I have been feeling nostalgic for hiking and trail running lately. Between crappy weather, low motivation, weekend getaways and injury recovery, this has been one of my least stellar years for trail adventures. I’ve barely tried any new trails, nor revisited old favorites. I had originally planned to be in the Rockies this week, but when I saw the forecast I quickly changed plans (postponed til later this month, really). What this all boils down to is, I miss the trail.
This got me thinking: I’ve written about my least favorite hiking trail ever, but haven’t considered the other side of the coin. I can’t come across as being so glass half empty that I only focus on the negative (though, let’s be honest, that’s a more accurate reflection of my general disposition), and so I present you with my favourite trail run/hike. Happy adventuring!
What is it? Lake O’Hara Access Road + McArthur Lake
Where is it? Yoho National Park, BC (just west of Lake Louise area)
How long is it? 28.3 km return
Why do you call it a “run/hike”? Because I am a lazy trail runner and won’t even attempt running up remotely steep trails. Therefore, I run the access road in/out (22 km return) and hike the 6.3 km return trail to/from McArthur Lake.
What you can I expect? Awesomeness, wonder and beauty start to finish, and a nice little work out to boot.
Why is it your favourite? I have run/hiked this trail at least a half dozen times over my years. I’ve visited the Lake O’Hara area to hike other trails at least another half dozen times. I absolutely, positively, never tire of the trails.
Some may say that the access road is uninspiring and that there’s no reason to run it since you can take a pretty cheap bus in/out. I always turn my nose up at shuttles and buses as the lazy person’s option (well, unless you’re actually carrying in all your backpacking and/or hiking gear), but also I genuinely believe the road has its own beauty. It’s also one of the few places you’ll find solitude.
Lake O’Hara and Lake McArthur, as destinations in their own rights, are both just simply stunning. Yoho is definitely my favourite park in the Rockies and this area is my favourite area within the park. I cannot think of a more perfect example of nature’s beauty. Need more convincing?
See Exhibit A:
And Exhibit B:
And I have about a million more pictures from over the years that will surely convince you to give this trail a whirl. For extra wondrous nature perfection, visit during larch season (usually starting as early as mid-september or as late as early October).
There you have it, a glimpse into one of my most happy of happy places and evidence that I’m not always a champion glass-half-empty whiner!