Plan Your Trip
The most difficult part of a trip to Lake O’Hara (aside from leaving!) is getting here. 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.
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Reservations for camping and the Lake O’Hara access bus are required and must be booked by telephone three months to the day in advance of your visit. The reservation line opens at 8:00 a.m. MDT daily. Bookings are usually full by 9:00 a.m. Please visit our availability calendar after April 1 for daily updates by 10:00 a.m. MDT.
Both day trips and overnight adventures to Lake O'Hara begin by bus. The Lake O'Hara bus runs mid-June through the end of September or early October. Reservations are required for your in-bound journey only.
Note: Anyone may hike the 11 km access road; cycling is prohibited. You may return on the Lake O’Hara bus for a one-way cash fee, if there is space on the bus. Pets are prohibited on the bus and at the campground but permitted on the road when leashed.
The popular Lake O'Hara Campground is open mid-June through the end of September for those who wish to camp. The campground is reserved for overnight guests – please, book only if you intend to camp.
- Maximum of 2 sites per party and 1 tent per site; 3 night limit.
- Tent pads (2.7m X 2.7m) are designed for one small backpacking tent.
- Campers choose a site upon arrival. It is not always possible for parties to camp at adjacent sites.
- Baggage is restricted to two small bags per person (max. weight: 25 kg / 55 lbs; max. length 97 cm / 38”).
- Bear-aware procedures for cooking and storing food and garbage must be observed.
- One medium-sized locker is assigned per campsite – bring a padlock if you wish.
- Hard sided food coolers, storage bins, plastic bags, and loose items are not permitted on the bus. Please leave musical instruments, electronics, chairs and hammocks behind.
Note: Be sure to bring a backpacking stove for cooking. The wood stoves and fire pits are best used for heat.
- two kitchen shelters with wood stoves
- one fire pit
- food and garbage storage
- grey water disposal
- firewood and a splitting maul
- treated well water (not always available early and late season)
- example packing list
Alternatives to Camping:
Perhaps the best carrot cake and coffee anywhere in the backcountry! The Lake O'Hara Trails Club operates Le Relais Day Shelter during the hiking season. Don’t forget your wallet – Le Relais operates with cash only. All proceeds go to support the operation of this special facility.
The Lake O'Hara area is a very special place. With its spectacular scenery, unique plants and wide variety of wildlife, the area is not only beautiful, but fragile and sensitive to human use. To help protect Lake O'Hara and keep it in a natural state, please:
- Minimize your impact. Research has identified important grizzly bear habitat and a regional wildlife corridor in the area.
- Do not feed or approach wildlife, and carry bear spray. Read the Bears and People brochure.
- Pack out all garbage including food waste, diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins and toilet paper.
- Stay on the trails to minimize trail braiding, trampling and erosion.
- Please leave natural and historical objects in their natural setting for others to discover and enjoy.
- Respect all warnings, closures and seasonal restrictions
- As always, your safety is your responsibility.
Thank you for your consideration.
We look forward to welcoming you to Lake O'Hara!
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