LAKE O'HARA ITINERARY (Updated May 4, 2018)
You will be traveling with Group's 1,2,3,4 and 16 on Bus #1
Day 1: Sun. Sept. 16: Leave OKM early, 7:30 a.m. Students will be transported in Bus #1 Travel from Kelowna to the Roger's Pass Visitor Information building for a meeting at 11:15 am - 11:45 am, BC Time with Canada Parks officials. Topics are safety, Parks regulations and policies, etc. You must be on the road again no later than 12:15 (BC Time which is 1:15 Alberta Time. Now is a good time to change your watches to Alberta time. It is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to the Lake O'Hara parking lot so have students eat on the bus and go immediately to the Lake O'hara parking area to catch the 4:30 pm bus (BC Time / 5:30 Alberta Time). If the OKM bus will get to the Lake O'hara bus pick up by 3:00 Alberta time you could catch the 3:30 bus if there is room. Remember you must arrive at the parking lot in time to get organized as the Bus waits for nobody. Go to the Lake O'Hara Campground. Be aware that there is another group from OKM staying in the campground, be respectful of other users of the area -- do not allow groups to congregate.
Day 2: Mon. Sept. 17: Have a leisurely breakfast and get ready for a fabulous hike. Hike the circuit from Lake
O'Hara to Wiwaxy Gap, to Lake Oesa via Huber Ledges, to Yukness Ledges (if there is no snow and conditions are safe), then to Opabin Plateau and back to the O'Hara Campground via Mary Lake. This is a fairly long day; each person will have a day pack with lunch, snacks and clothing. Be aware of other users in the area - do not allow groups to congregate and congest the trails. If your group is keen and able, you can extend this hike over the All Souls Alpine Route to add on more challenge.
Day 3: Tues. Sept. 18: Hike to Little Yoho Campground via the Whaleback Trail and the Little Yoho Valley trail. The bridge at Twin Falls is normally still in at this time in September, you could check to make sure it is at the Yoho visitor center in Field before you come up. If the bridge is out, go well up stream to a safe spot to ford the creek. After you meet the Little Yoho trail, turn right and ascend to the Little Yoho Campground. After you've set up camp, if you want more challenge hike up to the head of the basin (Kiwetinok Lake) and see if you can see the goats.
Day 4: Wed. Sept. 19: Up early enough to have breakfast, clean up the campground and meet the 9:00 a.m. bus down to the parking lot. Groups 1 & 2 travel via Bus #2 and the support vehicles to Takkakaw Falls for departures up the Yoho Valley. Organize your packs for the next 3 ½ days, take only what you will need, the rest can stay in your support vehicle. From Takkakaw Falls Campground you hike to Lower Twin Falls Campground (#5), approximately 2.5 - 3hrs.
Alternatively, if you check with Parks Canada offices at the Yoho Visitor Center in Field and confirm that the bridge at Twin Falls is still in then you could complete the Whaleback Trail with full packs and end up at Twin Falls Campground. This is a more picturesque route if the bridge is confirmed still in place.
Day 5: Thurs. Sept. 20: Today you can explore the Yoho Glacier, do it this morning if it is a sunny day because, it is a short hike to your next campground. Pack up first and leave your packs at the junction of the trail. After your hike, move camp to Laughing Falls Campground (#4). Approximately 2 - 2.5 hours of easy hiking. This is a good night to play more extensive night games as you may arrive early at camp.
Day 6: Fri. Sept. 21: Today you will be hiking out to camp at Takakkaw Falls. From Laughing Falls head West on the Little Yoho Valley Trail till you get to the Junction of Celeste Lake Trail approximately 2.2 kms. Turn left or South and head up to the Iceline Trail. Once you connect with the Iceline hike to the terminus near the Whiskey Jack Hostel. You will then have to hike along the road back towards Takakkaw Falls campground. Set up for the night here. You can use the warming hut as a communal space to gather with your group. Stay separate from Group 1 as this is your last night together as a tribe.
Day 7: Sat. Sept. 22: Bus #1 will be waiting for you in the Takakkaw Falls parking lot. Pack up the support vehicles and load the students onto the bus for a 9:00am (Alberta time) departure. Drive down to the Whiskey Jack Hostel parking Lot approximately 2.5 km’s and wait for Group #1 coming out around 9:15am. One chaperone from Group #2 should drive Group #1’s support vehicle down to Whiskey Jack Hostel. Do not leave the area until Group #1 can be accounted for and you have transferred the keys of their support vehicle to them. Once Groups 1,2 are accounted for Bus #1 will be going to collect Groups 3&4 at Lake O’hara parking lot by 10:15 and then to Kicking Horse Campground to rendezvous with all the other groups at 11:30 am (Alberta Time).
DO NOT LEAVE the Kicking Horse Campground until everyone has been accounted for from the groups in Yoho, Kootenay, and Banff --- then drive directly to Roger’s Pass Summit Monument for a rendezvous at 12:30 -- 1:00 pm (BC Time) with all the other groups. A group picture will be taken here. Then we will proceed to Revelstoke for a lunch break at the fast food strip on the left-hand side of the highway at the main intersection.