Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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

12 days 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.

21 days 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.

24 days 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

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
1 month 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.

2 months ago

Completed this blast June. Was unable to do the entire loop due to avalanche snow cutting off half the loop. The lake is truly stunning and well worth it.

It’s safe to say that all lakes in Banff/Yoho have mountains associated with them. But the mountains that surround Lake O’Hara take it to a whole new level. The lake is surrounded by an amphitheater of mountains on three sides. Even better, these three mountains have a trail that is continuous across all of them. This alpine circuit for hikers is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s well marked and above the treeline, so the views are exceptional. Above all, because only a handful of people can reserve either lodging or camping, it can feel like you are the only people there with the circuit all to yourself. Difficult to get to because of restricted access but well worth the effort of calling 3 months in advance so you can be one of the few with accommodations and thus access to this hiking playground.

5 months ago

A beautiful and easy hike. Can be busy though.

7 months ago

I did the Emerald Lake Loop the last weekend of November. It was snowing heavily, but the trail was fairly well packed from plenty of foot traffic, making it easy to walk in the snow with a good pair of boots. (However, I'm sure it will be a snowshoe or cross-country-ski-only trail quite soon with all the snow falling at Emerald Lake.) The trail was beautiful and an easy walk. Plaques along the walk had colourful descriptions about the landscape, glacier, and lake. I spent two hours doing the loop at a comfortable pace through the snow with plenty of stops for photos. And, I only saw one other group on the trail at this time of year. Though I had planned to hike up Emerald Basin, the falling snow was already too deep and making the trail hard to see and navigate; I'll have to return in the summer to enjoy that part of the hike.
I highly recommend the loop for short and easy, yet beautiful walk.

A must hike if you are into fossils and also beautiful scenery. This hike starts around the Takakkaw Falls and pretty much follows the Iceline Trail until little Yoho Lake. From there you have another couple of hours until you reach the Walcott Quarry. This is a guided hike only as the area is restricted and monitored being a UNESCO world heritage site for one of the best hard & soft body parts fossil preservation of Cambrian marine animals from 540 million years ago. Our guide was a geo-physicist from the Burgess Shale Geo-Foundation ( they organise the hikes) and her wealth of knowledge was unbelieveable. It is a long hike (22km) and a long day. We had snow, sun,showers, wind etc so be prepared and extra layers of clothing + good hiking shoes are recommended.

Medium challenging hike rewarded by amazing views

9 months ago

Great shoulder season trail. Wasn't too busy. Not sure I would enjoy it very much in the busier Summer months but in late September with a dusting of snow on the mountains and fewer crowds it was quite pleasant. Very easy trail - more of a walk than a hike - but also very scenic. Pretty much no altitude gain. Beautiful setting. Lake views as well as gorgeous mountain-scape. Would be a great place to walk a dog.

10 months ago

This by far the best walk I have done in a while! We did the 5.6km loop ( not up to Togo) and would recommend that, it was perfection this loop!

Views in every direction!

Easy walk and mostly flat, a bit of mud at the end.

Not too many people but enough you weren't worried about bears.

Dragonflies by the lake and beautiful colours of the water from different angels. Gorgeous reflections at some points too.

Loved it and highly recommend!!

We tried to do this hike last week. I don't understand how some of the activities associated here day 3.5 hours moving time and 7.5 total time... This will probably take you 6 hours moving time. It's a long hike. That being said, we went only out to the ridge above Helen Lake and it was so very worth it. Amazing views even from there! Next time I'll be in the area I'll plan better for the whole hike, the views from the top must be stunning.

Absolutely stunning! Ran into our first grizzly on this trail. The hike to Helen lake was filled with wildflowers, (mid August) and the scramble to the summit was so rewarding. Don't forget to look back on your way up!

10 months ago

Ballade faite en fin d'après-midi.

I hiked in the Alps, North Cascades, Hawaii, Yosemite, Patagonia and bunch of other places. This is the best hike I have done in my life considering the effort.

Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

It is not easy but incredibly rewarding - 360 views of bow lake, mount hector, waputik range and bunch of other mountains I cannot name. I am not super fit and it took me three hours and forty five minutes to go up (with a lot of breaks to take photos). You must definitely bring polls, it just makes everything easier.

Unlike most hikes, the way down is also incredible as you get to enjoy the views for two thirds of your way down. Unexpectedly, it is also easy on the knees as you can slide down the scree without any impact on your knees.

Pick a clear day to go there. STOP READING THIS REVIEW AND JUST GO THERE!!!

Difficult but well worth it.

One of my favourite hikes this year! You get a bit of everything - elevation, views, lakes, wildflowers!! Very easy start and moderate steep scramble for the last 1km. Look for the inukshuks to help guide you on the remaining 2km before reaching the summit. Bring some extra layers for the wind at the top!

Amazing Views.

Easy loop around the lake..just beautiful

11 months ago

A lovely trail! Take the easy route around the lake only, or add the moderate hike up Emerald Basin. Heavily trafficked, and there were no sign of bear. Lots of blueberries to snack on! The trail up ended in a gorgeous basin with over a dozen creeks cascading down the cliffs, and stunning views all around! At a leisurely pace, it took me about four hours.

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