Explore the most popular birding trails near Columbia-Shuswap A with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

cross country skiing
17 days ago

We spent the last 2 days at the Elizabeth Parker Hut. The ski in is not track set and we had about 15cm of snow in the past 2 days. The road in has been skier set and with the number of users the track can be challenging.

It took about 5 hours in from the parking lot to the hut a total of 12 km. We skied with 5 families and lots of kids. It was an amazing experience. If you are heading to the huts then you should head out early and enjoy the time on the trail rather than rush. There was so many views and pictures to be had along the way.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail that was quite well maintained. Used micro spikes for the most part and glad we brought our snowshoes to complete the final 500-700m as there was a good foot of snow.

The view of the natural amphitheater at the end was well worth the steepness of the trail and the snow. We went up without snowshoes, but luckily some snowshoers had gone ahead of us and packed down some of the trail. The footprints ended at the start of the amphitheater, maybe 200m from the end of the trail, but the view was already incredible so it was no loss. The snow was knee deep for the last half kilometer or so. The trail had few others on it, even on the parts along the lake (although there are many sightseers coming off buses at the trailhead parking lot).

Hiked the road last weekend, about 1/2ft snow the first km, then goes down to almost nothing and then 3/4ft snow the last two km coming up to the lake. Spent the weekend at Elizabeth Parker Hut and much more snow from the lake to the hut- but so worth it!

Easy, beautiful hike with tons of wild flowers in the Summer!!

Nice easy hike with great views. The vegetation is quite different from one side of the lake to other.

2 months ago

Really beautiful views - not hard at all, easy way to spend ~2 hours in the morning. There’s also an ice cream shop at the beginning. So that’s a plus.

Hiking on that road is really boring, especially if you have to do the 22 km in and out in one day. There is no view on that road, and it is a road not a pretty trail. It is best to reserve a bus "months in advance" and hike other trails around the lake. Those other trails are breath taking! A amazing view from all the other trails.
In the winter, you can x-country ski the road. It is track set and easy enough and at least, it is way faster on the way down!!!

3 months ago

Even on an overcast day the trail afforded very nice views, especially from the southern bend of Emerald Lake. I extended the hike over Yoho Pass (nothing special) and continued to Yoho Lake (isolated and very pretty) before turning back. Unless you really enjoy a long uphill in increasingly deep snow the work/view tradeoff for heading out to Yoho Lake probably isn't worth the effort at this point in the season.

3 months ago

Hiked today the trail was icy in spots after the early snows. The trail was muddy in other spots, but passable. There are numerous spots to take pictures of the scenery.

3 months ago

We just did the hike around the lake as had a stroller and three year old in tow. Was beautiful and very quiet; we only saw a handful of people the whole way round even though there were a lot of tourists in the parking lot and on the bridge at the beginning taking photos.

The hike to Helen Lake is relatively easy/moderate for an experience hiker and offers beautiful views of Bow lake along the first 1.5 miles and then beautiful views of the adjacent mountains the rest of the hike. The lake was very pretty with beautiful mountain backdrops. The hike to the ridge line form the lake isn’t too bad, just steep and also offers very nice views. From there we turned right and submitted an easier “peak” to have a view out over what we just hiked. We then turned around and started the trek to Cirque Peak. I wouldn’t recommend doing that portion of the hike if you are scared of heights. I am a little bit and was able to manage the scary sections slowly and staying as far from the edge as possible. But there are a few sections that are more of a scramble then a hike. We also were climbing this while it was snowing so everything was a bit slick. Unfortunately we had to turn back 600m from the peak because the snow got to be too much, but during one break through of sunshine we could see the valley and the view was worth the effort! I will say the trail is difficult to see so follow the cairns people have built and when the “trail” splits stay to the right to keep going up.

Hike to the basin. Totally worth it.

on Emerald Lake Trail

4 months ago

Really great trail! Parking lot is small so we had to park on side of the road but wasn’t too far. I took my 7 and 4 year old kids with me. We didn’t do the uphill part, but we did the trail that takes you all around the lake. It was 7.5 km and took us 2 hrs with stops for the kids to play by the lake, which you could do at 3 or 4 spots where the trail levels out to the lake. Easy walk, no major steep sections. Muddy in some parts, for sure. Lots of great views. Many people come to get a glimpse of the lake but few do the trail, making it relatively quiet along the way. Highly recommended.

4 months ago

Great hike along the lake !

Best super view in this area.
But it’s not a moderate trail for sure.
Don’t forget your stick.

4 months ago

We did this trail in the end of June - and it was awesome! As soon as you get to the elevation gain there aren’t many people around :)
Once it goes up, it’s quite steep and after seeing the emerald glacier just keep going and going - way further than the route here displays and you will get rewarded with spectacular views. When we were there, there was still snow up from avalanches. Highly recommended!!

Hard at the first couple Kms and final km at the top. In between is easy trail around Yoho Lake and under the shear cliff. Spectacular views of Emerald Lake and Presidents Glacier.

4 months ago

Gorgeous lake and views! There are so many great places to take photographs here and it wasn't too crowded even mid day. I highly recommend visiting this lake!

Let me preface this review by saying this trail, in my opinion, should NOT be rated moderate. The hike to Helen Lake is moderate for sure, but to summit Cirque Peak is certainly difficult/ hard. I have read other websites that state the same, and an experienced hiker from the area coming down the mountain said so too.
Also, the trail is not on any hiking map that we saw including books and the map from the start of the hike, and no signage. We could see tracks up the mountain but no idea how to get there. We went to the right of the lake, up to where you climb Dolomite Pass and then turned left turned Cirque peak and followed what looked like a foot path.
That being said, we didn't actually make it to the 'top', we got to about 3/4 of the way up and being pretty novice hikers without poles decided it just wasn't safe to go to the top and have to come back down. But my god the views were incredible. If you have the strength and endurance to get up there, you need to. Unbeatable. You can see for miles around, so many lakes, mountains of all sizes shapes and color; just amazing! Best hike we did in Banff by far.
The hike up to the peak is extremely steep, and make sure whatever way you come up, go down it! We tried to find an 'easier' path down but ended up basically just going to a cliff edge, then having to reroute.
Bring bear spray as it is bear country and make lots of noise. Lots of chipmunks and marmots as well.

4 months ago

Nice, easy walk with great views of Emerald Lake. There’s a great rock and the far end of the lake, perfect for sitting on and enjoying the view. I sat there for half an hour listening to the lions and watching fish jump - it was amazingly peaceful. It was misty and overcast when I was there but still very beautiful.

This is the best hike i have ever done... views are just unreal!

Boring road to walk. Easy tho. But getting to Lake O’Hara was well worth is. Omg

beautiful and scenic, easy strolling. what emerald glow!

Trailhead is almost 2 KM up O'Hara Lake Road, and is closed to vehicles. Don't forget to add the extra mileage onto your hike! Heavily forested hike. Didn't see another soul which was nice compared to the other park hikes. Could hear highway traffic noise along the trail, but the lake was nice and quiet.

I went to the top back in 05.
It was a clear day in July or August.

Be sure to bring a sweater or a jacket though if you plan to summit. It was shorts and t-shirts at the bottom, but long sleeves all around at the top.

Trail is long. Dedicate the day to it and bring lunch and lots of water. I had 2 liters and it was only just enough.

Trail is suitable for sneakers if dry.

My group was mostly people who were fit, but had never hiked up a mountain before. This trail requires no special skills, but is going to put fitness to the test.

Views were spectacular.

I hope to go back.

Just did this today and WOW! So amazing. You walk through 2 miles of what I called “enchanted forest” then a ridge of meadows with wildflowers all around and then you cross a meadow and a water falls that look like the song of music. The switch backs to the ridge for the view are tough but not unbearable and the view is worth it! We did not do cirque peak and we consider ourselves pretty decent hikers. It was straight up about another 1700 feet.. we were content where we stopped. We left at 8am and only ran into 3 couples up the mountain then a bunch on the way back! I would go as early as possible. We didn’t see a bear but thought we heard one so bring bear spray! Lots of marmots too! Enjoy!

Amazing and stunning view after 11 kms walking uphill. Tons of Mosquitoes! Back to park lot, I took the shuttle after paying 10 dollar cash. Seats were plenty, as two school bus run at the same time.

This is a nice easy trail around the lake. It goes through a very damp dense forest into a big opening and around the other side of the lake is pretty sunny. We use this as a nice 5 km stretching our legs for a big hike tomorrow. Go early as it gets very crowded. Emerald Lake was a beautiful Clay see you awake the colors are gorgeous and if you go before the crowds and canoeing starts the lake is like glass and you can catch the mountains reflections

5 months ago

You have to do this hike with a guide through the Burgess Shale Geo-Foundation or Parks Canada (although a good chunk of it can be hiked without a guide, just the last bit is technically when you have to be with a guide due to the protection of the fossil site, there are signs that warn you). Very rewarding hike with amazing views and amazing 508-million-year-old rare soft body fossils at the end, once in a lifetime experience! The weather did change quickly and the amount of mosquitos at the lower parts of the trail were crazy, def bring bug spray and hiking poles!!

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