Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Alberta, Canada
Roughly 7 hours
Easy to Moderate
Useful links: banfflakelouise.com
The Full Report:
After a long drive up I finally arrived in the wonderful land of Banff National Park. From Portland, it took roughly 12 hours, stopping in Spokane as a good halfway point to rest.
The first hike I set out to do was a recommendation by one of my friends, called the Tea House hike, off Lake Louise. We (Harold and I) got a very early start, arriving at the Lake Louise parking lot around roughly 5am MT (which by the way feels SO early to my PT body). I enjoyed the sunrise on Lake Louise and headed up the trail towards the Tea House on Agnes Lake.
The trail is very well maintained, clearly marked and great for beginners who want a hike with a reward but are still dipping their toes in!
I hiked up and reached a little lake with a map where some trails intersect. I jetted off trail to do the Little Beehive which had some amazing views but lots of mosquitoes. I headed back down towards the tea house and was quickly rewarded with a beautiful little building on a beautiful little lake up in the mountains.
I decided to keep hiking in hopes of stopping at the other tea house for a cold drink. I ducked around the lake, traversing around with wonderful views of both the mountain ahead of me and the lake below. The trail quickly changes, switch backing about 8 times to the bottom of the Big Beehive. I diverted from the trail and headed over. Stopping for lots of pictures and a second breakfast break before continuing along.
The trail dips back down some switch backs and connects to the Six Plain Tea house trail. This trail heads right back towards the glacier. Here I had to hop across some snow fields (which Harold enjoyed very much) and climb up to the tea house. I kept going back, following all the signs, to the Plain of Six Glaciers lookout.
It was a little bit of a scramble at the very end but you got to be up close and personal with the mountains. Keep in mind when traveling in and around mountains the risk of avalanches. We headed back as it was getting busy at this point as it is a very popular hike and went to the Tea House. It was pretty busy there as well so we opted to sit around in the river to cool off. The route back was busy as you got closer to Lake Louis but beautiful with some crags off to the left of the trail and beautiful views of the suuuppperr blue lake.
We ended up hiking roughly 12 miles (though all of the signs are in the metric system) with all of our wandering around and extra trails. All in all, it was a wonderful hike and very accessible for beginners to experienced hikers because all the trails are connected and very clearly marked. You could make it as short or long as you'd like and still enjoy yourself!