Which Lake Louise Tea House Hike Should you do?

Plain of Six Glaciers tea house

Lake Louise has Tea House hikes?

There are two Lake Louise Tea House hikes. The first being the Lake Agnes Tea House, and the second, the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. Both have functional tea houses in the summer months. The staff hike up to the tea houses with groceries a few times a week. Both have amazing views along the way.

If you are doing the hike early or late in the season you will want to check their websites to make sure they are operational. The dates change each year, especially the opening dates. However, you can still do the hike even if the tea houses aren’t open.

Now if you are dedicated, it is possible to do both in one day, on the Highline trail, as they trails are connected. But for those of you who aren’t looking for a long day hike, this article is for you.

Tips for Both Hikes

Lake Louise Photo
  • Get to Lake Louse early. I would suggest to be there before 9 AM. This way you will avoid a lot of the crowds going up. The free parking lot can also fill up if you arrive too late.
  • Bring cash. I don’t believe either tea house takes card.
  • Take the classic Lake Louise lake photo before your hike. You will finish your hike in the afternoon, and will have to dodge people to get the photo you want.
  • Always check trail conditions, and hours of operation of the tea houses. The opening dates of these vary depending on trail conditions.
  • If you didn’t have a chance to grab coffee at home, check out the Trailhead Cafe in the Town of Lake Louise.

Lake Agnes Tea House with the Big Beehive

Trail Details

Completed: August 2012

Length: 10.3 km return. Lake Louise shore to tea house. 3 – 5 hours.

Elevation Gain: 7005 feet

The trail head for the Lake Agnes Tea House starts along the Lake Shore Trail of Lake Louise. From the trail head on you are consistently gaining elevation via, and will eventually hit a series of switchbacks.

I would suggest to arrive early as this tends to be the busiest of the tea house hikes.

Due to the constant elevation gain some people may find this trail a little difficult. Although Parks Canada rates it a moderately difficult trail.

This trail is scenic, with varies photo opportunities on the way up.

This is a great hike to do if you want to combine a short additional hike to it. Popular ones to choose from are: The Little Beehive, and Big Beehive. When I did this hike we chose to combine it with the Big Beehive.

After completing the first part of the hike you will arrive at Mirror Lake. 

After arriving you don’t have much further to go. Below is a picture of the Big Beehive that you will be hiking to the top of. You will see it right away after arriving at Mirror Lake.

Right before you continue on the trail to Lake Agnes there is a waterfall that make for a great photo op. You have about 20 minutes left to go.

Waterfall
When you arrive at Lake Agnes (below), the tea house will be on the right. To continue onto the Big Beehive you will go around the right side of the lake, and up a series of switchbacks.
Lake Agnes

After completing the switchbacks to the top of the beehive you will be treated to panoramic views. You can even see the Chateau from the top.

view from the beehive

Now all you have left to do is make you way back down.

Plain of Six Glaciers Hike

Trail Details

Completed: June 2020

Length: 5.3 km

Elevation Gain: 1215 feet

The trail head for the Plain of Six Glaciers hike begins where the Lake Shore trail ends. Literally go all the way to the end, past the trail head for the Agnes Lake Tea House. This hike took my mom, brother, and I 4 1/2 hours to complete, and we spent about a half hour at the tea house.

Lake Shore Trail

I found this trail to be a lot easier than the Lake Agnes Tea House hike as there is less elevation gain. Even my mom who has pretty bad asthma didn’t find the hike to be too hard.

After getting off the paved Lake Shore trail, you will spend less than a hour going through pine trees. If you are really into waterfalls there will be one on the left hand side. Personally, I would probably describe it more as a strongly flowing river.

Plain of Six Glaciers

Once you reach this landscape you are almost at the tea house. The trail heads back through the trees, and that is your indicator that your close.

When I completed this hike at the end of June, there were a couple parts of the hike where the snow hadn’t melted yet. If you are with any inexperienced hikers they may find that portion of the hike difficult.
Plain of Six Glaciers tea house

Due to COVID, you could not eat in the tea house, however they do have tables outside to use, as well as benches and tables in the public area.

I ended up getting the soup, and a tea here, while my mom and brother got the chili. Both were good. 

Plain of Six Glaciers tea house

View from the resting point, right next to the tea house. Once you get to this point in the hike there are bathroom facilities. You can also continue on with the Plain of Six Glacier hike that gets closer to the glacier. However when we were here the trail was still covered in snow, and it is not maintained.

One thing to consider is that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to being cold. So maybe the trail would seem alright to you… Sometimes I have no idea how I grew up in Saskatchewan.

Which One is Right for you?

Lake Agnes

  • Great scenic viewpoints on the way up
  • More elevation gain and steeper than the Plain of Six Glaciers hike.
  • Decent sized waterfall at the top
  • You can add on to this hike with shorter ones such as the Beehives.
  • There are a lot of people on this trail.

Plain of Six Glacier

  • Gradual elevation gain.
  • Views of the glaciers
  •  Less popular than the Agnes Tea House hike.

I hope this helped give insight as to which tea house hike is right for you. If you have any tips for others hiking these trails please leave a comment below.

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