Yoho NP – Lake O’Hara (08/15)

With a daily visitation quota, few have the opportunity to see Lake O’Hara and her surrounding peaks. Fewer still have the legs, interest or ability to see the lake from this perspective. Today’s objective was what is known as the Alpine Circuit. It is more route than trail. I’d say 25% was on easy, well-groomed trail. The route includes a fair amount of cliff edge, boulder and scree field hiking, not a good place for people with height issues.

The route is well marked with this insignia.

Good example of route marking. Follow from one mark to the next. Sometimes closely spaced like here, other times requiring a keen eye or a bit of travel.

From the Wiwaxy Gap Trail, looking down at Lake O’Hara and across at Schaffer Ridge. The latter section of the Alpine Circuit includes hiking the front section known as All Souls’ Prospect. If you look closely you may be able to see the trail.

The sun distorted the photo a bit, but it shows perspective with Yukness Mountain along the back, Opabin Prospect in the middle, and Schaffer Ridge on the right. Lake O’Hara is on the lower right while Opabin Lake is on the top left.

A good example of the well-groomed trail, but hugging the cliff edge.

Wiwaxy Peaks

This is looking to the north with Wiwaxy on the right. If you look closely, you’ll see the switchback trail that starts the route.

There are a few non-glacier places to replenish your water along the way.

First time I’ve had a marmot stand up and pose for me. In this area they are the Hoary Marmot species.

A good example of some of the boulder sections.

So much beauty and variety.

I was pretty excited to finally capture a clear photo of a pika. I’ve been trying for about 5 years.

Jan’s Tips:

  • Use this Parks Canada link for more information on Lake O’Hara including cabin rentals, camping, bus schedule and reservations, etc.
  • Regarding the bus, keep checking the site. Frequently there are cancellations. I was able to reserve a spot a few days in advance. There are also a few walk-up spots available each day but you’ll need to arrive early to get your name on the waiting list. I had a 10:30am reservation and arrived at 7:45 hoping to get on the 8:30am bus. I was #10 on the waiting list, and thankfully was able to get on because I was already part of the 60 per day quota.
  • Bring a plastic container to get a to go or mid hike piece of the infamous Lake O’Hara carrot cake.
  • The Alpine Circuit is about 8 miles and 3,600′ of elevation gain and loss.
  • Other nearby camping sites.
  • The ACA Abbot Pass Hut is accessible from Lake O’Hara
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.



4 thoughts on “Yoho NP – Lake O’Hara (08/15)

  1. Wow, an amazing post. best photos anywhere and the pika shot is just precious. Great tip on the carrot cake too. Interesting quota system but wonder, is it really necessary?

    • Based on Lake Louise traffic, a quota is absolutely necessary. Before the quota lots of damage to this small area plus nearly impossible to enjoy any nature, solitude or silence.

  2. Pingback: 2015 -Where did Jan Jaunt? | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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