Hiking from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes

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The hike from Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes Teahouse was one of the excursions on our trip that I was most excited about!

Since we weren’t able to visit Lake Louise on the day we had planned and ended up exploring Takakkaw Falls instead, we thought it would be ok if we checked out of our hotel early on Friday morning and stopped to hike the trail before leaving Banff to head home.  Luke was pretty tired, but I think knowing that this one last hike would make me (and Patronus!) happy was important.

According to their website, the Lake Agnes Teahouse was originally built in 1901 and began serving tea four years later.  While the building has since been rebuilt, it still contains its original windows, tables and chairs.

The hike began just past the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise, a hotel that looks almost like a castle nestled along a large turquoise hued lake at the base of a cluster of mountains.

If you’re interested in hiking this trail, one thing you should know is that while the distance from Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes Teahouse is relatively short (just over two miles each way), it’s almost entirely uphill the whole way.  That said, if you’re a hardcore hiker or simply up for a bit of a challenge, this trail rewards you with beautiful scenic views and optional treats!

After hiking up an incline through a heavily wooded area for about half of the trail, we came to a switchback with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Louise.

Overlooking Lake Louise

We continued our ascent.  Although the trail was mostly paved, the second part of the trail had a good deal of rocks and roots to navigate.

Eventually, we reached Mirror Lake, a small alpine lake at the base of The Beehive rock formation.  Here, Luke and I took a breather and listened to the sounds of falling water while we let Patronus explore the shores and walk into the icy cool water.

Once we were all sufficiently rested, we hit the trail again.  After hiking a bit further, we came up to some people who were exploring the trail on horseback.  Patronus looked at the horses quizzically, decided they didn’t seem to pose any sort of threat to me or Luke, and continued on.  The rest of the trail was covered in horse poop.

Luke and Patronus stopped for another break while I continued on ahead so I could order our treats and have them ready when the two of them made it to the top.

One thing I did not know about the Lake Agnes Trail was that water trickles from Lake Agnes beneath a small foot bridge and plunges down the side of the cliffs into neighboring Mirror Lake below!

I can’t exactly say that I was excited to see the giant wooden staircase I had to climb for my final ascent up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, but the waterfall plunging just next to it definitely served as a morale booster!

After climbing the tall set of stairs, I had finally reached the teahouse!

Luke, Patronus and I sat amongst the pines beside the cool, clear lake enjoying the fresh air, munching on the mountain bars (so good!), and sipping on lemonade and strawberry loose leaf tea.  Patronus enjoyed some water and treats while random people walked by petting him and scratching his ears.

When we were done with our breakfast lunch brunch, we took a few more moments to enjoy the Lake before heading back down the mountain.

We would have absolutely loved to continue exploring, both around Lake Agnes and throughout Banff in general, but the road was calling and we had to go.

The hike back to our car was much easier than the hike to the teahouse, mainly because we were going downhill.  Every so often we took a few moments to take in the picturesque scenery around us or let people pet Patronus, but for the most part, the return trip went pretty quickly.

None of us were happy to be getting back into the car, but Luke and I were definitely happy to be taking our boots off after our hike down the mountain!

Hike Details:

Trail Distance:  7 km out and back with several interesting opportunities to extend the hike.
Difficulty:  Moderate
Highlights:  Alpine Lakes, Waterfall, Historic Teahouse, The Beehives
Map:   Hiking Project

Lake Louise, Alberta


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