Lake O'Hara 2013
Printable Version (PDF, 520 KB)
The Lake O'Hara Trails Club operates Le Relais Day Shelter during the hiking season. Here you may warm up, receive trail information, buy a hot drink or snack (cash only). © Parks Canada/YNP
Reservations | O'Hara Bus Schedule | Lake O'Hara Fees | Cancellation and Refund Policy | Stewardship | Important Reminders | Checklist | Camper Information | Pets and Bicycles | Related Lake O'Hara Area Information | Commercial Reservations | Lake O'Hara Backcountry Map | McArthur Valley | Odaray Highline Trail | Connecting Wildlife and People with the Land | Yoho National Park Backcountry Guide | Weather Forecast
Trail Report and Availability
To protect this sensitive alpine area and maintain a wilderness experience, a quota system is in place to limit the number of visitors using the public bus service into Lake O'Hara. The daily quota allows 42 day users, along with overnight visitors staying at the park's 30-site campground, two Alpine Club of Canada huts, and a small, private lodge.
The Lake O’Hara parking lot is located 12 km west of Lake Louise and 13 km east of Field, a short distance off the Trans-Canada Highway.
Reservations are required to take the bus to Lake O'Hara for day use and camping. A reservation fee applies. The bus operates from June 14 to September 30 (start and end dates vary year to year). You may reserve up to three calendar months in advance of your visit, by telephone only and are usually booked within the first hour that the reservation line is open.
There are no restrictions on the number of people who wish to hike the 11 km access road. Reservations are not required for buses returning from Lake O'Hara, but a one-way cash fee is collected.
Camping reservations are strictly for campers – please don’t book if you don’t intend to camp!
Lake O'Hara Reservation Line: 250-343-6433
Hours of Operation (Mountain Time)
April 2 - May 24: Mon. - Fri., 8 am - 12 pm / 1 pm - 4 pm
May 27 - Sept. 30: Daily, 8 am - 12 pm / 1 pm - 4 pm
When you call, please have the following information ready:
- Dates requested: maximum of 3 nights for camping
- Number of people: maximum of 6 people per party for day use
- Number of campsites: maximum of 2 sites per party and 1 tent per site
- Preferred ingoing bus time: reservations are not required for an outgoing bus
- Mastercard, Visa, or American Express number: all fees are collected at the time of booking
O'Hara Bus Schedule (Mountain Time)
Please arrive at the bus staging area at least 20 minutes prior to departure.
mid-June - September
McArthur Lake © Ken Schroeder / 2010
3:30 p.m. *
5:30 p.m. *
2 :30 p.m.
4 :30 p.m.
Lake O'Hara Fees
Note: Fees may change in 2013
Elizabeth Parker Hut © Ken Schroeder / 2010
Youth (6-16): $7.30
Child (5 & under): no charge
Youth (6-16): $4.75
Child (5 & under): no charge
Adult: $9.80 / night
Youth (6-16): no charge
Child (5 & under): no charge
Reservation: $11.70 non-refundable
If you hold an annual Wilderness Pass, your O'Hara backcountry campground fee is covered.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Cancellations are received by an answering machine at 250-343-6433. Please leave your name, reservation number, credit card number and expiry date.
- An $11.70 cancellation fee is in effect for both bus and camping reservations. Cancellations made after 4:00 p.m. on the day prior to arrival or on the day of arrival forfeit refunds.
- The first night's camping fee is forfeited after 4 p.m., with less than four days notice prior to the first reserved date. For example, to cancel a reservation with the arrival date of Friday, the Lake O’Hara office must be contacted by 4:00 p.m. the previous Sunday.
Hoary Marmot © Parks Canada / W. Karhoffer
Please stay on trails to minimize your impact. Research has identified important grizzly bear habitat and a regional wildlife corridor in the area.
- To ensure wildlife can move freely through McArthur Pass, please voluntarily limit your use of the Odaray Highline trail, which cuts across the wildlife corridor at this narrow pass.
- McArthur Valley is closed to hikers until August 15. After August 15, when seasonal plant foods favoured by grizzly bears have peaked, McArthur Valley is opened to a small number of hiking parties. A hiking permit is required to hike this unmaintained wilderness route. It can be obtained by phoning the Field Visitor Centre: 250-343-6783.
- Please don't feed wildlife.
- Don't move any natural objects in the park.
- Read the brochure Bears and People: a guide to safety and conservation on the trail. It is available on the park web site, the bus and at Le Relais.
- Campers who cancel their first night will forfeit their entire reservation.
- Campers with reservations for the 10:30 a.m. bus who are no-shows without notifying our office by noon will forfeit their entire bus and camping reservation.
- Campers are not permitted to change to day user status.
The Lake O'Hara Valley is a high-elevation backcountry area with trails that are often snow-bound, muddy or inaccessible. Come prepared for all weather conditions and to be self-sufficient. Here's a checklist to help you get ready:
- extra clothing, sunscreen, hat, gloves, rain gear
- sturdy shoes or hiking boots
- valid National Park Pass (for purchase at any Park Visitor Information Centre or from the O'Hara bus attendant)
- bring your bus and/or camping confirmations
- bus and/or camping confirmations
- arrive at the bus staging area at least 20 minutes prior to departure
- cash to buy snacks at Le Relais day shelter!
- please note that no valuables should be left in your parked vehicle
To help us maintain the backcountry atmosphere of the Lake O'Hara Campground, this information is important.
Baggage is restricted to two small bags per person (max. weight: 25 kg / 55 lbs; max length 97 cm / 38”).
- Hard sided food coolers and storage bins and items stored in plastic bags or loose items will not be accepted on the bus. Please leave musical instruments, electronics, chairs and hammocks behind.
- Communal facilities include two kitchen shelters with wood stoves; a fire pit; separate food and garbage storage; grey water disposal; pit privies; firewood and a splitting maul; and treated well water (not always available early and late season).
- Primus stove required for cooking.
- Bear-aware procedures for cooking and storing food and garbage must be observed.
- One medium-sized locker is assigned per campsite - you may bring a padlock.
- Tent pads (2.7m X 2.7m) are designed for small backpacking tents. One tent per campsite.
- Campers choose their site once they arrive. It's not always possible for parties to camp at adjacent sites.
Pets and Bicycles
You may walk your pet on leash into the valley, but pets are not allowed on the bus or at the campground.
Cycling is not permitted on the Lake O'Hara road.
Related Lake O'Hara Information
All companies licenced to guide visitors in Yoho National Park are now able to conduct commercial trips in the Lake O’Hara area. To ensure fair access to bus seat reservations for both the public and commercial interests, a maximum of eleven commercial bus seats per day have been allocated. Six of these may be reserved up to three calendar months in advance of your visit on a first-come, first-served basis. The remaining five seats within the commercial limit are to accommodate the needs of local alpine guides who have traditionally used the area as a poor weather mountaineering alternative. These five seats may only be reserved 24 hours in advance, on a first-come, first-served basis.
What You Need to Know
- Licenced companies will be limited to no more than ten reservation bookings per calendar month.
- Modifications cannot be made less than seven days prior to the original booking date. Maximum commercial group size is six.
- Licenced companies may only reserve space on the public bus within the commercial quota. The quota is for licenced guides and their paying clients only. Commercial reservations may only be made under respective company names.
- After 10 a.m., any remaining seats within the three-month commercial reservation window will be released for public sale.
- Companies that have obtained commercial sector reservations shall not sell or trade the space to any other commercial or private interests.
- You will be required to show your guiding license to the Lake O’Hara attendant at the bus.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Cancellations are received by an answering machine at 250-343-6433. Please leave your company name, reservation number, credit card number and expiry date.
- Cancellations made less than seven days prior to the reservation date will forfeit funds.
- An $11.70 cancellation fee applies for commercial companies who cancel prior to the forfeiture date.
Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.
If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.