for the day to enjoy this special place. Hiking options range from classic yet easy rambles to challenging traverses and circuits high above the lake. A good outing is to combine the All Souls' and Yukness Ledges Alpine Routes. With a bit of route finding, you'll enjoy the splendid views of Lakes O'Hara and Oesa and the jade-coloured pools of Lakes Yukness, Victoria and Lefroy. The Opabin Valley, glacier-draped Mt's Lefroy and Victoria and Wiwaxy Peaks offer remarkable settings. This boulder strewn trail below rock walls and along wide ledges is sure to please everyone.
Day 3: Day hike
Today we will head off in a different direction on one of the least crowded trails: Cathedral Lake and Basin via Linda Lake. From the Cathedral Platform Prospect a complete overview of the Lake O’Hara region can be seen just as the CPR line surveyor J.J. McArthur observed in 1887. Along the way numerous subalpine lakes skirt the trail with Odaray Mountain towering high above.
Day 4: Our last day to enjoy this paradise!
With time for one last hike in this extraordinary area we head to Lake McArthur stopping at Schäffer Lake en route. The spectacular deep blue colour of this glacial lake with its rocky shoreline and the Biddle Glacier as its backdrop, is sure to take your breath away. Add to this alpine meadows speckled with multicoloured wildflowers and this hike is sure to be a photographers’ delight.
Back in Canmore by mid-afternoon, you can enjoy an evening in one of the local restaurants to reminisce about this rewarding and unforgettable trip.
Meeting Place and Time
We will meet you at our Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office at 8.00am the morning of Day 1.
Our office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
For your greater convenience we offer a pre-meeting shuttle service within Canmore. Please let us know in advance where you will be staying if needing this service. Pickup at your hotel will occur between 7:40am and 7.50am.
Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.
Accommodation and Meals
At Lake O'hara you will be staying in the Alpine Club of Canada's spacious Elizabeth Parker Hut. Sleeping areas are communal and facilities basic but very sufficient. The Elizabeth Parker Hut is actually two buildings: the main hut and the Wiwaxy Cabin. The main hut consists of a large kitchen area and a living room which houses sleeping quarters, tables and a wood burning stove. The Wiwaxy Cabin has sleeping quarters only - users share the kitchen and living area with the main hut users. Guests sleep on four-inch thick covered foam mattresses.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. For your convenience we can arrange hotel accommodations in Canmore for $160 per night. These will be at the recommended Canmore Radison. Double or single occupancy, the cost is the same. This accommodation can be booked with the trip online or by calling us. Subject to availability.
You can also make your own arrangements. Please contact us for recommendations based on your preferences.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
We supply all meals and trail snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4. Groups generally go out for dinner in Canmore on the final evening (own cost).
Trip cuisine is constructed from lightweight ingredients including our Yamnuska custom-made fresh and dehydrated dinners. Please specify any special dietary requirements you have on booking so we can incorporate them into our menus. A dietary surcharge will apply.
Guides and Group Size
Hiking guides at Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and have extensive experience in the Canadian Rockies. Guides also have advanced wilderness first aid training and heritage interpretation accreditation. Guides carry emergency equipment including a first aid kit, bear spray and radio.
There will be a maximum of eight guests and a minimum of four.
Getting to Canmore and Transportation
Canmore is situated 100km (65 miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Once in Canmore we will supply all transport needed for the trip.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. We can arrange your airport ground transportation at time of booking.
Clothing and Equipment
We supply group camping and cooking equipment plus a full emergency and first-aid kit. You will need to bring personal equipment (backpack, sleeping bag etc) and clothing. Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska does have rental and retail equipment such as sleeping bags, mats, and backpacks. Rental Gear List. Contact us in advance to reserve.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the National and provincial Parks, however costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian and International Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.