During the second week in September, I was lucky enough to stay a night at the Lake O’Hara campground in Yoho National Park. It is one of the more popular area’s (maybe the most popular) in the Canadian Rockies, and for good reason. Each and every hike in the area is spectacular.
Due to the popularity of the area, access is restricted. As such, you have a few options to get there.
Book a campsite at the Lake O’Hara campground. You will need to do this exactly three months ahead of when you wish to arrive. You should call and reserve within a few minutes of the reservation line opening for the day. You’ll be shuttled into the campground via a park operated bus.
Book a shuttle ride in on the shuttle bus. As with camping, you will want to be very quick to reserve this.
You can walk in and take the bus out. The walk in is around 11km up a dirt road. There is a fee to ride the bus out. I believe the fee is $10.
Reserve a spot at the Lake O’Hara lodge. This is too expensive for me, so I don’t know much about it.
It’s an amazing area which you certainly will not regret visiting. The only downside I can see is that it’s a busy area which you can expect to share with a lot of people. A solitary wilderness experience, this is not.
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of the sights.
I’ve come up with a checklist of activities I want to do next year. I’ll have a strong emphasis on cycling this coming year since I’ve invested in a new bicycle this winter, the Surly Ogre.
Here’s what I’m thinking now, but this will likely change during the year.
A week-long bicycle tour somewhere in Quebec and/or New England with my father.
One or two bikepacking trips in Kananaskis, Alberta. These will probably be 1 to 2 night trips.
Lots of rural dirt road cycling through Alberta’s range and township roads around the Edmonton Area.
Some mounting biking in Utah around St. George in the spring.
At least one backpacking trip in the Canadian Rockies. These are a few on my list.
Skyline trail in Jasper
Nigel Pass in Jasper
Egypt Lake in Banff
Iceline in Yoho
Some day hikes. Mostly I’ll just pick and choose as I go, but I do want to do Wilcox Pass in Jasper
Several day Hikes in south-west Utah. I’ve never been in the desert or canyons so this will be a new experience for me.
Probably not a lot this year since I don’t own a Canoe and would like to concentrate on Cycling. I do have some more long-term trips that I would like to complete like the Bowron circuit in Bowron Provincial Park and a few nights out at Murtle Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park.
The trail is jammed pack full of beautiful scenery. Its has beautiful backcountry lakes, dozens of waterfalls, multiple glaciers, and beautiful views of Mount Robson. What more can a hiker ask for?
One thing to note is that this trail is very popular and attracts all skill levels from hardcore climbers headed to Mount Robson, to people just starting to hike. We saw folks with expensive climbing gear spending nights in bivy bags, all the way to folks who’ve hauled kitchen sized woks into the backcountry to cook dinner. Don’t come here expecting solitude, however most people were very respectful and followed the rules.
We spend 3 nights, 4 days hiking at a relaxed pace. The first night was spent at Kinney Lake Campground, the second at Berg Lake Campground, and the last night at Whitehorn. This worked well, but ideally we would have enjoyed one more night at Berg Lake to explore the area.
Overall I would highly recommend this trip to someone who has had a couple of overnight trips under their belt. An enclosed shelter at Berg Lake and some open shelters at Kinney Lake and Emperor Falls helps add a little comfort to someone new to backcountry camping.
If you plan to do this trip be sure to book your sites far in advance since the season is short and the demand is very high. Booking the backcountry sites can be done online here.
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Why on earth would I order both an Ogre and a Troll might you ask? Well the Troll is for my wife who is about 5′ 3″, so I figured a 26″ wheeled bike would be more suitable, the Ogre is for myself.
I’ll be getting these bikes later this winter and then setting them up for some bikepacking during next summer. I also plan to use the Ogre for some occasional winter biking. My wife will use the Troll as an urban bike as well, with one set of wheels for dirt and another for pavement.
Trips will mostly be overnight or a couple of days long in the Kananaskis, Banff, and Jasper areas. I’d also like to complete at least a small part of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
Keep tuned as an initial review will be appearing in the future.