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.

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

21 days 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!!

on Emerald Lake Trail

22 days ago

This review is only for the “hike” around the lake. I put hike in quotations because it’s more of a stroll. Beautiful stroll through. If you want to enjoy a fairly easy hike, this will do it. It’s about 50/50 in terms of shade/exposed. Emerald Lake is really a sight to see - gorgeous water and towering Canadian Rockies. I went mid July, late morning and the weather was fine. Rained a little, but nothing to write home about. Recommend getting to the lake as early as you can - parking fills up quick (at least during the summer season).

This was a great hike with a wonderful view at the peak. The last section (the actual climb up the peak) is rather strenuous and a bit of a scramble. Should probably be in decent condition to do that part.

23 days ago

Emerald Lake is phenomenally beautiful. The walk around the lake is basically flat and a very enjoyable stroll. We continued on to the basin, which honestly wasn’t really worth the trip. The streams at the top were fun to dip your feet in, but the views are much better on the other trails we’ve done during our week in Canada.

Fantastic hike. Truly a mix of all the Rockies has to offer. A glacial lake, a pine forest, waterfalls, streams and a glacier. Can’t go wrong. Lost almost all the tourists by the time we turned off toward the basin. Saw a few folks on the way. Very quiet around the back rim of the lake. It is crowded, but parking does open up as most people don’t stay too long and there’s parking along the road in. Arrived around 1pm and found a spot quickly.

Simply, read again David Kleinkopf review; same for me. It is definitly a hard hike because of the steepness of last portion. After second junction to lake Katherine, trail on your left is not well marked and cairns are not very helpfull, because you’ll find them everywhere... use downloaded map for this portion. Once on the ridge, path is quite clear: go to the top!

We’ve hiked all over the world and this hike definitely ranks as one of our top five! It has everything-beautiful vistas on the way up and on the way back, a waterfall, gorgeous lakes, phenomenal meadows full of wildflowers, playful marmots, a ptarmigan family and best of all the views from the top of the ridge are nothing short of jaw dropping. We were truly sorry we had to start down. The day was perfect, cool but almost no wind at the top. Great place for lunch. This is our fourth day hiking out of Banff and Lake Louise and have five days left. It will be hard to top today!!!’

27 days ago

The emarald color of the lake is incredible. Trail is mostly flat around the lake and little step at the end to see the lake from above

The scenery is beautiful! However, in order for you to get there you need to get a bus (otherwise you’ll have to walk 11 km). The problem is the bus can be taken only if you have a reservation. Reservations are open in April and it gets fully booked in 3 min from the moment it’s open (that what the worker told us). In other words the bus driver will not drive you unless you have a reservation. So we didn’t have a reservation and needed up walking 11 km to lake O’Hara. We saw several buses passing by absolutely empty. The bus driver told us that she was no going to take us even though the bus was empty and we were willing to pay. Apparently foreign travel agencies book these buses in April for the whole summer for their tourists. Anyways be aware of it if you are planning your trip to this lake. The 11 km walk was about 1-1.5 hrs. It’s a lot of uphill so you can get bored and tired but once you get to the lake it’s really pretty. On the way back you can take a bus regardless of your reservation as long as they have empty seats. It’s $10 per person. Cash only. I would say this place is run very conservatively and you get the feel that they don’t want too many ppl to come.

The first part of the hike, around the lake, was very easy and flat. We actually saw a moose and her two babies swimming here, very cool. I highly recommend extending the hike to get all the way up to Emerald Basin. The hike is moderate, and very secluded, great chance to escape the crowds. Don’t be alarmed by the initial steep start, it flatter out after about 30 minutes. The view from the top does not display the lake, although it is still incredible and serene. I liked Emerald Lake better than Lake Louise, personally.

Did this last August and planning to do it again this summer. I wish I had brought a quality wind breaker rather than a ‘light jacket’ for the trek to the peak. This wind picked up, there was still some snow and I don’t know how anyone wearing shorts survived. I also did not have poles and I plan to use poles next time. The views are incredible, well worth the challenge. Getting to the peak is significantly more difficult than the ridge, but if you think you can do it just do it!!

This is a truly beautiful trail, well worth the effort to get to the peak. Took two friends who are not from here and are not hikers and they struggled but one made it to the peak, the other one made it to the ridge, which also has stunning views. Would definitely recommend

1 month ago

Best hike so far. Just gorgeous.

This is an awesome trail. We didn’t go all the way up Cirque Peak due to the weather, but the trail to the ridge of Helen lake offers world class views and a wide variety of terrain along the way.

1 month ago

Great hike. Not the typical steep mountain views you get at the end of a hike but still gorgeous. We did it in the middle of a downpour and it took us around 5.5 hours. The lake is gorgeous, and even the day before Canada Day the crowds were not out of control... we had a good portion of the trail to ourselves.

1 month ago

Smaller in size than Lake Louise but personally like this better because of the mountain position relative to the lake and it has less people. Hiked the basin trail, not crowded and mostly in lush green forest


This is my second favorite hike. Its a bit of a grind to get to 9500ft but the views alone are well worth it. You hike for some time threw meadows and trees . Then into the open Alpine were you follow the valley before heading right up to the top. The views alone are breathtaking.
PS I didn't start All Trails until I was at the top oppssss

the rain was pouring down and because of a heavely flowing mountain stream we couldn't reach the actual basin and the peaks of the surrounding mountains were hidden in the clouds... Still it was a nice walk

nature trips
2 months ago

Beautiful views. We only did the lake circuit, but we loved it.The first hundred meters of the trail are very crowded, but it thins out as you progress. For the First 2km’s or so, you walk on a heavily used gravel path. Then, you’re into a lush forest with wonderful huge trees. Second part is more of an easy hike with lots of roots and muddy spots. We ended up here because there were no parking spots left at Lake Louise and it was TOTALLY worth it.

We brought our 4 dogs yesterday June 7 and had a blast. We hiked up to the top but were too tired to go further and heard from another couple there was still snow farther up. Not sure what else was to view? We took our time and it was 13km total an about 4-5 hours with lots of down time. Beautiful streams along the path . An the waterfall was gorgeous . Busy in parking lot an around lake but fine up on the trail up the mountain . Hardly saw anyone .

Hiked up to the Basin today! Trail around the lake was in great condition, up to the basin was clear until the avalanche chutes. Still lots of snow remaining, but very much passable. Snow is packed and you stay on top in almost all sections. Beautiful views, short section of uphill climbing but 100% worth it.

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