Trail Length: 7k return / 2-3hrs
Elevation Gain: 385m
Ages: Good for kids 5+ (saw some younger ones, but this is a *real* hike, and they should be keeners)
The hike itself is not simple, but it’s not terribly tough either. It’s a 3.5k climb from the shore of Lake Louise, past Mirror Lake and up to Lake Agnes.
Lake Agnes was named for Lady Agnes MacDonald, the wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister. In 1886, Lady MacDonald visited Lake Agnes and was delighted by the beauty of this idyllic lake and the hanging valley it sits in.
The Lake Agnes Tea House was originally built 15 years later, in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, as a refuge for hikers, and started serving tea in 1905. The log building was replaced in 1981 but still features the original windows, tables and chairs.
The Lake Agnes Tea House offers a great rustic menu at the top but it’s table service only. If it’s busy you might be waiting a long time, so bring your own snack or pick some up at the Chateau Lake Louise before you head up.
The Chateau Deli is just off the main lobby of the Chateau Lake Louise, but be warned, it’s got luxury hotel prices ($4 for a plain croissant).
Once you’ve enjoyed the view, and taken a break, more hiking options await as you can choose to hike Little Beehive, Big Beehive, or take a path to the back of Lake Louise and past another teahouse at the Plain of the Six Glaciers. Many just choose to turn around and head back the way they came – which is still a gorgeous walk.
If you’re not into the hike, you can get a horse ride to the waterfall just below Lake Agnes and take just a short stair climb to the tea house.