Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop Trail – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#12 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop Trail & Seven Veils Falls

Lake O'Hara Shoreline Loop
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  • Location: Yoho National Park
  • Trailhead: Lake O’Hara
  • Type: Loop with Spur
  • Rating: Easy
  • Total Distance: 2 miles
  • Trailhead Elevation: 6,625′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 40′
  • Recommended Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Recommended Season: Late-June to Late-September
  • Reservations for the Lake O’Hara bus are needed. (Otherwise add 7 miles (one-way) to hike up the road.)

Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop

Lake O'Hara Shoreline Loop
The landscape found at Lake O’Hara is what so many travelers seek when they journey to the Canadian Rockies.

A stroll around the greenish blue waters on the Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop is a beautiful and calming experience. Luckily, Yoho National Park restricts the number of daily visitors to this area. While the trails are well-defined the terrain remains in nearly perfect condition. The beauty and solitude that found on such a simple hike is what so many travel to the Canadian Rockies in search of. Most who crowd around the famous Lake Louise leave disappointed by the theme-park-like environment. But with a bit of planning and luck, Lake O’Hara, just on the other side of the continental divide from Lake Louise, is the place so many seek without realizing it.

Seven Veils Falls

Seven Veils Falls
The short spur trail allows hikers to get up close to the plummeting water of Seven Veils Falls.

The cathartic nature of this simple, nearly flat hike on the Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop is only made more perfect by the sound of crashing water as it flows over Seven Veils Falls. The sound of the Seven Veils Falls is ever-present on the Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop. While hikers can see the waterfall for most of the hike, the gorgeous waterfall deserves to be explored up close via a small spur trail. To get to the best viewpoint of Seven Veils Falls, take a brief moderate climb up the hill adjacent to the cascading water falling from the Yukness Lake. The creek breaks up into seven relatively distinct columns of water as it flows over the cliff on its way into the calming waters of Lake O’Hara.

Reservation or Not

Lush Landscape
The lush wet landscape that surrounds Lake O’Hara begs you to explore it. I found this beautiful scene of a small creek flowing into the lake just off the Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop.

The Lake O’Hara Shoreline Loop is perhaps the most beautiful and easy hike there is in the entire Canadian Rockies. In fact, the hardest part about exploring this beautiful trail is getting a reservation for the bus ride in. This is, however, one of the few trails in the Lake O’Hara area you could still explore without a bus reservation. It would just mean hiking the 7 miles of gravel road (one-way). Most people will be able to catch a ride back on the bus, but you should prepare to hike the 7 miles out just in case there isn’t enough room.

Lake O’Hara Camping

Lake O'Hara Lakeside Cabins
The lakeside cabins at Lake O’Hara also make for a great base camp when exploring the area.

The Lake O’Hara area is best to explore as a multi-day backcountry adventure. Click here for camping options and details. The shore cabins of the Lake O’Hara Lodge sit right on the lake making for a great and relaxing way to spend some time in the backcountry.

Other Options for Lake O’Hara

Lake O'Hara Boat
One of the Lake O’Hara Lodge’s rowboats.

Many of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies are found in the Lake O’Hara area of Yoho National Park. However, if you are staying at the lodge and hiking isn’t your thing, you can always relax in a boat on the water. I can’t think of a better way to soak in all the beauty of this place then to row around on these placid turquoise waters.

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FEED ME Ouzel
Lake O’Hara has a lot of creatures that call the area home including Water Ouzels. Don’t feed them, no matter how much the chicks are squawking at their mothers to do so.

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