Day 2 – 8/19/2016
You probably have heard about Lake Louise, a lot about it if you are planning a trip to Banff. Words and pictures can not justify how beautiful it is, you simply have to see it with your own eyes.
This is Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier casually lay in front of us in a bright sunny morning. There were a lot of people by the lake as it is very accessible. We got a parking spot inside a parking lot at 10:30 am, that was a miracle.
After taking some customary pictures, we started our long and rewarding hike.
Lake Louise to Lake Agnes – 3.5 km and 405 meter elevation gain, moderate, a must!
The first half hour from the shore of Lake Louise follows a broad, moderately graded trail through dense forest. At the first switchback marks a first break in the trees where you can get a glimpse of pale turquoise water of Lake Louise.
After another 0.8-km of hiking, we reached Mirror Lake – a tiny sink lake that takes its name from its round looking-glass appearance. The dark, layered cliffs of Big Beehive loom above. At the time, I didn’t know we ended up on the summit of that gigantic dome!
Mirror Lake is indeed tiny. I walked around it in less than 10 minutes, with multiple photo stops. Here is me on the other end of the lake, right at the foot of Big Beehive.
After a steep ascent, we reached Lake Agnes. The famous teahouse sits atop the cliff on the north side of the lake. It serves tea, refreshments, and light snacks (CASH only! 1 US Dollar = 1.1 CAN Dollar 🙁 ). It was a very welcoming break for us. We had strawberry green tea ($14 a pot) and tea biscuit with jam ($6 for 2), they were delicious! The waitresses, who are also the bakers, hike up the mountain, stay in the cabin for 5 days, then hike down again for their weekend break. Most of the food were brought up there by human or horses.
There were many chubby ground squirrels running around begging for food. They were all very much at ease with human, some even willing to pose for pictures. (Do NOT feed the animals!)
Lake Agnes to Big Beehive – 1.6km, steep climb, moderate, great view!
Leaving Lake Agnes, we could have gone on to Little Beehive, I guess we didn’t like crowd too much, we decided to hike to the 2255-m summit of Big Beehive mountain. After a steep series of switchbacks, we arrived at the Beehive summit ridge. Traversing along the rocks, we finally reached a gazebo-style shelter. From top of Beehive, we had a great view of the turquoises-colored Lake Louise, the Chateau and Bow Valley.
From here, I wish we had gone to the Six Glacier Teahouse and Plain of the Six Glacier. This goes on to my Bucket List for my next trip to Banff.
Instead, we took part of the Plain of the Six Glaciers Circuit, then turn left toward Lake Louise, walking along the gushing river of glacier water feeding into Lake Louise. (We were out of water by the time we got here. Thanks to our Sawyer mini water filtration system, we were able to enjoy the cold and refreshing glacier water.)
And reached this silty “beach”.
On the way, we saw some brave people rock climbing (probably should get on my Bucket List as well)
Lake Louise Lakeshore – 1.9-km, easy, very easy walk
It was relaxing strolling along this beautiful lake with ever-changing view of the peaks.
Back in town of Banff, walking down Main Street, we saw this amazing view of Sulphur Mountain in the golden sunset.
Bucket List: Hike from Lake Louise to Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse then onto Plains of Six Glaciers (5.5km and 340m elevation gain) to the foot of Mount Victoria which was capped by Victoria Glacier.