Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit

Distance: 4.5 - 7.5 miles (loop)

Yoho National Park, near Yoho in Canadian Rockies

Lake Mary, Lake Ohara, Winwaxy Peak and Mount Huber

Lake Mary, Lake Ohara, Winwaxy Peak and Mount Huber

 

Arguably the best day hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies, this circuit climbs high above the Lake O’Hara Valley and features nonstop views of soaring peaks, stunning cirques, gorgeous hanging valleys, shimmering lakes and pristine alpine meadows.
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  • Distance: 2.3 miles (one way) to Winway and Huber Ledges
    0.8 miles (one way) to Yukness Ledges
    7.5 miles (loop) to All Souls Prospect
  • Elevation: 6,610-ft. at Trailhead
    8,307-ft. at Winway and Huber Ledges
    7,710-ft. at Yukness Ledges
    8,050-ft. at All Souls Prospect
  • Elevation Gain: 1,697-ft. to Winway and Huber Ledges
    290-ft. to Yukness Ledges
    705-ft. to All Souls Prospect
  • Difficulty: strenuous-difficult
  • More Hikes in:
    Yoho / Field / Canadian Rockies

Why Hike Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit

The Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit is the finest hike in Yoho National Park. Almost every step of the hike is accompanied by eye-popping scenery. Superlatives simply don’t do it justice.

The spectacular hike combines four alpine routes; Wiwaxy Gap, Huber Ledges, Yukness Ledges and All Soul's Prospect, to create an incredible, albeit strenuous, loop with jaw-dropping views of the Lake O’Hara area. Highlights include glittering lakes set amid lovely hanging valley, soaring peaks, stunning cirques and two overlooks with panoramic, bird’s eye views of the region.

Be forewarned that the mileage makes the hike sound easier than it is. Be prepared for very steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails. Sections of the trail climb over rock ledges, scree covered slopes and boulder fields. This is truly a fatiguing loop that should only be attempted by acclimated and well-conditioned parties. The good news is that O’Hara’s well designed network of trails offers numerous way to enter and exit the loop, allowing the circuit to be done in more manageable stages.

The trail should be avoided by acrophobes and anyone uncomfortable on exposed trails with steep drop-offs. Don’t attempt the route during bad weather. Check on current conditions at the Lake O’Hara Day Use facility before setting out on any of the alpine routes.

Note: Lake O’Hara is popular and deservedly so. Access is limited by a quota system intended to preserve this sensitive alpine area and provide a quality wilderness experience to visitor. Advanced reservations are required. See the end of the hike description for more information on the reservation system.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile for the Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Yoho / Field

Region Information:
Canadian Rockies

Other Hiking Regions in:
Alberta / British Columbia