The Lake O’Hara area is one of the most spectacular places in Canada. Wildlife abounds, the hiking trails are extensive and varied and the surrounding high mountains are simply incredible. For these reasons, all of the facilities at Lake O’Hara are busy during the summer months. There is a campground, a lodge, a day shelter and two Alpine Club of Canada huts – Abbot Pass and Elizabeth Parker.
To get to any of these facilities, one must either hike 12km or take a scheduled bus. While the trail which parallels the bus road is a nice hike, we recommend you catch the bus and save your energy for the more spectacular hikes in and around the many alpine lakes, tarns, moraines and high traverses which surround Lake O’Hara.
Personal vehicles and mountain bikes are not allowed on the road or on the hiking trail that parallels the road. The road is normally plowed and ready for hiking from the end of May.
Please Note: Parks Canada operates Lake O’Hara under a quota system, and by limiting the number of seats sold on the bus they limit the number of visitors in the area each day. Our bus seats are allocated for reservations at the Abbot and Elizabeth Parker huts only. Parks staff check reservations at the bus stop. If you do not appear to be prepared for an overnight stay but have a hut reservation, you will be refused entry to the bus.
Bus Schedule and Prices
The Alpine Club of Canada only takes bus reservations for people staying at Elizabeth Parker or Abbot Pass huts – we do NOT book people on the bus for day trips or camping. For day trips or camping, people must book the bus through Parks Canada (see information below).
Lake O’Hara Reservation Line: 250.343.6433
For the bus schedule, visit Parks Canada‘s website. Make sure you are 20-25 minutes early the bus into Lake O’Hara. The bus leaves ON TIME, and you must allow time for luggage loading prior to departure. The ACC is allotted 16 seats on all of the in-going buses. See below for tips on how to possibly get on a morning bus even if you can only reserve space on an afternoon bus. Children under the age of 6 do not need to be booked on the bus as long as they sit on their parents’ laps. If the child is 6 or older, they MUST have a bus booking.
You cannot reserve space on an outgoing bus – it is first come, first served.
Bus Times (Bus operates June 16th – October 2nd 2017)
|Child under 5|
(must sit on lap)
**A $10 non-refundable bus booking fee is added to each invoice.
Getting on an Earlier Bus
If you already have a bus and hut booking for either Abbot or Elizabeth Parker, but did not get the early bus time you wanted, there may be a way for you to get on an earlier bus. If you have a 3:30pm or 5:30pm booking, you may show up for the 8:30am or 10:30am bus and hope that there are empty spaces on the bus. There are no guarantees, but you likely have a good chance if your group is small. Do not call Parks or Lake O’Hara Lodge to try and get an earlier bus: they cannot help you!
Bus and Hut Rules
Each person is allowed 2 pieces of luggage – backpacks or duffel bags (25 kg maximum per person). If you have ice axes and crampons on your pack, you must remove these prior to handing your pack over to the bus driver. The sharp items will be loaded separately.
If you are staying at the Elizabeth Parker Hut, please remember the following:
- Food coolers, hard sided storage bins, items stored in plastic bags, lawn chairs, barbeques and other miscellaneous loose items will NOT be allowed on the bus.
- Do not store food outside the hut or in the near-by stream – you will attract wildlife.
- If you arrive at the hut before 2:00pm, put your belongings where they will not disturb the previous night’s occupants.
- If your belongings will be in the hut after 2:00pm, and you are not staying that night, be sure to pack everything up and leave it out of the way in a corner so the new guests can move in.
Don’t forget that adults over 16 must have backcountry wilderness passes to stay overnight at both the Abbot Pass and Elizabeth Parker huts. A Parks Canada representative will be checking for proof of your pass on the bus. We encourage you to buy these passes from the ACC, as 40% of the monies collected goes to a special huts account for our heritage huts and environmental improvements.
To book the Lake O’Hara campground or to get a “day trip” seat on the bus, call (250) 343-6433 or visit their website.
To book a space at the Lake O’Hara Lodge, call (403) 678-4110 or (250) 343-6418 or visit their website.