Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Road Trip to Bike the Route of the Hiawatha in Northern Idaho

Not exactly the "Canadian Rockies," but we are a family who LOVES biking, so we travelled to Northern Idaho this past summer to ride one of the best family trails in North America. The Route of the Hiawatha is also one of the most popular rail trails in the United States which further intrigued us.

Biking on the Route of the Hiawatha, Idaho

The Nuts and Bolts for the Route of the Hiawatha Trail 

Distance to the trailhead from Calgary, Alberta 

Roughly 7.5 hours (~ 700 km)

Nearest City to the trailhead 

Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

Riding out of a tunnel that was almost 3 kilometres long!

Why you want to bike this trail 

The Route of the Hiawatha Trail is a 14 mile long rail trail (22.5 km) that you ride one-way with a shuttle back to your vehicle at the end. The trail is relatively flat or downhill the entire time and you get to bike through 9 tunnels! There are also 7 trestle bridges that you'll ride over.

Also, the longest tunnel is 1.7 miles long (2.7 km!) And you get to ride it both ways on the way out, and back.

And cool fact: The trail actually starts in Montana, crossing into Idaho as you ride through the first tunnel.

It should be noted too that you don't have to set up your own return shuttle! (Always a struggle when on vacation with just one vehicle.) Most people pay to ride one of the shuttle busses that leaves every 15 minutes or so from the final parking lot.

Recommended Camping near the trail 

We camped at Farragut State Park (just over an hour and a half away and conveniently located near Silverwood Amusement Park.

- and a tip for those planning to visit Silverwood, buy tickets in advance. I bought tickets months early at early bird pricing.

West Portal Trailhead of the Hiawatha Trail

Cost to ride the trail 

The trail is operated by the Lookout Pass Ski Area

One of the many tunnels on the Hiawatha Trail
There is a trail fee required to ride this trail. This does not include the shuttle fee, and you must pay it even if you have your own bike. 

Adult Trail Passes - $11

Children's Trail Passes - $7 (ages 6-13)

Adult Shuttle Tickets - $9

Children's Shuttle Tickets - $6 (ages 6-13)

You can also rent bikes and lights for the tunnels if you need. 

All information on fees and rentals can be found here. 

We stopped in at the ski area first to purchase our trail fees and return shuttle tickets. Then we drove to the nearby trailhead, 7 miles away (11 km.) 

One of the many steel trestle bridges on the Hiawatha Trail

Our Experience on the Route of the Hiawatha 

After purchasing our tickets at the Lookout Pass Ski Area, we drove the 7 miles to the trailhead which was already packed! We discovered quickly that you want to arrive early for this one if you want to find parking. 

Fortunately, once we started, the other bikers all spread out and the trail never felt crowded. It was very hot though (30+ degrees) so an early start is good for that reason alone. (though the tunnels do cool you off quite quickly.)

The trail never felt busy as the crowds spread out along the route

Riding from the East Portal to the West Portal through the Taft Tunnel 

You immediately start your journey by biking through the 1.7 mile long St. Paul Pass (Taft) Tunnel which was the highlight of the trip for us. It never felt crowded in the tunnel and once inside, our world turned pitch black! There are no lights in the tunnels and the only thing keeping you on the path through the middle is whatever light shines down from your headlamp or bike light.

We only had headlamps and they felt a bit dim at times. I'd recommend going with the strongest/brightest headlamps you have (or renting lights from the ski area.) It was a tad scary riding through the tunnel without good visibility, but it was also a LOT of fun! My husband and son had a blast making zombie sounds the entire time (yes, for over 2 straight kilometres!!)

Starting off through the Taft Tunnel 

West Portal to the official Route of the Hiawatha 

When you get out of the tunnel, you'll be on a shared road with shuttle bus traffic for the next 2.3 miles (3.7 km.)

Fortunately the road is wide and the busses drive very slowly. You're also riding downhill. 

On the way back, the bus will drop you off at the end of this road, right at the entrance to the Taft Tunnel for one final ride through and back to the parking lot. (adding an extra 2 miles to your total bike distance.)

There is also one tunnel on this stretch of road (that again is shared with bus traffic) but the busses will honk their horns before driving through the tunnel so you have time to get over to the side, or to get out quickly.

The tunnels were a big highlight of this bike ride!

Riding the Route of the Hiawatha

Now that we were on the actual trail, we got to enjoy wide easy riding, mostly downhill or flat at a nice gentle rail grade, as we passed through numerous tunnels and rode over beautiful steel trestle bridges.

The longest tunnel on this stretch was 1516 feet long (0.4 km) and it was the first one (so keep your headlamps handy.) Most of the others were short enough that we didn't really need our lights.

From the first tunnel to tunnel #28 we rode 5.8 miles (9.3 km.) And this was definitely the "fun" part. In this stretch, we rode through 6 tunnels and across 7 bridges.

Endless tunnels on the Hiawatha Trail

The Final Part of the Hiawatha Trail to the Parking Lot 

After tunnel #28 we still had 4.5 miles (7 km) to ride before we reached the final parking lot (and there was only one tunnel on this stretch, right at the very end.) 

This section was quite boring to be honest and my son was far from a happy camper here. The trail was very bumpy with a washboard surface and lacked views or anything of real interest.

Bring candy and snacks for this part and try to think of fun ways to help the kilometres go by quickly.

We would have turned around at tunnel 28, but then we would have been riding back uphill to the West Portal and that didn't seem terribly appealing at the time.

We really enjoyed all of the tunnels and bridges on the Route of the Hiawatha

The Shuttle Ride Back

Make sure you get your bikes in the lineup as soon as you arrive in the parking lot as you may have to wait for a few busses before you can get on one. 

When you do get on a bus, they will load all of the bikes in the back, and then the passengers up front for the ride back to the West Portal (And Taft Tunnel entrance.) 

And yes, they will take Chariots or bike trailers on the bus.

The shuttle ride back to the start of the Hiawatha

Additional Tips for Riding the Route of the Hiawatha

I've included suggestions throughout this guide, but here are a few extra that come to mind.

  • A light pair of mittens or gloves would be beneficial for the Taft Tunnel. My hands were frozen by the time we got out.

  • Bring a light sweater or long sleeve shirt for the Taft Tunnel. It's very chilly inside.

  • As already mentioned, you want bright lights for the Taft Tunnel! Rent lights from the ski hill if your headlamps aren't very powerful (or if you don't have good headlamps.)

  • Keep your lights handy throughout the ride. We needed them several times for the various tunnels

  • As already mentioned, you'll want motivation of some sort for the final push back to the parking lot.

  • Start early in the day to get parking, to have a more peaceful experience on the trail, and to reduce wait times for the shuttle bus at the end.

  • Dogs are NOT allowed on the trail (even in a Chariot or bike trailer.) Sorry, not my rule.

  • Bicycle helmets must be worn at all times on the trail.

  • Adult supervision is required for all children under the age of 14.

  • You can buy trail passes at the trailhead if you don't want to stop in at the ski area. You must have cash though if buying trail passes on the trail. Credit cards are only accepted for payment at the ski area.

  • Do not stop in the middle of the tunnels (common sense, right?)

  • Use restrooms at the trailheads! (They are fairly strict about not turning the trail into a giant toilet.) - and there are a few trailheads along the way.

  • Pack out your garbage! There are no garbage cans on the trail.

  • Bring cash to buy cold beverages at the end if you want something while waiting for the next bus.
And another tunnel on the Route of the Hiawatha

Season for the Route of the Hiawatha 

The trail opens late May (May 25th for 2019) for weekend use with shuttles.

Shuttles start to run weekdays starting the second weekend in June (June 8th for 2019.)

Hours are reduced in September with the trail closing after the third weekend of September (the 22nd would be the last day for 2019.)

For full information on schedules, visit the Route of the Hiawatha website. 

Classic Rail Trail through Northern Idaho and Montana

Disclaimer: This story was not sponsored and we did not partner with the Lookout Ski Area. We visited Idaho like normal tourists and I am simply writing about our adventures to inspire other families to enjoy this trail.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The BEST of Autumn in the Canadian Rockies (Gotta do THIS!)

Continuing with my "Gotta do THIS" seasonal series, here is my "BEST of Autumn Guide" for the Canadian Rockies (and beyond.) I encourage you to save this post because I will be updating it annually.

Hiking through a golden larch forest in the Canadian Rockies

Autumn is an exciting time for us because it means we get to enjoy all of our favourite sports and outdoor activities in the same season! We'll seize the warm fall days to get out for some final biking, hiking, or climbing days, we'll wrap up the season with one or two final camping trips, and we'll get the skis and skates out for our first cold weather adventures! And maybe we'll even squeeze in one more backcountry trip or river paddling day.

As with my other guides, this list is in no particular order (though I did try to go from warm to cold.) Follow the links to read stories I've already written on each topic.

Autumn colors at Sunshine Village, Banff 

The BEST of Autumn in the Canadian Rockies 

1. Enjoy one last picnic, day trip, or hike in the mountains

Visiting waterfalls above Troll Falls, Kananaskis

Get more inspiration from my Best Day Trips and Picnic Sites page.

Also get more inspiration from my Spring and Fall Hiking page. 

Quarry Lake, Canmore 

2. Take one last camping trip 

And get more inspiration from my Camping Super Guide Page.

And if you want a nice warm camping destination, check out the Red Streak Campground in the sunny Columbia Valley. We camp here for Thanksgiving each year. We also love fall camping at the Fairmont Hot Springs RV Campground.

For a campground close to Calgary, we love camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park each spring or fall.

Read: Why We Love Camping at Red Streak, Radium Hot Springs, BC

Read: 5 Reasons to Love Camping at the Bow Valley Campground, Kananaskis 

Read: Autumn Family Fun at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort 

We love camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park near Calgary

3. Explore Calgary's Fish Creek Provincial Park 

We love playing at the bike park at the end of Bow Bottom Trail. It has two pump tracks and an awesome skills area where you can work on your single track mountain biking. From there we ride to the Bow Valley Ranch (perhaps a kilometre at most) for ice-cream at Annie's. We finish off with a ride down to the creek to play for an award winning family-fun day!

Having fun at the Fish Creek Bike Park 

4. Go for a fall color hike or bike ride in Calgary

Top Picks for us include Bowmont and Bowness Parks on the west end of Calgary, Nose Hill Park in the north, and Fish Creek Provincial Park in the south. Find more suggestions here on my Calgary Urban Hikes Page.

Golden fall colors on Nose Hill, Calgary

5. Take a hike in the mountains to see the golden larch trees

Everything you need to know is in my brand new story below.

Golden larch trees at Pocaterra Cirque, Kananaskis

6. Climb one last mountain as a family before winter arrives 

There are so many beautiful choices for a fall summit. Check out all of the family-friendly mountains we've climbed in this popular story below.

Read: First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies 

Summit of Little Arethusa, Highwood Pass, Kananaskis (September 2017)

7. Take a fall road trip 

We love to go to the Columbia Valley each fall for Thanksgiving. The weather is always warm until late October and you can still enjoy mountain biking, hiking, swimming at heated hot springs pools, and paddling on the Columbia River. 

A couple of years ago we also took a weekend trip to Jasper in mid-September and really enjoyed biking the quiet trails around town. The tourists had long gone home for the season and the town was back to being the peaceful place I remembered from my childhood.

Read: Our Top Ten Favourite Things to Do in Jasper 

Fall biking in the Columbia Valley, BC 

And for more suggestions, check out this story below which also includes biking around Drumheller.

Fall biking in beautiful Drumheller, Alberta

8. Explore the High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis 

This brand new trail is great for a family bike ride or hike. And the suspension bridge is a destination worth visiting!

Biking the High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis

9. Get out for one final paddle day this fall!

Just because it’s Fall and the kids are back in school doesn’t mean you have to say good-bye quite yet to beach days for another year.

Living in Calgary, we often get some gorgeous weekends in September and you can still enjoy a lakeside picnic while the kids play in the water. Rent inflatable stand up paddle boards (SUPs) for the family to take with you for a fun day at the beach (you may be inspired to add stand up paddle boards for the family to your Christmas wish list this year, too!)

Read: SUP Calgary! The Best Places to try Stand Up Paddleboarding in and around Calgary 

Stand up paddleboarding in Kananaskis 

10. Plan an outdoor Halloween party and costume hike 

This has been one of our favourite things to do in October each year! We plan a ginormous outdoor Halloween party complete with a costume hike, pinatas, a bonfire, hot dogs and marshmallows. Add candy, snacks, and everything else that arrives for the pot luck affair and it's a great afternoon spent in Kananaskis. 

Halloween Costume Hike 

11. Hike to the top of the Banff Gondola (and ride down for free!) 

Hikers have usually been able to walk to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff with a free gondola ride down afterwards during the winter season (usually by October 10th.)

Note that the trail to the upper gondola station could be covered in snow/ice and that you should have appropriate hiking gear suitable for winter conditions. Ice cleats or microspikes are very useful for this steep trail as well. 

Read more about the Sulphur Mountain Hiking Trail here. 

Read more about the Banff Gondola here.

2021 Update: Please contact the Banff Gondola directly with all Covid-related questions. As of September 1st, tickets are still required to ride down and this might extend through the 2021 season.

Banff Gondola (in September!)

12. Seek out early season snow at Highwood Pass, Kananaskis 

Kids LOVE hiking through snow because it means they can throw snowballs, build snowmen, and make snow angels. Just don't expect to get too far quickly.

Note that the road to Highwood Pass closes on December 1st. Also, there could be avalanche risk for trails in this area by November so check with a visitor centre before you head out after October.

Early season snowball fight in September at Highwood Pass 

13. Enjoy urban indoor adventures in Calgary

Looking at the weather forecast and wondering what to do with the kids on a cold weekend? Try out these suggestions below:

2021 Update: Please inquire with each business directly RE all Covid-related inquiries. 

Rocky Mountain Climb Park, Calgary Climbing Centre

14. Celebrate Christmas in November in Banff 

The Banff Santa Claus Parade returns on November 20th for 2021. Read more about this great annual event here

We like to stay overnight in Banff and to go for a hike (or a cross country ski some years) while we're out there. It's also a great time to visit the Banff hot springs or to check out the Christmas festival at the Banff Gondola.

2021 Update: Please contact Banff Tourism directly with all Covid-related questions and to find out how this year's events will look.

Christmas in Banff at the Banff Gondola

15. Become a wild mountain skater!

We often get a brief window mid to late November where some mountain lakes have frozen (thick enough to skate on) without being snow covered yet. We call this Wild Mountain Skating!

Skating on Vermilion Lake, Banff 

16. Enjoy November snowshoeing at Highwood Pass, Kananaskis 

We love visiting Highwood Pass in November because it's one of the first places where we can go snowshoeing (and by November we are more than ready for winter sports.)

Read: Family Snowshoeing Adventures - Elbow Lake 

ReadNovember Hiking and Backcountry Sledding at Highwood Pass 

Note that the road to Highwood Pass closes on December 1st. Also, there could be avalanche risk for trails in this area by November so check with a visitor centre before you head out.

November snowshoeing on the Elbow Lake Trail

17. Get the skis out for early season snow

This might actually be the biggest reason I love November. My skis FINALLY come up from the basement. We got so excited for this one year that we were practically cross country skiing on dirt at Kananaskis Village on November 6th one year. (and in 2018 I had my skis out in October!)

Early November snow in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis 

18. Plan a weekend getaway in the mountains 

We often plan a weekend trip away as a family in late November or early to mid December. We seek out a good spot for our annual Christmas card photo and we enjoy time playing in the snow together.

Read: Christmas Getaway at the HI Castle Mountain Hostel

Read: Christmas Getaway at the HI Mosquito Creek Hostel

2021 Update: Please inquire directly with each individual business RE their Covid-specific practices for travel. 

November weekend at Mount Engadine Lodge, Kananaskis 

19. Hit the slopes for the first time this season 

We are usually out at Nakiska Ski Area for opening day each November. And while there might not be a "lot" of snow, there's still enough to ski off the gold chair at the top of the mountain. We go out for a few runs and then switch to cross country skiing at the village in the afternoon.

Nakiska usually has 3-4 preview weekends starting early November with an official opening day at the end of the month.

Opening day at Nakiska 2018

And, for those who want to ski super close to home, check out the early bird winter alpine passes at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park

WinSport usually opens around mid-November.

Opening day at WinSport 2018

20. Make plans for an outdoor Christmas 

I know Christmas isn't exactly "autumn" in the Canadian Rockies, but my "Best of Winter" story doesn't specifically cover the months of November or December.

Hiking Johnston Canyon  in December 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Our Favourite Autumn Hikes for Golden Larch Trees

A larch tree looks like a normal evergreen tree until mid September when the needles turn bright golden yellow and begin to slowly fall off for the winter. New needles come back the following spring, making this a very unusual "evergreen tree" since it's definitely not green year round. In winter, you'd just see a bare trunk and branches (like any deciduous tree.)

Hiking through golden larch trees, Kananaskis

When and Where to See Golden Larch Trees in the Canadian Rockies 

The peak time to see larch trees in all their autumn splendor is from mid to late September here in the Canadian Rockies. (And in my experience, they're absolutely magical around the third weekend of the month.

Golden larch trees in Banff National Park 

Want to do a fall hike and see golden larch trees? The trails I've featured below are the most popular trails (for very good reason.) They are also the busiest so if you can go mid-week, do it!! If you have to go on Saturday or Sunday, start crazy early!! (Think 6am for Moraine Lake.) 

Larch Valley, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park 

If you want to hike in the Moraine Lake area of Banff, consider taking the shuttle bus to Moraine Lake from the Lake Louise overflow campground. 

Top Day Hikes to see Larch Trees across the Canadian Rockies 

Larch Valley, Moraine Lake (Lake Louise area of Banff National Park)

It's a 7 km return hike to reach the most magical valley at Lake Louise. Larch Valley is also referred to as "Valley of the Ten Peaks," and you'll quickly see why when you reach the first meadow. It is 11.6 km return if you go all the way to Sentinel Pass (which you should if your kids have the stamina for the 700 metres of height gain.) From the top of the pass, it's larch trees as far as the eyes can see in every direction.

Read more on Larch Valley here: What you need to know before doing the Larch Valley hike.

Glorious golden colors in Larch Valley at Lake Louise

Saddleback Pass and Mount Fairview, Lake Louise (Banff National Park)

Not as popular as Larch Valley, this can be a great option on a busy weekend. It is 3.7 km to the pass from where you have two options. 

Option one: scramble an extra 100 metres up to the summit of Saddle Mountain (to your left) for a total of roughly 700 metres of height gain. 

Saddle Mountain Summit looking down on Saddleback Pass

Option two: hike to the summit of Fairview Mountain in a total height gain of 1000 metres. It takes a big push at the end (and lots of candy) but the views are worth it!! And don't worry about not seeing enough larch trees because that's all you'll see in every direction from either summit.

Recommended Reading: First Summits - Mount Fairview and Saddle Mountain 

Mount Fairview Summit, Lake Louise

Lake Agnes Tea House, Lake Louise (Banff National Park)

While maybe not "as incredible" as Larch Valley or Saddleback Pass, this hike is much easier and better with young children. The hike is 6.8 km round trip to a beautiful tea house, small lake, and gorgeous little larch forest en route to the Big Beehive viewpoint above the lake. 

It is an extra 3.2 km round trip to reach the Big Beehive viewpoint above Lake Agnes with an extra 100 metres of height gain. (520 metres total)

Lake Agnes in late September

Follow this link for information on all hiking trails at Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. 

- and note that there is sometimes a restriction for trails at Moraine Lake requiring you to hike in a tight group of 4 people. See trail reports here.

No filter, no editing required. This is why people hike at Lake Louise in September

Mount St. Piran, Lake Louise (Banff National Park)

This summit is reached via the trail to the Lake Agnes Tea House. The hike requires gaining 900 metres of elevation spread out over 12+km round trip (if you do the full loop off the back side as we did.)

Hiking up the slopes of Mount St. Piran with larch trees around us

The hike can be dangerous if there is too much snow on the slopes, but the larch trees along the way are magical. (Check in at the Visitor Centre for conditions before starting this hike.)

Read about our adventures on this hike here:  First Summits - Mount St. Piran, Lake Louise

And see the route on All Trails here

Mount St. Piran Summit in Late September

The Big Beehive and the Devil's Thumb, Lake Louise (Banff National Park)

We haven't done this hike in the fall yet, but we recently did it in the summer. The views are incredible as you look down on both Lake Agnes (above) and Lake Louise. 

First hike to Lake Agnes and then continue around the lake where you'll start to see larch trees. Climb up switchbacks to the Big Beehive lookout over Lake Louise. 

If you still have energy continue up another viewpoint, the Devil's Thumb where you'll be looking down on larch trees as far as you can see.

Devil's Thumb, Lake Louise (and most of those trees below are larch trees)

The entire hike is 12 km round trip with over 1000 metres of height gain.

For more information please read my previous story below.

Mirror Lake below the Big Beehive (you can hike to the very top!)

Ptarmigan Cirque, Kananaskis 

Located at Highwood Pass in Kananaskis, this is a 4.5 km loop hike with a gorgeous alpine basin and a small larch forest. It sees less traffic than the Banff/Lake Louise hikes, but is still exceptionally busy. Try to hike mid-week.

Larch trees on the Ptarmigan Cirque Trail

Read more about the hike on the Alberta Parks website. And I highly recommend checking the trail report because the trail is often closed for bears. 

See the route on all trails here

Autumn at Highwood Pass: Ptarmigan Cirque

Pocaterra Cirque, Kananaskis 

A lesser known alternative to Ptarmigan Cirque, this hike starts from the same parking lot. It is a favourite for us with more larch trees than Ptarmigan Cirque, a gorgeous pond, and fewer crowds.

Trail directions for this unofficial trail: Start from the same parking lot as for Ptarmigan Cirque at Highwood Pass on Highway 40. Head down the trail towards the Highwood Meadows interpretive trail (and don't cross the highway as you would for Ptarmigan Cirque.) 

Follow the interpretive trail until you reach a sign that mentions staying on the official trail and respecting the environment. There is a smaller dirt trail heading left here off of the interpretive trail. That is your trail. (And yes, you are allowed to hike it.)

Pocaterra Cirque, Highwood Pass

Follow the unofficial trail into the cirque, heading for the pond shown in the photo below. The trail is relatively easy to follow for those who have good route finding skills. If you are inexperienced with hiking, please choose the well marked Ptarmigan Cirque trail instead.

The trail is roughly 7 km return to the pond and the cirque.

See the route on All Trails

Larch trees on the Pocaterra Cirque hike

Pocaterra Ridge, Kananaskis

This is an extension from the Pocaterra Cirque hike above. Total hiking distance from Highwood Pass to Little Highwood Pass along the ridge is approximately 11 km long. You'll also be gaining roughly 900 metres of height (and losing 600 metres.)

See the route on All Trails. 

Larch trees on Pocaterra Ridge, Kananaskis

You can read about our adventure hiking this trail here: Pocaterra Ridge, Family Hiking in Kananaskis 

Spectacular hiking on Pocaterra Ridge

Arethusa Cirque, Kananaskis 

This is a quieter trail option than the Ptarmigan and Pocaterra Cirque trails. You'll still encounter a fair number of hikers on a weekend though so get an early start.

The hike is 4.5 km in length (as a loop) with 378 metres of height gain. 

September snowball fight in Arethusa Cirque (it was an early winter!)

To add to your outing, consider hiking up to the summit of Little Arethusa.

And read about our adventures here:

Little Arethusa Summit above Arethusa Cirque, Kananaskis

Overnight Trips to see Larch Trees in the Canadian Rockies

Check out the following stories to read about a couple of amazing backcountry trips we've taken in late September.

Magical Autumn Hiking on the Bow Valley Highline Trail  - Shadow Lake to Gibbon Pass

Family Backpacking in Banff (no tent required) - Shadow Lake Lodge

Copper Mountain above Shadow Lake (larch trees in every direction below us)

Backcountry Banff with Kids - Egypt Lake  - Sunshine Village to Egypt Lake

Note that for the 2021 season you can not access Sunshine Village by shuttle bus or gondola so if you want to reach Egypt Lake, you'll have to hike the Healy Creek Trail from the Sunshine Village parking lot (rather than starting from the top of the gondola.)

Healy Pass on our Egypt Lake backpacking trip

And there's little point mentioning the magical Lake O'Hara area in Yoho National Park (since you need incredible luck to get spots at either the backcountry cabin or in the backcountry campground here,) but if you want to add this trip to your list of "places I'd like to see in my lifetime," you can find more information on the Yoho National Park website

You can also try to reserve spots on the bus to visit Lake O'Hara as a day trip but they fill up within two seconds of the reservation service going live each spring.

Opabin Basin, Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park 

More Suggestions for Larch Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

Check out these guides for more hiking suggestions:

Golden Larch Hikes - Parks Canada

8 Larch Hikes in the Canadian Rockies - Crowfoot Media

Best Larch Hikes in Kananaskis - Kananaskis Trails

Autumn hiking at Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park

Save this story for future reference because I will add to it annually as my family discovers new favourite hikes each autumn.