Lake Louise is well-known for two alpine tea houses; the Lake Agnes Tea House and the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. The hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House is one of the most famous trails in Banff National Park. The 4.5 mile hike (roundtrip) begins at Lake Louise and winds uphill until you arrive at a beautiful log cabin hidden in the forest alongside Lake Agnes. The cabin was originally built in 1901 as a refuge for hikers. In 1905, they began serving tea and they have continued to serve visitors from around the world for more than 100 years! This family-run tea house is situated at an altitude of just over 7,000 feet.
The trail was very easy to navigate, however the hike was moderately challenging due to the 1,300 foot elevation gain. But, it was well worth the effort because the views along the way were magnificent! Part of the trail overlooks Lake Louise, which of course, is just as stunning from above.
The trail also passes Mirror Lake. This trio of lakes (Louise, Mirror & Agnes) is often referred to as the “Lakes in the Clouds.”
While hiking between each of the Lakes in the Clouds, you will also have fantastic views of the Canadian Rockies.
As you are nearing the tea house, you will see the waterfall that cascades from Lake Agnes. Once you reach this waterfall, you are nearly there! Just a few more steps to climb.
By the time we reached the tea house, I was ready to indulge in a tasty treat. They offer a menu of fresh, homemade goods, all made on-site. Rob enjoyed a hearty bowl of soup coupled with their homemade oatmeal brown bread. I opted for the sweeter side and chose the apple crumble (a local favorite – rightfully so). And while at a tea house, of course we had to get some tea! They offer more than 100 varieties of loose leaf teas, which makes it difficult to choose. Being in Canada, we figured you can’t go wrong with anything maple, so we shared a small pot of the Maple Black Tea and it was delicious! Note to visitors: The Lake Agnes Tea House only accepts cash (Canadian & American). It would be an awful shame to hike all that way only to realize at the top that you only have plastic!
While there, enjoy the view down below of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau.
If you are feeling really adventurous, try the “Tea House Challenge” and visit both tea houses in one day. The Highline Trail connects both tea houses to form a 9 mile loop. Or if hiking just isn’t your thing, but you really want to see an alpine tea house, then you can make the trek on horseback. Note to visitors: There are horses on the trail, so watch your step!