Yoho National Park, British Columbia The silence is only broken by the sound of creaking snow from skis slowly working it’s way uphill. Surrounded by tall pine trees reaching towards the sky. The skiing up to Lake O’Hara was pure meditation.
Well … maybe except from the last 3 kilometres where most of the elevation gain of 450 meters was climbed, this part definitely got my pulse up!
I look tiny amongst the huge pine threes surrounding the trail
Lake O’Hara Lodge has been on our ‘bucket list’ for a while and we were excited to finally make this trip. During summer you can catch a shuttle up to Lake O’Hara and go hiking from there. During winter the road is closed, but track set for cross country skiing.
A perfect day for skiing, no wonder I am smiling. Also this picture is from 5 km into the trail and I was oblivious to the steep hills ahead of us.
The lodge has history back to 1926 and was as many of the lodges in Rocky Mountain built Canadian Pacific Railway. It is possible to stay overnight at the lodge both summer and winter, but you have to book early as the lodge has limited space and is always fully booked long before the season.
Beautiful mountain scenery
After the steep ascend the last 3 kilometres we were happy to see the Lake O’Hara sign welcoming us. The lodge has a day shelter for those who wish to enjoy their own lunch, the shelter can be used both summer and winter We were heading for a delightful lunch at the rustic main lodge.
Day shelter at the lake
Remember to bring cash if you plan on having lunch at the lodge. We were very grateful for the warm welcome and the great service at the lodge. They served us a full lunch menu despite the fact that we were unaware of the ‘cash only’ policy and therefore didn’t have enough money to cover the bill…
Lake O’Hara Lodge
After a delicious lunch we explored the lake and the majestic mountains surrounding it. We would love to come back to Lake O’Hara to do some hiking here during summer. The landscape around the lodge is jaw dropping! I’ll let the picture speak for themselves.
The trip back to the car was much faster then going up as it was mostly downhill. It was going back again I realised how steep some of the hills were as we gained pretty good speed going down!
Driving back to Lake Louise the sun was a bit lower and threw a beautiful light on Rocky Mountains. With the moon just starting to show it was the perfect ending of a long, but good day of skiing.
Easy going on our way back to the parking lot
My somewhat subjective trip rating:
Trail: You begin your trip at the parking lot to the left of highway 1 just before Great Divide Lodge (going west). Cross the train tracks to get to the parking lot. The trail starts out fairly flat, around half way the scenery opens up before for a while you get to a section with some enormous pine threes! With about 3 km remaining you hit some steep slopes and most of the elevation gain is during this last section of the trail before you reach Lake O’Hara.
Worth it? Yes!
Difficulty: Medium+, some steep ascents. Easy return as it is mostly downhill.
Length: 22 km roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 450 m
Duration: 5-6 hours including lunch break at the lodge
Thanks for reading, be sweet and leave a comment as well! We’d love to hear what you think.