East of Golden and northwest of Lake Louise, the 11 km one-way route up to Lake O'Hara runs through an alpine valley shrouded by lodgepole pine under shadow of various snow-capped peaks. Watch closely for moose and elk. The cross country ski trailhead is located 20 km west of Lake Louise on TransCanada Highway. From the trailhead parking, the route on the Lake O Hara fire road climbs moderately for the first several kilometers before leveling off slightly near avalanche swaths. With the deep snow, there are few natural places for nice breaks until the lake where there is a day lodge, overnight lodge and hut.
For more excitement, check out the Ross Lake Circuit off the Lake Ohara fire road. This narrow trail heads east up 3.2 km to Ross Lake. From Ross Lake, two trails depart -- one to Lake Louise (7km) and another down to the 1A Hwy near the parking area.