Hiking the Yukness Ledges

Nestled in a high bowl of lush alpine meadows, Lake O’Hara, 12 km’s from the nearest road, is surrounded by dozens of alpine lakes and framed by spectacular peaks permanently mantled in snow. As if that weren’t enough, the entire area is webbed by a network of hiking trails, about 30 in all over 80 km. What makes this destination all the more special is that a quota system is limited to 42 visitors per day. Enjoy some shots of the rocky Yukness ledges and our last hike featured from Lake O’Hara.

Leaving Lake Oesa to the Yukness ledges

This is a rocky hike that starts at Lake Oesa and is the Alpine route over to Opabin Lake beneath Yukness Mountain.

Below Mount Yukness , the trail is rocky and narrow.

High up on the Yukness Alpine Route the view of Lake O’Hara

To start the 2.2-km Yukness Ledge Alpine Route cross the Lake Oesa trail. Follow the paint markers south to Oesa’s outlet creek, then climb west to begin the rugged traverse beneath Yukness Mountain. Watch your footing on this rough, boulder-strewn section – the narrow ledges can be slippery and have sheer drops, but the views are magnificent.

Alpine Route below Mount Yukness

Lots of Boulders – watch your step

The route drops down to join East Opabin Trail at Hungabee Lake. Keep left to continue across the alpine meadows of Opabin Plateau, climbing for 0.4 km to Opabin Lake. Opabin Glacier clings to the headwall cliffs, wedged between Mount Biddle and Hungabee Mountain (the mountain that dominates the circle of peaks at the head of Paradise Valley to the east).

Rocky Trails

The name “Yukness” comes from the Nakoda (Stoney) first nation language meaning “sharpened with a knife.”

Close to the Opabin East Circuit

Trail leading to East Opabin Lake



  1. Lake O’;hara , one of my favorite hiking areas along with Mt. Assiniboine , Little Yoho Valley ( via the Iceline trail ) and Headwall off of highway 93. Good job Jack . Neil Robinson


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