The Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

I previously mentioned that we did a couple of daily hikes while on our honeymoon, but that I didn’t plan on writing about all of them. But the Lake Agnes Tea House hike? This was just plain special!

We had originally planned to hit up Lake Louise during the first few days of our trip, but Mother Nature and her snow foiled that. Never the types to be deterred, Will, Tals, and I returned the following week to find beautiful weather and sunshine. Now THIS is the way to hike to the tea house!

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

The trail begins at the ever-famous Lake Louise outside of Banff. If you’ve never seen Lake Louise, it’s definitely worth the trip alone. The view from the shoreline is stunning and the nearby Fairmont Chateau hotel is quite pretty. That said, it can be ridiculously crowded during peak hours, so the Lake Agnes Tea House hike was a perfect way to {kind of} avoid the hordes.

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

We scoped the mileage ahead of time and it was the perfect distance for Tals: roughly five miles round trip. And like most of the hikes we experienced in Canada, it’s fairly mundane until you get above treeline. Thick trees lock in the trail so you can’t see anything save for the occasional viewpoint. In a way, it’s great for building anticipation: I had read that Lake Agnes and the tea house were beautiful, but I couldn’t see ANYTHING until I reached the top!

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

The last half mile grew steep but I barely noticed. We finally crept above the trees and views of the Big Beehive covered in golden larch trees loomed ahead. It was ridiculously beautiful.

After climbing one last staircase of steps, we reached the tea house on Lake Agnes.

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

In itself, Lake Agnes would be a hike worth doing. The green-turquoise water stood in stark contrast to the larch-covered hillsides surrounding the water, providing a cornucopia of colors for the naked eye. But of course, we had to try out the tea house too!

The Lake Agnes Tea House was originally built in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a refuge for hikers . The building was replaced with the existing log structure in 1981, but it still features the original windows, tables and chairs. And while all of that is cool, it’s not the best part: they make all of the food with zero electricity!

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

Most of the staff are college students who live at the tea house during the summer season. A few sleep in the tea house while others “commute” from Lake Louise and hike the five miles round trip every single day. On the return trips, the staff members hike out the trash, regularly carrying two big bags of trash per person every single day. Water is pumped in from Lake Agnes, and boiled accordingly for all of their cooking needs. As for supplies? The staff hikes those up 2-4 times per week too!

Since we had Tally, we couldn’t eat inside the tea house. Instead, I took Tals for a walk down the shoreline to find a cozy picnic rock while Will went inside and ordered food. I had no idea what to expect from the oldest tea house in Canada, but it did not disappoint. I assumed he would return with hot cocoa or tea–you know, easy foods and drinks to make without electricity– but instead, Will came back with a tuna sandwich {on homemade bread, of course!}, a blueberry lemon scone and a chocolate chip cookie.

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

If that doesn’t make for an absolutely perfect picnic on a rock, I don’t know what does!

We sat on the rock, eating our snacks and basking in the sunshine while soaking up the views from the lake. I shared some of the sandwich with Tals and she happily licked her lips in contentment. Truly, it was an absolutely flawless day and it epitomized what I visualized of our honeymoon: family time, beautiful weather, outdoor fun….and good food!

Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

If You Go on the Lake Agnes Tea House Hike:

Mileage: 4.5 miles roundtrip {more if you hike past the tea house on the shore or continue to the Big Beehive}

Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet from Lake Louise

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: If you’re in decent shape, it shouldn’t take more than a half a day. We lounged around with our picnic for at least two hours though, so be prepared of extra time!



  • Reply Carla at

    From the canine companion to lounging with the tea this sounds like my idea of perfection <3

    • Reply heather at

      I may have even taken a snooze on the rocks 😉

  • Reply Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine at

    You’re right, this is a super special day hike. I am amazed that they make all of that without electricity. And it’s so cool that it’s a place for college kids to work too. That’s not typically what I think of when I hear electricity-free tea house. I’m glad Tals could come along for the hike too. It looks beautiful! Love those hikes that lead you on. 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      Right?! When we do our winter hut trips, there is always an old-fashioned oven in the hut (i.e. it is heated through wood-burning fires) but I’ve never been able to figure out how to work it!

  • Reply Amanda Brooks at

    The worst part of travel for me is that I want to write about all of it because it’s all so amazing, right? This look gorgeous and you know I’m a hiking fan, so putting this on the bucket list.

    • Reply heather at

      It’s always so hard deciding what to share and what isn’t worth it!

  • Reply Alisa @ Go Dairy Free at

    A hike to a tea house? That sounds like my perfect trip!! I’ve still never been too stunning Banff – it’s definitely on my bucket list. We came so close on our ski adventures many years ago in BC, but snow made the roads to hazardous (and closed!) to get that far east.

    • Reply heather at

      I’m dying to head up that way this winter for some skiing!

  • Reply Sara in Sweden at

    wow that looks sensational!!

    • Reply heather at

      Thanks lady!

  • Reply Natalie @ Free Range Human at

    The pictures are ridiculously beautiful! Ever since we went to Waterton a few years ago, going a little further on to Banff has been on my bucket list. Which Kurgo harness did you guys use for Tals? We’re looking at getting one for Gus, but I wasn’t sure which one would be best for hiking specifically.

    • Reply heather at

      It’s their Go-Tech Adventure Harness. It’s not bulky so she really likes it!

  • Reply Chrissa - Physical Kitchness at

    Can I live where you live? Like, I’ll cook and clean your house!! Beautiful photos. Amazing place!!

    • Reply heather at

      Haha, this was our honeymoon– not where I live!

  • Reply Julie at

    Looks beautiful!


  • Reply Jessica @ Nutritioulicious at

    That first picture is just gorgeous! Looks like a fabulous place to vacation!

  • Reply Kelly at

    Beautiful! I’m headed to Banff for 8 days in January, for some skiing. I’ve never been there and haven’t been snow skiing in YEARS. We’re also going to try dog sledding and ice climbing. So looking forward to it!

  • Reply Sandra Laflamme at

    What an incredible place to hike! And a perfect day to enjoy eating outside with Tally! I loooove the color of that lake!

  • Reply 2015: My Favorite Adventures - Just a Colorado GalJust a Colorado Gal at

    […] around the Canadian Rockies for two weeks, stopping and camping whenever and wherever we wanted. We hiked every day and nestled up in our van every night, drinking wine and planning the next day’s adventures. […]

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