Hiking to a tea house is a common activity while visiting Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. There are two options: hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House or taking the longer route to a second tea house along the plain of the six glaciers.
The hike for the plain of the six glaciers starts at the base of Lake Louise. There is quite of bit of parking and tourists here because a large hotel sits right next to the lake. Fear not – as you hike past the lake the crowds tend to disappear.We started early in the morning as we knew this was a long hike. It was threatening rain, but we ventured on. At the end of the lake there is a space where all the silt is settling from the glaciers above, creating a very cool flat delta of sorts. Another option to see this side of the lake is by renting a canoe.As we left the lake we started to ascend into a forest. During this part of the hike I had read that people have seen Grizzlies in the meadows below. I was initially worried about this, but as this is a well used trail, I would feel very comfortable doing this hike with just a bell to alert any nearby bears. We did not see any.
The ascent throughout the hike takes a few forms: fairly rocky trails like the one below and at times switch backs, but thankfully, there were not many rock scrambles before reaching the tea house.Once we were well in the forest, we started hearing the roar of white water and found we were hiking along a waterfall. The forest eventually ends and you reach an open area in which you can start to view the glaciers. We heard multiple avalanches during this part of the hike as it was July and even got to see some fall from the mountaintop glaciers.We were lucky to see some sun at this point, which added to the beauty of the hike. With the avalanches, vastness and Lake Louise’s aqua blue waters shrinking behind us, we found this part of the hike to be absolutely mesmerizing.As you hike along this plain toward the tea house, you will come to a part where you must cross a stone ledge. I have some fear of heights and this did not really bother me at all. It was damp, but not slippery and if you have the right shoes should not pose any issues. There is also a chain along the wall to hold if you wanted to. If you look at the photo above, this portion is on the far left of the picture.
When you finally reach the tea house, it is a welcome sight. All vegetarian food, cooked with propane stoves by young people who live up there all summer. The service and food were great….not to mention the ambiance of being surrounded by the glaciers and mountains while you enjoy some rest. I highly recommend the plain of the six glaciers tea.We were so enamored with the experience we were having we continued the trail towards the glaciers once we were refreshed by some tea, chocolate cake and lentil curry, and a short thunderstorm passed. Note: It is smart to bring cash to pay and it is not cheap, so be prepared.
As we continued past the the tea house, the trail turned very rocky approaching the glaciers and contained a lot of loose rocks. I found this to be by far the most difficult part of the hike, especially at the end where we were basically standing on a large pile of loose rocks.. In the picture below you can see the trail, and the tea house is in the forest at the top of the small waterfall on the left.Overall, this hike took us almost a full day, but what an incredible day it was!!! This was my favorite hike in the Canadian Rockies….so far. Enjoy some more photos below.View of tea house (left-middle) and hotel.
Glaciers at the end of the trail.