Lake Louis is one destination that completely lives up to the hype. The stunning colored lake at the base of the Mountains is truly spectacular. The best way to explore this incredible lake is by taking a hike and the best hike is the Lake Louse Beehive hike including a visit to the tea house and a walk along the edge of the lake.
There are several options for hiking around Lake Louise. In this article, we will describe the Lake Louise Beehive Hike, trail to the Tea House and lakeside trail. This hike can be done in parts or hiked as an incredible loop.
In our experience, this is one of the best hikes in the area and the best way to see the lake from above. On this hike you visit several lakes, a waterfall, a delta, and a small summit. Below we explain exactly what to expect on this hike including some general information to help you plan your visit as well as exactly what we did on this hike.
Overview of the Lake Louise Beehive Hike, Tea House, and Lakeside Trail
Distance: 6.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2500 feet Difficulty: Challenging
There are several ways to do this hike and options for exploring the region around Lake Louise. In this post we will share exactly how we did this hike as well as the different options.
The first option is to do this hike, but skip the beehive section. There is a small spur to the summit of the beehive. This will save you about 0.4 miles and 400 feet of elevation gain.
Another option is to hike to the teahouse on the Lake Agnes Trail, then continue on the Lake Louis Highline Trail and return on the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail.
Finally you can also hike up the Lake Agnes Trail and back down the way you came.
All of these trails give you great views of the lake below and pass several other pretty lakes along the way. If you want the best views, you should hike up to the top of Big Beehive. We also enjoyed hiking at the far end of the lake on the Plain of Six Glacier Trail where the glacier water enters the lake.
We did this hike as a group of 6 people and ended up splitting up for the second half of the hike since we have some tired hikers. A few of us went up and over Big Beehive and the other people hiked the Highline Trail and back along the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail along the lake.
The Lake Agnes Teahouse
One of the highlights of this hike is a visit to the Lake Agnes Tea House. This small and cozy teahouse nestled on the shore of the alpine lake offers visitors snacks and tea.
This is a very popular spot and if you are visiting in the summer, you are likely to encounter lines to get a seat or take out. We arrived around 1 pm and they were just starting to run out of food at the tea house. We waited about 20 minutes to get a table and thouroughly enjoyed our visit.
Map of Beehive, Lakeside and Tea House Lake Louise Hike
Below you can see a map of both recommended hiking loops. One loop (in red) includes the Lake Louise Beehive Hike. The yellow route is slightly easier but doesn’t get you the views from the top of Big Beehive.
Things to Know About the Beehive Hike Lake Louise
How to Get to Lake Louise
Lake Louise is located in Banff about 1 hour and 45 minutes west of Calgary.
If you’re traveling by car, simply follow the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) to reach the charming village of Lake Louise, nestled in the heart of Banff National Park. For those flying in, the nearest major airport is Calgary International Airport, from which you can rent a car or take a shuttle service for the scenic drive to Lake Louise.
You have 3 main options for getting to Lake Louise – you can either drive your own car and park in the paid lot right at Lake Louise, take the shuttle, or book a guided tour. Below you can see a bit more about each option.
Your first option is to drive your own car to Lake Louise. It is possible to drive and park directly at Lake Louise (you can not drive yourself to Lake Moraine if you are also planning to visit this gorgeous lake).
There is a large parking lot at Louise that does fill up early in the morning. You will need to pay to park (the fee was $21 when we visited in 2023). If you are driving your own car you will need to arrive before 7 am to get parking.
Park and Ride with Shuttle
If you are planning to explore Lake Moraine you will need to either take the shuttle or book a tour – you can’t drive your own car to Moraine Lake.
Taking a shuttle is a great option and is really easy and is what we did. It is free to park at the park and ride and you can book your shuttle for a specific window throughout the day. We found the shuttles efficient and frequent.
You can find great information on the Canada Parks Website about the shuttle service. This is where we booked our online tickets. This ticket is good for shuttle service for the entire day. You can book your tickets in the spring, or there are additional shuttle tickets release 2 days prior. Reservations fill up quickly!
Take a Tour
Your final option is to book a tour or private transportation to visit Lake Louise. This is the most expensive option but can save you time. We did not get shuttle tickets until 2 days before our visit. If we were unable to get shuttle tickets, we were planning to book this tour.
When to do the Big Beehive Hike
The best time of year to do the Big Beehive Hike and Tea House adventure at Lake Louise is during the late spring to early fall months, typically from June to September. This window offers hikers the optimal blend of pleasant weather and manageable trail conditions.
As the snow melts, the trail becomes accessible. The warmer temperatures make the hike comfortable, while the clear skies enhance the panoramic views of the turquoise-hued Lake Louise and the surrounding rugged peaks but are also the most crowded.
The Agnes Teahouse also sells out some of their food by midday. If possible try to do this hike in the morning. This hike up to the teahouse is popular so earlier in the day you will have less people on the trail.
What to Pack for Hiking the Beehive and Lake Louse Hike to Teahouse
We saw people hiking in all types of outfits on this trail – including high heels! The trail up to the Agnes Lake Teahouse is well packed and wide and you can do this hike in most clothing. We always recommend hiking in clothes that breathe and are comfortable as well as wearing hiking boots/shoes and carrying essential items to stay safe on the trail.
Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks.
Hiking the Big Beehive, Teahouse and Lakeside Trails
We did this trail during July of 2023. Here’s how we hiked this route.
We started the hike in the late morning up the trail to Lake Agnes. This trail is steady and steep, but also wide with easy footing. There were many other people hiking this trail in the middle of the day, so if you are looking for a quieter experience, try to start the hike early in the morning.
In general, this part of the hike takes about 1-2 hours. The trail passes through dense evergreen forests for the first section and you will slowly climb above Lake Louise. There are limited views for the first part of the hike but once you gain some elevation, there are a few places where you can see down to Lake Louise.
As the trail gains altitude, the path becomes slightly more rugged.
At about 3 km, you will reach Mirror Lake. This small lake is well protected and can offer beautiful reflections when the wind is calm. From the lake you have a clear view of the Big Beehive above. There are ample places to sit and take a break before continuing on the trail to Agnes Lake.
From Mirror Lake, it is about 0.8 miles to Lake Agnes. This last section of the trail is slightly steeper with some switchbacks. You also have more views out across the valley. The trail passes a few junctions and eventually reaches the base of the waterfall right below the teahouse. There is a small area to stand at the base of the Lake Agnes Waterfall, but it can still be difficult to get a good view of the entire falls from here.
After leaving the waterfall it is just a short distance to Lake Agnes and the Teahouse.
The Lake Agnes Teahouse is a very popular spot to stop for a snack. There is also lot of rocks and places to sit along the lake if you’ve brought your own food.
At the teahouse, you can either order food for take out or get a table. The teahouse offers sandwiches, baked goods, and tea.
From the teahouse, you have incredible views of Lake Agnes and the jagged mountains surrounding this small valley. The lake is not quite as vibrant as Lake Louis but the entire view with the mountain and lakes is stunning.
After enjoying the teahouse and the lake, you have several options for finishing or continuing the hike.
The easiest option is to turn around here and go back down the way you came up.
Alternately, you can continue on to several different hikes including Big Beehive, Little Beehive, Mount St Piran, and Devil’s Thumb.
We were hiking as a group of 6 and the two youngest decided not to hike Big Beehive. Dave and Hadley and Fin hiked up over Big Beehive and down towards the Plain of Six Glaciers. The other 3 of us hiked down the far side of the waterfall and along the trail towards the Plain of Six Glaciers where we met up for the hike back down to the lake and back along the shoreline.
Hiking to Big Beehive: To get to Big Beehive from the Teahouse, continue out along the side of Lake Agnes. From the end of the lake, the trail ascends steeply via a series of switchbacks. At the top, you will reach a trail junction – turn left to get to Big Beehive (the trail from here is generally easy compared to the switchbacks).
After completing this spur, continue left to descend down to the Lake Louis Highline Trail.
Lake Louis Highline Trail: this is a lovely trail with some views out across the valley to Lake Louise and far fewer people than the trail to Lake Agnes. The first section of this trail from Lake Agnes is mostly flat and makes for fast walking.
After about 2 miles, you will reach a junction. We turned left here and began to descend down to the valley. This part of the trail is fairly overgrown compared to the rest of the trail and steep with a series of switchbacks.
The trail reaches the valley and meets up the the Plain of Six Glacier Trail. Turn left towards the Lake Lousis Lakeshore Trail. On your right, the glacial runoff cascades in a silty stream and there are several areas where you can see the rushing water.
If you want to hike more, you can turn right here and continue up into the valley further
Eventually the trail reaches the start of the lake and the valley opens up into a delta where the silty stream meets up with the lake. You may pass a few rock climbers in the area and the trail become wider with some sections of the boardwalk. This was one of our favorite sections of this hike.
Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail: The walk back along the lakeside is the easiest part of the hike, and also the most popular. The trail is generally easy and you will find many hikers who are enjoying this walk from the far end of the lake. This trail takes you back to the start of the hike.
This is one of the best hikes in the area and truly has it all. Since there are many alternatives to the trails, you can easily adapt this trail to your groups needs.
Try to start early in the day and we suggest visiting both Mirror Lake, Lake Agnes, the summit of Big Beehive and the far end of Lake Louis.
You can find more information about the Best Lakes in Banff.
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Exploring US National Parks.
Glacier National Park is about 4 hours south of Banff and makes a great week long itinerary.