O'Hara O'my!

I have lived in Calgary for 7 years and every year I call the Lake O'Hara phoneline to see if I can book the bus. On Sunday we needed some outdoor therapy so we thought let's just hike the fire road in and see what all the fuss is about.  They have done an incredible job in Canmore and outside Banff rebuilding the Trans-Canada Highway after the floods.  We weren't even delayed.

Hike - Lake O'Hara & Oesa 18.75k 784 m elev gain

The 10:30 bus was boarding as we approached the start so of course we checked in case of cancellations, but no.  The first part of the trek is an 11k fire road with 430m gain.  It was a lot prettier than we had thought and we had the entire thing to ourselves.  The road follows a stream all the way up and there are open mountain views at various points.  

Each km is marked on the trees so you can easily see your progress. The elevation gain is mostly over the first 2k and last 4k.  A 4 metre section of road had washed out in the floods and had been rebuilt.  

After 2 hrs & 8 minutes, right on 11k, we found Lake O'Hara.

Stunning.  We decided this was a great time for a quick break and some homemade carrot cake from the day hut.

Then we were off around the shore to find the Lake Oesa trailhead.  We gained 100m pretty quickly and the views started.

It went crazy after this, lake, waterfall, lake, waterfall, marmot!

Snow bridge

Looking down on O'Hara

Crystal clear


Finally we arrived at Lake Oesa, it was still partly frozen.  A gorgeous sight on such a hot day.

Lake Oesa

We were back down at 4pm to catch the 4:30 bus out.  This does not need to be pre-booked, just hope there's space and pay the driver a one-way fee.  Our bus had 1 seat left after we stopped at the campground.

Seven Veils Falls entering Lake O'Hara

The scenery was incredible and with the controlled numbers of people in the area it was extraordinarily peaceful.  When can we go back?


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