Did you know that tucked away in the forest of Lake Louise is a quaint tea house? The Lake Agnes Tea House hike is one of the best hikes in Banff National Park. This is a moderate hike that ends with stunning lake views and a rustic log cabin – and tea of course!
This trail is popular with both well-seasoned hikers and non-hikers with little experience. Most visitors in Banff and Lake Louise can complete this hike. While it is considered easy to moderate, care should always be taken.
Read on to find out everything you need to know when visiting the Lake Agnes Tea House.
Need more Banff travel inspiration? Check out some of these other posts:
- 4 Days In Banff Itinerary
- Best Things To Do In Lake Louise
- 4 Day Jasper Itinerary
- Valley Of The Five Lakes Hike
- The Big Beehive Hike
Lake Agnes Hike Stats
Round Trip Time: 2 – 3 Hours
Length: 7.4 km
Elevation Gain: 435 metres
Dog Friendly: No
Public Transit: Yes
Location: Lake Louise
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Getting To Lake Louise
The Lake Agnes Tea House is situated in the Lake Louise are so you’ll need to be able to get here to start your hike. Driving is the best way to get here as you can leave earlier and get ahead of the crowds. If you are driving from Banff, take the Highway 1 West until you reach signs for Lake Louise. The total drive time from Banff is around 40 minutes. From the town of Lake Louise it is about a 10-minute drive.
You can get the shuttle from the town of Lake Louise which is free, or the shuttle from the Park & Ride, but this must be booked in advance through Parks Canada. Shuttle tickets from the Park & Ride are $8 per person, $4 for Seniors, $2 for youths and free for children.
To take public transit from the town of Banff, take the Roam bus 8X. Check out the Roam bus timetables ahead of time to plan your trip.
What You Need To Know
- When does the Lake Agnes Tea House open? The Lake Agnes Tea House opens in early June and closes in October.
- What are the opening times at Lake Agnes Tea House? The opening times daily are 8:00am to 5:00pm.
- When is the best time to visit Lake Agnes Tea House? The best time to visit Lake Louise is during the summer months of June & July. Arriving early in the morning when the tea house opens is the best time during the day to visit. This is the best time to get seats inside the cabin or on the porch for the best views, and you’ll encounter less crowds.
- Does the Lake Agnes Tea House take cards? Yes. Credit cards are accepted at Lake Agnes Tea House, however I would recommend bringing cash and change also.
- Are there toilets at the Lake Agnes Tea House? Yes, there are pit toilets at the Lake Agnes Tea House. As far as outhouses go, they aren’t bad either!
- Are reservations accepted at Lake Agnes Tea House? No. The Lake Agnes Tea House operates on a walk-in basis only which is why it’s important to arrive early.
- Bring Layers – Temperatures in the mountains fluctuate even in the summer. Lake Agnes can get windy too, so bring layers to stay warm.
- You need to take your trash with you – The staff are responsible for hiking out all the trash from the tea house. This means being a responsible hiker and taking your trash with you!
- Do not throw your trash in the outhouse – While it may seem like a better idea than hauling rubbish down the mountain, the staff are the ones who will need to fish out your trash from the bottom of the outhouse.
History Of The Lake Agnes Tea House
Built in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Lake Agnes Tea House, also known and Lake Louise tea house or the Banff tea house, first served as a refuge for hikers and guests of the Chateau Lake Louise. It has been serving tea to people all over the world since 1905.
Although the log cabin in its current form was constructed in 1981, it still features the original tables, chairs and windows from the previous structure.
Lake Agnes was named after the first Lady of Canada, Lady Agnes MacDonald, after she visited the area in 1886.
The tea house currently serves over 100 loose-leaf teas from around the world. With over 100 teas on offer I made the decision to stick to the good ol’ classic, Lake Agnes Breakfast Blend. Some of the flavours featured include Iron Goddess of Mercy (Oolong), Rocky Mountain Energy (Herbal) and Mocha Rocha (Rooibos). A selection of sandwiches, soups and pastries accompany the tea menu – because what is tea without cake?
On top of the food and drink offerings, the tea house now sells merchandise. You can take home a bag of your very own Lake Agnes tea or purchase a t-shirt, hoody or travel mug as a reminder of your visit.
How To Get To The Lake Agnes Tea House
Getting to the lake Agnes tea house does require some effort and a bit of a hike – but I can assure you it is worth it! The hike to Lake Agnes Tea House is 7.4 km long and an elevation of 435 metres. The hike there and back takes on average 2 hours depending of fitness level and hiking experience.
The trailhead starts at the shore of Lake Louise. Head along the right side of the lake and you’ll see a wide trail that veers off to the right. This is the trailhead and start of the hike.
After a few minutes you will begin to gain elevation. As you get higher you will start to notice the lake on your left start to drift away. There are beautiful views all along this section.
After about 2kms you’ll come to the first switchback in the hike. This section turns into a densely forested area. Carry on for another kilometre until you reach Mirror Lake. This is one of two lakes you’ll encounter on this hike. Mirror Lake is a beautiful green lake that features reflections of the surrounding tress. It’s also a great place to stop and take a break.
Follow the signs for Lake Agnes to continue onto the tea house. Just before arriving at the tea house you’ll spot a cute little waterfall that sits at the bottom of a set of wooden stairs, these will lead you up to the tea house. You’ll notice a log cabin come into view – this is the beautiful Lake Agnes Tea House!
There is minimal seating at the Tea House however you can order and then find a bench or area to sit outside around the lake. On colder days many people opt to sit inside, so you may need to wait if you want a seat inside the cabin.
In my opinion the best seats are outside on the balcony where you can enjoy your tea with a view. One side faces Lake Agnes and the other overlooks the valley and mountains.
The Descent Back Down To Lake Louise
The hike down from the tea house and back to Lake Louise is the same trail you used to get here. The trail down is always easier than the trail up so the hard work is over! If you’ve got lots of energy left still and want to continue on your hiking adventure, there are so other hikes you can do from Lake Agnes. The Big Beehive, Little Beehive, Devil’s Thumb and Plain of Six Glaciers can all be accessed from the tea house.
Where To Stay In Lake Louise
- The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – If you want the ultimate Lake Louise experience, a stay at the Fairmont will not disappoint. The Chateau has been a part of Lake Louise since 1890 when it started as a simple log cabin. Now you can enjoy luxury steps away from the beautiful Lake Louise.
- Paradise Lodge & Bungalows – Located just a stones throw away from Lake Louise, the Paradise Lodge & Bungalows offers the full rustic log cabin experience in Lake Louise. You can book a variety of lodging options from suites to individual cabins.
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