Opabin Plateau Circuit Trail – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#20 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Opabin Plateau Circuit Trail

Opabin Plateau Circuit
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  • Location: Yoho National Park
  • Trailhead: Lake O’Hara
  • Type: Loop
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Total Distance: 4.25 miles
  • Trailhead Elevation: 6,625′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,120′
  • Recommended Time: 2 – 3 hours
  • Recommended Season: Late-June to Mid-September
  • Reservations for the Lake O’Hara bus are needed (Otherwise add 7-miles—one-way—to hike up the road)

The Opabin Plateau Circuit

Opabin Lake
Opabin Lake with the Opabin Glacier and Hungabee Mountain.

The Opabin Plateau Circuit is another one of the amazing trails to be found when exploring the beautiful and secluded area of Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park. Opabin Lake is only one of six lakes to be discovered on this relatively short and moderately-easy journey into the plateau above Lake O’Hara. The ease of the trail and abundance of beautiful lakes tinted with various saturations of blue and green waters make this one of the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies.

West Opabin Trail

Opabin Plateau Circuit Map

A journey to Opabin Lake starts on the southern shore of beautiful Lake O’Hara. This trail is a loop and hiked in either direction. But, it is often taken counter-clockwise starting on the West Opabin Trail. The Opabin Plateau Circuit visits the shallow green waters of Mary Lake. Then it climbs up and past several lakes collectively known as the Cascade Lakes. Along this trail, there is an option to add in the Opabin Prospect Route which leads to an amazing overlook of Lake O’Hara and the surrounding landscape.

Cascade Lake
One of the several shallow lakes collectively known as the Cascade Lakes.

The Opabin Plateau

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel
The golden-mantled ground squirrel is a cute lunch companion, but please don’t share food with them.

The West Opabin Trail continues through the large alpine plateau full of summer wildflowers and small shallow lakes. Along the way, the path skirts Moor Lake and Hungabee Lake before ascending a small ledge and into the bowl-like area containing Opabin Lake. Opabin Lake is a great spot to have lunch although you will most likely have to share the spot with the local ground squirrels. Please don’t feed them. Our food isn’t good for them.

Opabin Plateau
Hungabee Lake on the Opabin Plateau above Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park.

East Opabin Trail

Continuing down the path, the trail turns into the East Opabin Trail as it loops back and descends into the meadow skirting the opposite shores of Moor and Hungabee Lakes. The descent continues along a cascading creek back to the shores of Lake O’Hara.

Opabin Plateau Pond
In addition to the many lakes found on the Opabin Plateau there are even more small, unnamed ponds like this one.

Lake O’Hara Access

Tree on the Lake
The Opabin Plateau Circuit starts and ends on the shore of beautiful Lake O’Hara.

The Opabin Plateau Circuit is a trail with one gorgeous alpine lake after another and is a must-do when visiting the Lake O’Hara area of the Canadian Rockies. As with all the hikes in the Lake O’Hara area, a seat on the bus must be arranged ahead of time.

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