The thrill of a gamble is all the more exciting when the prize is a must-see natural wonder. This draw to see a gorgeous hidden lake in the Rockies takes it to a whole new level. Thousands have entered the lottery-style draw to bask in the views of Lake O'Hara, and you could be one of the lucky ones chosen next year.
Parks Canada explains that the limited access extended to the public is a move designed to "maintain Lake O’Hara’s unique alpine environment" within the Yoho National Park.
Last year, the agency received over 15,000 applicants who wanted to visit the area, but the spots were taken up online within minutes, as explained by Calgary Herald.
This first-come-first-serve basis was then scrapped as of 2020 so that "online users have a chance at securing a reservation," said Parks Canada.
Now it's all based on a random draw, so we hope you're feeling lucky.
But at least you can throw your hat in the ring because let us tell you — the views are totally worth it. Surrounded by stunning valleys and lush greenery, this crystal-blue lake is serene and powerful.
The lack of cell reception can be a true gift in helping you unplug and become one with nature.
But unlike other lakes in the province, getting to this lake isn't exactly easy. You can only do it by chartered bus, as mentioned in a super convenient guide on Parks Canada.
The bus departs from the Lake O'Hara parking lot, which is 12 kilometres west of Lake Louise.
That's where the draw comes in, really. To get you a seat on the bus. Visitors have a one-month period to get those applications in, for which they must pay a non-refundable charge of $10.
They can also select six different days for their planned trip and apply for six seats maximum. So there is some flexibility there if you're dying to bring a couple of friends along for the trip.
Camping seems to be the go-to activity for this envied spot. If you're going to be tempting fate to get a ticket, then you might as well make the trip last as long as it's possible.
There are thirty campsites, and you have to reserve them early. Unfortunately, for the campgrounds, the reservations still operate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
So you might have to fight to get those reservations. But we're rooting for you.
If you want to avoid the grind of cooking on makeshift wood stoves, there are other accommodation options.
There is the Elizabeth Parker Hut and the Lake O'Hara Lodge. The Lodge offers dining, so you're all set once you're there.
British Columbia has some real gems scattered across the province when it comes to ultimate scenery destinations, but this exclusive alpine hotspot takes the cake in many ways.*
You may have missed it for this year but that doesn't mean you can't get started on dreaming up a super fun plan for the summer of 2021. Spots are book for this season, and you know they'll go quickly for next season. Stay tuned for cancellations and information online.
In the meantime, you can occupy yourself with other destinations to visit this spring.
Price: $10 for applications
Address: Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park
Why You Need To Go: The views you get at this crystal-blue lake by the hanging mountains and cliffs will make the wait well worth it.
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*This article has been updated.