Plan your trip
Lake O’Hara is a true gem - a unique collection of exquisite lakes and hanging valleys linked by a well-maintained network of connector trails and high alpine routes. Visitors can choose a single breathtaking destination or link two or more together for an unforgettable day.
The Lake O’Hara area is in Yoho National Park and borders Banff National Park. To protect this sensitive alpine area and provide a wilderness experience, bus access to Lake O’Hara is managed though reservations on a Parks Canada shuttle bus (when operating).
Advanced reservations are required. There are four ways to visit Lake O’Hara:
- Visit for the day. Parks Canada is not currently operating the Lake O’Hara shuttle . In 2020 Lake O’Hara is only accessible by hiking the 11 km road. Information for 2021 shuttle reservations will be provided as it becomes available. Any visitors with reservations for the 2020 Lake O’Hara shuttles will be refunded the full amount, the reservation fee, and Lake O’Hara random draw application fee – for both successful and unsuccessful applicants
- Camp for up to three nights. No new reservations will be available for the 2020 season. Reservations for the 2021 season are required in advance. for campsites and will be available on the Parks Canada reservation system beginning in early 2021
- Stay at the Elizabeth Parker Hut, book with the Alpine Club of Canada.
- Stay at beautiful Lake O’Hara Lodge, book with Lake O'Hara Lodge. Please note the Lake O’Hara Lodge remains closed at this time
Both day trips and overnight adventures to Lake O'Hara begin by bus. Parks Canada’s Lake O'Hara bus runs mid-June through early October. Reservations are required for your in-bound journey only and will be allocated through a random draw reservation system. The bus departs from the Lake O’Hara parking lot, 12 km west of Lake Louise, Alberta or 13 km east of Field, B.C.
- Day use reservations Lake O’Hara is hike-in access only. Parks Canada is not operating the Lake O’Hara shuttle for the 2020 season..
- Camping reservations Camping Reservations are required for the Lake O’Hara area. No new camping reservations will be available for the 2020 season.
- Only visitors with a camping reservation will be permitted to overnight in the campground.
- Visitors with a reservation for the Lake O’Hara campground must access the campground and trails via the 11km (one way) access road on foot.
- Any visitors wishing to cancel their Lake O’Hara campground reservation will be refunded in full with no cancellation fees.
- Commercial reservations can be booked three months to the day in advance or within 24 hours through the commercial reservations phone line, 250-343-6433.
- Pets are prohibited on the bus and at the campground but permitted on the road when leashed.
- Cycling is prohibited on the road.
- Hiking the 11 km access road is the only way to access Lake O’Hara at this time. Visitors attempting to hike the 22 km round trip should be prepared with food, water, bear spray, and appropriate clothing and footwear, as there are no amenities at Lake O’Hara this season. Lake O’Hara Lodge and Le Relais shelter remain closed. Camping is not permitted outside of the designated campground. Campground reservations are required in advance
For those who wish to stay overnight, the popular Lake O'Hara Campground is open mid-June through the end of September. The campground has only 30 sites and is reserved for overnight guests only.
- All campsites must be booked in advance. No new reservations are available for the 2020 season. Existing reservation holders are permitted. Information for 2021 campground reservations will be provided as it becomes available.
- Maximum of 2 sites per party and 1 tent per site; 3 night limit.
- Tent pads (2.7 m x 2.7 m) are designed for smaller backpacking tents, to a maximum size of one 4-person tent per campsite.
- 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 storage locker (60 cm/24 in deep, 50 cm/20 in high, 60 cm/24 in wide) is assigned per campsite – you may bring a padlock.
- 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.
Campground facilities: Be sure to bring a backpacking stove for cooking. The wood stoves and fire pits are best used for heat.. Cooking shelters remain closed at this time.
- 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
Elizabeth Parker Hut
The Elizabeth Parker Hut offers rustic accommodation for overnight guests year-round. Reservations are required. Due to high demand, summer bookings for the Elizabeth Parker Hut are made by lottery the previous fall. More information about the lottery is available from the Alpine Club of Canada.
Lake O'Hara Lodge
Lake O'Hara Lodge offers magical meals and accommodation to guests on the shores of Lake O’Hara. The lodge is open mid-June until early October for summer and autumn escapes, and late January through early-April for winter adventures. Lake O’Hara Lodge and Le Relais shelter remain closed at this time.
The Le Relais shelter remains closed at this time
With its spectacular scenery, unique plants and wide variety of wildlife, Lake O'Hara is not only beautiful, but fragile and sensitive to our presence. To help protect Lake O'Hara, please follow these simple steps:
- Respect wildlife - Do not feed or approach wildlife, and please carry bear spray. Read the Bears and People brochure for more information about bear safety.
- Leave no trace - Be sure to pack out all garbage including food waste, diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins and toilet paper.
- Stay on the trails - This helps minimize trail braiding, trampling and erosion.
- Let it be - Please leave natural and historical objects in their natural setting for others to discover and enjoy.
- Respect these warnings, closures and seasonal restrictions. Research has identified important grizzly bear habitat and a regional wildlife corridor in the area
- Be safe - As always, your safety is your responsibility.
The Lake O’Hara Trails Club, Lake O’Hara Lodge, the Alpine Club of Canada and Parks Canada look forward to welcoming you to this very special place.