Lake Agnes Teahouse
One of the most hiked trails in the Canadian Rockies, this destination offers it all: an enjoyable trail, stunning views, and a teahouse for refueling before the descent!
Time: Half-day (approx. 4-hour return trip)
Distance: 7 km (4.5 miles) return
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 367 m (1,204 feet)
Map: Lake Louise, 82 N/8 East
Starting Point: Drive the Trans-Canada Hwy west from Banff to Lake Louise exit (approx. 1 hour). Follow the main road off the hwy straight through two 4-way stop intersections to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Park in the public parking area to the left of the hotel. Follow the paved path alongside the shore of Lake Louise . Once you are past the hotel, the trail junctions. Veer right up a steady climb beginning the hike.
Summary: Lake Agnes was named in honour of Lady Agnes Macdonald, second wife of Canada 's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Lady Agnes visited the small lake in 1886, and her words, "This is lovely!" still ring true today. Hikers are treated to a mixture of trail that begins in old-growth forest of spruce and fir before leading to an open view of the waters below (the magical blue of glacier-fed Lake Louise ). Further up the trail, slightly less than one kilometre from the teahouse, Mirror Lake appears offering a nice view and a chance to rest. The "Beehive" looms above (see "Other Options" listed below), and the waterfall from Lake Agnes beckons a photograph. The trail continues up the right side of the waterfall, and leads to the rustic teahouse. Enjoy.
Little and Big Beehive trails continue from the teahouse (1-1.6 km). For those hikers with a bit of extra energy, either trail is a worthy excursion as the views are outstanding.
A full-day hike (14-km / 8.5-mile return trip) connects the teahouse at Lake Agnes to one at the Plain-of-Six Glaciers.
Keep in Mind:
Bring a water bottle and snack. Quick water stops are important every 20-30 minutes (more often if it is hot), especially if you are not used to higher elevations.
You are in the mountains - always carry an extra layer of clothing and rain gear.
Wear appropriate day-hiking shoes.
Slow your pace; slow your breathing. Smell the wildflowers; spot the wildlife (marmots and pikas always out and about).
Plan your trip
Stay on marked trails
Pack garbage out
Be cautious of wildlife
Be safe, be smart - hike within your limits