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Hiking trail

Lake Agnes Loop

Hiking trail · Alberta
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Trailhead at Lake Louise
    / Trailhead at Lake Louise
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • The stunning Lake Louise
    / The stunning Lake Louise
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • Some of the first trailmarkers
    / Some of the first trailmarkers
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • Getting started on the dirt path
    / Getting started on the dirt path
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • Gaining elevation over the lake
    / Gaining elevation over the lake
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • The Junction at Mirror Lake
    / The Junction at Mirror Lake
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • Mirror Lake
    / Mirror Lake
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • / Views from the ascent towards Lake Agnes
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • / Falls from Lake Agnes
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • / Staircase to the Teahouse
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • / Lake Agnes Teahouse
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
  • / Lake Agnes
    Photo: Kellen MacFadyen, Macs Adventure
1650 1800 1950 2100 2250 m km 1 2 3 4 5 6

This quick ascent allows for spectacular views of Lake Louise from above and the opportunity to taste tea made from glacier water at Lake Agnes Teahouse.

moderate
6.8 km
3:00 h
395 m
395 m

Lake Louise may be the most visited location in all of Banff National Park. This trail starts on a paved path that leads right out to the banks of the lake in front of the Fairmont Chateau. 

 

Snap a few pictures of Lake Louise with the mountains in the background before following your route notes to the right around the edge of the lake. The pavement will disappear quickly as a dirt trail takes form and you start up the switchbacks towards Mirror Lake. You'll pass a small waterfall before ascending the final staircase up to Lake Agnes Teahouse. This is a great place to stop for a hot drink and snack as the teahouse serves tea, coffee, biscuits, soup, and other small offerings. 

 

Take in Lake Agnes and the views overlooking Lake Louise before looping back down to Mirror Lake and then rejoining the same path you walked up back to Lake Louise.

Author’s recommendation

Lake Louise is one of the hottest tourist attractions in the Canadian Rockies, and for good reason. Be prepared to have company on most of the trail in this area. 

outdooractive.com User
Author
Hannah Lafleur
Updated: September 08, 2018

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2129 m
Lowest point
1736 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Bears are present and active around all hiking routes. Be sure to review The Parks Canada information regarding travel in bear country to familiarize yourself with best practices. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it. 

The weather in this area can change quickly. Even if you start a hike with blue skies, it could easily be storming (or even snowing) by the afternoon. Check the weather report daily to adjust your hiking schedule as needed.

Trail Conditions can vary based on the season and weather. Check with a local visitor's center or visit the Parks Canada Website for the most up to date trail conditions. Always be prepared to turn back you feel that snow or rain makes a trail unsafe. 

  • The second half of the loop from Lake Agnes back down to Mirror Lake is quite steep and worn down by walkers. Be sure to secure your footing and use trekking poles for balance.

Equipment

We recommend packing at least bear spray, hiking boots, warm layers, water, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, warm hat, rain gear and money for the tea house.

Tips, hints and links

  • Restrooms: There is a large public bathroom for Lake Visitors in the Parking Lot. The Fairmont Chateau restricts the use of their bathrooms to guests and diners only.
  • Cell Service: You might have a small amount of service at the trailhead, but for the most part there will be no service on the hike.

 

Points of Interest:

 

Lake Agnes Teahouse 

This is definitely the main highlight of this route. Read more about it below in Food & Drink. 

 

Food & Drink:

The teahouses on this route are a rare treat. Both teahouses were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900's as a way to tempt people to travel out west. Today they remain fully functional with offerings of tea, coffee, soup, cake, biscuits, and other small snacks. They accept credit cards and American cash at higher fees, so bring Canadian dollars if you have them. 

 

There is also a restaurant, deli & cafe in the Fairmont Chateau if you'd like to sit inside to eat after your hike. The upscale Alpine Social is situated by the windows overlooking the lake but can be quite busy throughout the lunch & dinner hours. 

 

For more places to eat and grocery shop in Lake Louise Village, review your driving route notes. 

Start

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (1737 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
51.417130, -116.218179
UTM
11U 554366 5696503

Destination

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Turn-by-turn directions

0.0km - With Lake Louise before you and the Fairmont Chateau directly behind you, TURN RIGHT to follow the paved path along the edge of the lake.

1736m - Keep an eye out for the blue signposts attached to a tree here where the trail splits. The path on your left runs along the shore of the lake called the “Lakeshore/Plain of Six Glaciers Trail.” You’ll BEAR RIGHT to follow the “Lake Agnes Trail.”

2.4km - The trail will open up to present a great view of Lake Louise below. Take in the scenery before continuing STRAIGHT ON the trail as it travels up the mountain.

2.8km - You’ve arrived at Mirror Lake and an intersection that you will return to on your way back from Lake Agnes. With the lake in front of you TURN RIGHT and follow signs to Lake Agnes.

3.2km - At this intersection, the Mount St. Piran Route Trail veers off on your right, BEAR LEFT to stay on Lake Agnes Trail.

3.5km - Enjoy a small waterfall that cascades fresh from Lake Agnes above before walking STRAIGHT ON the trail as it follows a wooden staircase up to the lake and Teahouse above.

3.5 km - Take in the stunning Lake Agnes and have a cup of tea at the Teahouse. You might even catch one of the servers filling a giant metal teapot with water from the Lake. Once you’ve rested and refueled from the ascent get ready to make your way back down the mountain. While facing the lake with the teahouse to your right, TURN LEFT to follow the Lake Agnes Trail. You’ll see multiple small trails leading off to either side directing hikers to beautiful wooden benches. Be sure to follow the main trail or make your way back to it if you deviate off to sit on a bench.

4.0km - At the intersection with the Lake Louise Highline Trail, TURN LEFT following signs for Mirror Lake.

4.1km - A steep downhill will circle you back down to Mirror Lake. TURN RIGHT to follow the Lake Agnes trail back down the way you came to end up back on the shores of Lake Louise.

Parking

Parking at the trailhead it extremely limited as the lots fill up fast with visitors. If the parking lot is full, you will likely see automated signs in stating so along the road in Lake Louise Village. Luckily, there is a free shuttle from the overflow parking lot (which is along the Trans Canada Hwy) to the shores of Lake Louise. 

 

The shuttles run daily from May 18 to October 8 and depart every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The last shuttle leaves the Lake Louise Lakeshore at 5:30 p.m.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
6.8 km
Duration
3:00 h
Ascent
395 m
Descent
395 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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