Monday, 11 January 2010

Hiking Trails - Lake Agnes

[1 - Lake Louise and Mount Victoria - click to enlarge]

The hike to Lake Agnes starts on the lakeshore trail of Lake Louise in front of the Chateau Lake Louise. This hike is considered moderate which starts out with an elevation of 1735m (5691 ft) with a gain of 400m (1312ft). The distance one-way from the Chateau Lake Louise is 3.6km (2.2 miles).

[2 - From lakeshore trail looking NW to the Beehive - click to enlarge]

[3- Lake Louise from trail]

[4- Lake Louise trail - click to enlarge]

After leaving the lakeshore trail the hike takes a steep switchback climb to Mirror Lake. When I did this particular journey to Lake Agnes I had the luxury of going on horseback, something I would do again to spare the knees.

[5- Lake Agnes trail, view west to Mount Victoria - click to enlarge]

Here the hiker makes their way through Englemann spruce and subalpine fir.

[6 - Looking down to Lake Louise and the Chateau from the trail - click to enlarge]

[7 - Lake Agnes trail looking SW to Mt Victoria and glaciers - click to enlarge]

[8- Western Anemone]

[9- Beehive and Mirror Lake - click to enlarge]

[10 - From the Lake Agnes Trail - Big Beehive - click to enlarge]

[11 - Here the outflow from Lake Agnes can be seen - click to enlarge]

[12 - Lake Agnes outflow - a closer look]

[13 - East view to the Bow River Valley from Lake Agnes outflow - click to enlarge]

[14 -Benches at Lake Agnes Tea House - click to enlarge]

The tea house was first built in 1901 and later replaced in 1981 with this replica.

[15 - west view of Lake Agnes Tea House]

Lake Agnes is located in a hanging valley.

The tea house serves sandwiches, soup, hot meals, fresh scones, cake and excellent varieties of tea throughout the summer.

[16 - Lake Agnes - click to enlarge]

The lake is named after Lady Susan Agnes Macdonald (wife of the former prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald) who made the climb to the lake in 1890.

From the teahouse is a trail along the north shore of the lake that will take the hiker to the top of the Big Beehive where there are fabulous views for 1km (0.6 mile) with an elevation gain of 120m from the teahouse – steep switchbacks up a north-facing ridge.

[17- Typical greedy chipmunk - click to enlarge]

[18 - Big Beehive Trail next to Lake Agnes]

[19 - Lake Agnes from the Big Beehive Trail]

At the crest the trail forks, to the right it descends to the Plain of Six Glaciers and to the left it continues 300m to a gazebo lookout. This is a place for a person who has no fear of heights.

[22- Beehive lookout toward the ski runs to the east of Lake Louise town - click to enlarge]

[23 - Map of Lake Agnes hike is line to the right, and to the left to the Plain of Six Glaciers]

Photo Credits: [1] Alex Art CC=flickr, [2]-brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, [3]-totten photos / photos by mark CC=nc-nd-flickr, [5][6][10]-Inspiration Point Studio CC=nc-nd-flickr, [7][15][17][18][22]-Maggie T CC=nc-flickr, [8][9][11][12][16]-retropc CC=nc-sa-flickr, [13][23]-subindle CC=nc-nd-flickr, [14]-dangingnomad CC=nd-flickr, [19]-12th CC=nc-nd-flickr,


Cloudia said...


Aloha, Barbara

Comfort Spiral

David Cranmer said...

And on horseback. Lucky you. My kind of adventure.

Lana Gramlich said...

A friend of mine lived in Lake Louise for quite a few years. No wonder he didn't want to go back to Ontario...

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for the excellent hike, Barbara! It's wise you did that on horseback! How long did it take you to do the whole tour?

Yolanda said...

I have hiked the plain of the six glaciers - wish I had gone to beehive and Lake Agnes as well, but all of it is pretty incredible! Love the area - we have a house in Golden, BC so we spend lots of time in Yoho and Banff. I love looking at your pictures - it transports me to my most favorite place on this earth!

debra said...

This looks like an amazing place. It's so gray here, much of the time, that the sunshine and clear skies are wonderful things to see.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks for this. It might be the only way I'll do this hike.

Charles Gramlich said...

That chipmunk is a chippunk looks to me like. Got a wad of chewing tobaccy in his cheek.

Teresa said...

Love the pictures, Barbara. They are magnificent.

Barrie said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I'd love a cup of tea from the teahouse with a view like that! BTW, my sister worked at Lake Louise one summer. ;)

Steve Malley said...

That is indeed a beautiful trail!

Barbara Martin said...

The horseback excursion was done on a whim near the end of a beautiful day of sightseeing with cousins who were in Alberta from London, Ontario for standardbred racing. We had about an hour, so the guide took us via shortcuts up to Lake Agnes and back with a gallop along the lakeshore trail back toward the stables. The gallop was a thrill because it was a strict rule not to gallop any of the stable string horses. They were made to walk the last half mile in to cool them out. Those shortcuts were made for mountain goats and I found the height and drops bearable providing I looked at the horse's ears. Thinking back on this, the horses must have liked it as it would have been a change from their regular role of packing tourists along a familiar trail; whereas our route took us off trail and up steep inclines, over a rocky outcrop, through brush and evergreens. We passed by Mirror Lake above it rather than next to it. At Lake Agnes the horses were allowed a 10-minute breather while my cousins and I were allowed to stretch our legs. The teahouse was closed for the day as it was in September.

A future post will be on a hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers with a visit to the tea house there.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
Another stunning virtual tramp, and more meaningful when I cannot get out myself. Yet to just read your words and linger over the photos, and feel the mountain breeze... Thank you.

Barbara Martin said...

Lake Louise and area have special meaning for me as most visitors will have realized by now. I have carried on from my late mother and her aunt (who had worked two summers at the Chateau Lake Louise and stayed in the servants' quarters which was the Deer Lodge, and who had the pleasure of meeting the Duke of Windsor when he visited Alberta). My mother with her family went every August to Banff and Jasper to escape the ragweed season. They often camped in large construction tents on what is now the golf course below the Banff Springs Hotel

Mihai A. said...

Beautiful photos and presentation, Barbara. Oh, how I miss a vacation ;)

Merisi said...

Cheeky chipmonk - I think that is a particularly cute one! :-)

What a wonderful trail, I held my breath as we climbed higher and higher, er, as I scrolled lower and lower! And you went on horseback? You have my deepest admiration, the idea of sitting high on a horse while looking down those steep mountain paths, I could not do it! Mules down to the bottom of Grand Canyon is another no-no for me! ;-)

Just love the idea of a proper teahouse right there in the mountains! Everything always tastes better after a vigorous hike , I can only begin to imagine the heady experience of having tea up there.

I was one of those fanatics lucky enough to have a friend who would do long lonely hikes in the mountains with. I remember fondly one particular hike, high in the Alps, from one mountain top to the next, where we would be up there a whole week and have all our food supplies on our backs. Only when we came down the mountains after a whole week, would we be able to stay overnight in a hut that had a hut-keeper who would also supply a simple warm meal. I remember dried pea soup and a Republic Schmarrn as he called the Kaiserschmarrn ("We got no Emperor nowadays" he would justify the name change, smiling in his Lederhosen). A Kaiserschmarrn is similar to a simple souffle with eggs and a bit of flour and raisins, but cooked in a pan, turned once the bottom is golden brown and after the risen giant pancake is cooked through, cut into bite-size pieces. Served right from the pan, with a dusting of powdered sugar it tastes like Manna from Heaven, in the thin mountain air!

I can't wait to get back to the mountains, thank you for this wonderful reminder of summer and mountain trails!

Bernita said...

We do have great lakes and rocks!

Barbara Martin said...

Bernita, we do indeed...west and east!

L.A. Mitchell said...

I would *love* to have lunch in that tea house. Thanks for the mental escape, Barbara :)

Sandy Bass NC said...

Absolutely the most exhilirating experience ever! I had my first cup of black currant tea there and was hooked for life. I would rank the climb on the difficult side of moderate, but I'm not a seasoned climber or hiker. I asked for water and was given a cup and sent out to the glacial lake to scoop up my own. Now THAT is real glacier water!

Barbara Martin said...

Sandy, welcome. It's always nice to hear from someone who's tramped up to the top.