Panorama of the Lake McArthur hike in Yoho National Park
Panorama of the Lake McArthur hike in Yoho National Park

Lake McArthur hike

Yoho National Park
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Trail up of the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaViews of the valley on the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaViews around Lake O'Hara on the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaTrail of the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaTrail goes along the ACC Elizabeth Parker Hut on the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaAutumn views of the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaScrambly part of the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaTrail in the Lake O'Hara region on the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, CanadaView of the Lake McArthur Hike in Yoho National Park, Canada

Lake McArthur hike

Distance: 5.2mi
Elevation: 1,017ft
Time: 2.5-3.5h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.9 Overall Rating
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The hike to Lake McArthur is a gem. This is another walk in the Lake O’Hara region, so access is limited by Parks Canada. Lake McArthur is an awe-inspiring hike that you should absolutely put on your hiking bucket list.

Lake McArthur Hike Map

Getting there

To access this hike, you must either hike in on an 6.8mi access road or else make reservations on the Lake O’Hara bus through Parks Canada. These reservations fill up early, but cancellations happen.

I’ve done this 50 people have done this
I want to do this 76 want to do this route

About

When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Lake McArthur
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Lake McArthur

Starting at the Le Relais Day Shelter, head into the forest uphill coming to a junction where you can choose to go straight and pass the ACC Elizabeth Parker Hut or go left into the Big Larch Trail. We prefer to head past the ACC Hut, which sits in a beautiful meadow. The hut is wonderful, but access inside is only granted to ACC members with reservations.

From here take the well-maintained trail, eventually reaching Schaffer Lake. Walk around the lake and make sure you don’t take the All Souls Route (off to the left). Continue on the right side of the fork and travel through a wonderful boulder field and into alpine meadows. There will also be a path veering off for Odaray Highline trail to the right.

Continue uphill to McArthur Pass, where the trail forks. Both trails go to Lake McArthur, and we typically go up on the Low Level Trail and back down via the McArthur Highline Trail to create a circuit. As you come down to the water, savor the incredible blue of Lake McArthur below you. Continue down to the lake and explore the region for yourself. On a nice day, this is a wonderful break spot.

Continue on your path forming a circuit back to the trail junction. From here, travel back to Schaffer Lake, where you can retrace your route up or else go down via the Big Larch Trail. The Big Larch Trail isn’t as scenic as the route you ascended, but is wonderful in autumn as the colors change. You reconnect with the main trail just above Le Relais.

Insider Hints

  • For a full day, start with McArthur Lake and then take the All Souls Route over the shoulder of Mount Schaffer and continue all the way along to Wiwaxy!

  • Coffee is available at Le Relais.

Comments

isaacanderson 2 years ago

I had a gorgeous weather for the hike - clear blue sky, frosty morning but the sun came out later in the day.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Aleysha C. 2 years ago

This is a lovely lake. A place you shouldn't miss

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4h 30m Time Taken
WendyMag. 2 years ago

Absolutely fantastic. Beautiful lake and well maintained trail.

9.0 Overall Rating
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cordellitzco 2 years ago

such a good one. not too long or hard but the views are insane. wish i could get to ohara this year

Eric Parats 2 years ago

Very pretty views the whole way, not heavily trafficked as well. No snow but very chilly air. Everything was clear and perfect!

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Tara Green 2 years ago

Love this peaceful Lake

9.0 Overall Rating
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4h 00m Time Taken
Macky O. 2 years ago

Another epic hike in Yoho. The gorgeous view of the meadows and lakes were awe-inspiring. Would absolutely love to visit again.

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Kenneth D. 2 years ago

Absolutely gorgeous views. Started at 11am and there were hardly any people on the trail.

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Heinrich P. 2 years ago

The wind was so strong when we did this hike. I tried to record the views from the top, but we failed to capture its beauty. Wish my phone camera was of better quality.

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Rixy H. 2 years ago

short and moderately easy hike...the views of alpine meadows and lakes were incredible..

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23 Comments Show all

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