Plan a trip to Lake O'Hara
Yoho National Park
The Lake O’Hara area is a true gem in Yoho National Park. To protect this sensitive alpine area and provide a wilderness experience, access to Lake O’Hara is managed through Parks Canada shuttle bus reservations. Advanced reservations are required for the shuttle and campground.
Reservation launch date:
- Campground: March 28, 2023 at 8 am MT
- Day-use bus: April 12, 2023 at 8 am MT
- Online 24/7
- By calling: 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)
Prime hiking season in the Lake O’Hara area runs July through late-September. Until late June, many higher routes are still snow-bound and may be subject to avalanche hazard.
Advanced reservations are required. There are four ways to visit Lake O’Hara:
Visit for the day
From June 18 - October 3, 2023, the Lake O’Hara shuttle takes visitors 11 km up to Lake O’Hara. Advanced reservations are required.
Camp up to three nights
From June 18 to October 2, 2023, the Lake O’Hara backcountry campground is open to reservation holders only.
Stay at the Elizabeth Parker Hut
Rustic accommodation for overnight guests year-round. Book with the Alpine Club of Canada.
Stay at Lake O’Hara Lodge
Accommodation to guests on the shores of Lake O’Hara. Book with Lake O'Hara Lodge.
Visit for the day
Parks Canada Lake O’Hara Day Use shuttle
Operating from June 18, 2023 - October 3, 2023. Reservations are required. 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 shuttle reservations: As a result of the changes to the Parks Canada Reservation system, reservations for the Lake O’Hara Day Use shuttle will not be done through a random draw for the 2023 season. Instead, seats will be reserved in the same way other Parks Canada offers are done. Reservations will be available beginning at 8:00 AM Mountain Time, April 12, 2023. Visitors will need to create a new user profile in order to make reservations. Parks Canada strongly recommends creating these profiles before reservations open.
- In lieu of a random draw, Parks Canada will be employing a queuing system to help manage the expected high demand. Users may navigate to the reservation service webpage beginning at 7:30 AM. At 8:00 AM all users waiting will be randomly assigned a place in the queue. This is not influenced by how long users have been waiting. Any users arriving to the website after 8:00 am will be placed in the back of the line. When users reach their turn, they will be alerted via an on-screen message. At that point, they have 30 minutes to proceed to the reservation website and make a reservation.
- Parks Canada is planning to return to the random draw in 2024.
- Day-use bus schedule (MDT): 8:30; 10:30 (ingoing) and 9:30; 11:30; 14:30; 16:30; 18:30 (outgoing).
- 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: Visitors attempting to hike the 22 km round trip should be prepared with food, water, bear spray, and appropriate clothing and footwear. Camping is not permitted outside of the designated campground. Campground reservations are required in advance
Camping at Lake O'Hara
For those who wish to stay overnight, the popular Lake O'Hara Campground is open June 18, 2023 - October 2, 2023. The campground has only 30 sites and is reserved for overnight guests only.
- All campsites must be booked in advance. All overnight camping reservations at Lake O’Hara will be offered on March 28, 2023 at 8 am MDT online on the Parks Canada Reservation Service. or by telephone 1-877-737-3783.
- The reservation includes the bus fees and preference for morning or afternoon inbound bus. The inbound buses to Lake O'Hara depart the parking lot at 8:30, 10:30, 15:30 or 17:30 MDT.
- Maximum of 3 consecutive nights for camping. Maximum of 2 reservations per transaction. Maximum 4 people per tent pad. Children from 1-16 years old must be included within the reservation. Maximum 1 small 4-person tent per site.
- Tent pads (2.7 m x 2.7 m) are designed for smaller backpacking tents.
- Baggage is restricted to one large bag per person (max. weight: 25 kg / 55 lbs; max. length 97 cm / 38”) or two small bags per person.
- 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.
- Only visitors with a camping reservation will be permitted to overnight in the campground.
- Parks Canada cannot accept reservations for day trips through the campground reservation service. Those who reserve a site at the campground and who show up without a tent will be turned away.
- two cooking shelters
- 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)
Be sure to bring a backpacking stove for cooking. The wood stoves and fire pits are best used for heat.
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.
The Lake O’Hara Trails Club operates Le Relais day use shelter during the hiking season. Here, you may warm up, receive trail information, buy a hot drink or snack (cash only).
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.
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