You've read about Lake O'Hara. You've heard other hikers rave about Lake O'Hara. You're decided Lake O'Hara will be one of the highlights on your Canadian Rockies trip this summer. Wise choice. But be prepared. There's a locked gate on the access road, a shuttle bus, and a restriction on the number of visitors.
That's actually good news. It ensures the region's popularity doesn't destroy it. Yoho National Park has been an exemplary steward of this backcountry treasure. As a result, visiting Lake O'Hara isn't easy but remains absolutely worthwhile. The following information will help you plan your Lake O'Hara trip.
Shuttle bus service to and from Lake O'Hara is available mid-June to early October. For current fares and schedules, or to reserve a seat (up to three months in advance), call the Yoho Park Visitor Centre: (250) 343-6433. Inbound buses depart the parking lot at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Outbound buses depart Lake O'Hara Lodge at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. That's mountain daylight savings time. Daytrippers should catch a morning bus, preferably the first one. Dogs are not allowed.
Don't have bus reservations? Every day, at the Visitor Centre in Field, six bus seats are allotted for the following day: first come, first served. So be there the day before you want to enter O'Hara. The Visitor Centre opens at 9 a.m. (mountain daylight savings time), but arrive by 8 a.m. to get in line. The purchase limit is two bus tickets per person.
As a last resort, try standby. Cancellations are filled the day of departure. By 7:30 a.m. on the morning you want to enter O'Hara, go to the bus-stop shelter near the parking lot. You might get lucky. The worse the weather, the better your chance.
Intrigued by Lake O'Hara? You'll find all the facts and encouragement you need in a guidebook that has no equal: Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide. Reading it will ensure you devote your precious hiking time to the most dramatic trails in the Canadian Rockies, several of which begin at Lake O'Hara.
Go to http://www.hikingcamping.com/hike-rockies.php to learn more about Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide.