Yes! It’s that time of year again! ‘Larch Madness’ has taken over in the Rockies and everyone’s going crazy for those incredible golden pine trees (the Larch Pines). Whether it’s in Banff, Yoho or any of the other parks, everyone is out to find those larches.
The season (Fall) is almost over, but there’s still time to check out the larches before the snow drowns them and their branches lose all their needles.
Last week we headed back to one of our favourite spots in the world.. Lake O’Hara -(now even more special because we recently got engaged there! .. see below 😀 ). A place that’s as famous for its spectacular scenery as it’s notorious for being impossibly difficult to get in to.
(The last time we were fortunate enough to get a spot on the bus, we were told in no uncertain terms that we were the lucky 1% of people that had managed to get a spot on the bus. Jeez… but I suppose it comes as no surprise when you realise that they only allow around 200 people into the area each day and Banff is packed with people that would kill to get into Lake O’Hara.)
By the way, if you haven’t already read our post about getting into and camping at Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park, you’ve got to check out our ultimate guide!
So let’s assume you’ve either got a spot on the bus, a camping spot, or you’ve bitten the bullet and you’re now just coming to the end of a gruelling 11.7km hike to Lake O’Hara. Congratulations, you’re one of the lucky few that have made it!
The only question left is, where are you going to go? Honestly, the short answer is that you can’t go wrong with any of the hikes in Yoho. Lake O’Hara boasts jaw-dropping views from almost any direction, so the real question is, which hike do you want to do first?
Anyway, that’s incredibly unhelpful so to try and add a little value, here are a few of our favourite spots that you have to cross off if you’re visiting Lake O’Hara:
1. The Obvious One (and almost impossible to avoid!)… Lake O’Hara
2. Probably our favourite spot in the whole Lake O’Hara Area – Opabin Plateau
3. Yukness Ledges
4. Lake Oesa (Not too many Larches on this bit of the park but couldn’t leave it out!)
5. Lake McArthur (and the hike to the lake!)
And there are countless other views that we didn’t want to bore you with (just kidding 😀 )
This place is a serious bucketlist destination, and visiting Yoho National Park and Lake O’Hara is worth every bit of effort that it takes to actually get in.
I hope you have a chance to check it out and feel free to get in touch with any questions!
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Thanks for the post with tips for hiking/camping the lake o’hara! The pictures look amazing! My husband and I will be camping in Lake O’hara this September and I cannot wait for the larches 🙂 We got reservations for 3 nights and will be doing the full circuit on our first full day there. Do you have any suggestion for an easy hike on our first da/arrival day as we are thinking of taking it easy and just explore the campground area?
Hi Nay! That’s so exciting, congratulations on getting a place! Probably the easiest hikes would be opabin plateau and back down or just a lap of Lake O’Hara itself. We did Opabin Plateau for sunset one evening (when I proposed ?) and it was the perfect length for us. You could easily get up there very quickly. Most of the others are pretty long and are probably best saved for a full day!
Hope that helps!