As with many things this year, the way to get in to Lake O'Hara has changed since we wrote this blog last year. Before we delve into what's different, here's what's still the same:
- Day use areas are open
The biggest difference between this year with Covid-19 and last year is that Parks Canada are not operating the shuttle bus to get to the campsite. This means that any people wanting to visit must be prepared to hike the 11km road to reach the campground before embarking on any of the hiking trails in the area.
According to the Yoho National Park website, the Lake O’Hara campground will remain closed until at least June 29, and then at a reduced capacity to maintain physical distancing measures. However, when we spoke to a Parks Canada representative they confirmed that they are not taking any new reservations for 2020. Existing reservations will be honoured and guests will need to hike the 11km in to the campground as no shuttles are being operated this year.
Essentially, as the shuttle bus is not running for 2020, if you have a reservation for the campground or for the Elizabeth Parker hut then, CONGRATULATIONS! You'll have the whole place to yourself.
In a time of great unrest, of chaos and confusion, it brings comfort to know that these areas of stunning natural beauty have this time to recover. Although Lake O'Hara is one of the most carefully regulated areas in terms of managing visitation numbers it does still feel busy up there sometimes. With the dramatically reduced number of people hiking the trails the flora and fauna have the opportunity to flourish.
Elizabeth Parker Hut
The Alpine Club of Canada have completely changed their booking system for this year. Huts are only available if you book out the whole thing, and they have a structured schedule of bookings available.
Of course, the stunning Elizabeth Parker hut is already booked out for the remainder of summer 2020.
Lake O'Hara Lodge
The Lake O'Hara Lodge, as with many of the luxury lodges in the Canadian Rockies, have decided not to open for summer 2020.