Lake O’Hara History
Recorded Lake O’Hara history begins when the region was first spotted from the summit of Mount Stephen by J.J. McArthur, a government surveyor working along the CPR line in 1887.
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert O’Hara, an Irishman who heard about the area from McArthur, visited it shortly thereafter and was so impressed he returned repeatedly to explore its lakes, creeks and mountains. In 1894, American mountaineer Samuel E.S. Allen completed an amazing day trip to the area from Paradise Valley near Lake Louise via Wastach, Wenkchemna and Opabin Passes. From this trip, and a subsequent visit, he provided the Stoney names for many of the local peaks.
The Alpine Club of Canada held one of its earliest mountaineering camps at Lake O’Hara in 1909, and by 1911 the region was popular enough among alpinists to warrant the construction of a cabin, Wiwaxy Lodge, in the Alpine Meadow just west of the lake. The CPR constructed the Elizabeth Parker Hut in the meadow in 1919 and soon after added a number of small cabins to accommodate the growing number of visitors. During the winter of 1925-26 Lake O’Hara Lodge was constructed on the lakeshore, and all of the Alpine Meadow cabins, except the Elizabeth Parker Hut, were moved to the site.