Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Spectacular Big Beehive And Lake Agnes Tea House Hike


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Wileen Corona



Welcome to the enchanting world of the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike. Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, this picturesque trail offers breathtaking scenery and a dose of history. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a nature enthusiast, this hike is a must-do when exploring the Canadian Rockies.


The Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike is renowned for its stunning panoramic views, pristine alpine lakes, and the charming tea house nestled on the shores of Lake Agnes. It’s a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration, allowing you to immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness while indulging in a cup of hot tea.


As you embark on this adventure, be prepared to be captivated by the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The hike will take you through lush forests, rocky slopes, and alpine meadows, rewarding you with awe-inspiring vistas at every turn. Whether you’re surrounded by towering peaks or tranquil turquoise lakes, the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies will leave you spellbound.


Beyond the natural beauty, the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike holds historical significance. The tea house has been serving weary hikers since 1905, transporting visitors back in time to an era when rustic mountain lodges provided sanctuary in the wilderness. This charming sanctuary embodies the pioneering spirit of the early mountaineers and offers a chance to experience a unique blend of history and hospitality.


Whether you’re seeking a challenging hike or a peaceful retreat, the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House trail has something to offer. So, lace up your boots, pack your camera and embrace the adventure that awaits you. Get ready to create lasting memories and embark on a journey that combines natural wonders and cultural heritage in the heart of one of Canada’s most beloved national parks.


Getting to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House

Before you can embark on the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike, you’ll need to make your way to the trailhead. Banff National Park is easily accessible by car or public transportation, making it a convenient destination for outdoor enthusiasts from all over.


If you’re driving, you can reach Banff National Park via the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). The town of Banff is the main gateway to the park, and from there, you’ll need to drive to the Lake Louise area. Once you arrive in Lake Louise, follow the signs to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The trailhead for the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House is located near the lake.


If you prefer to use public transportation, you can take a bus or a shuttle from Calgary International Airport or from the town of Banff to Lake Louise. The ride offers stunning views of the Canadian Rockies, making it an enjoyable part of the journey.


Once you’ve arrived at Lake Louise, you’ll need to find parking near the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Keep in mind that parking can be limited, especially during peak tourist seasons, so it’s advisable to arrive early in the morning to secure a spot. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the shuttle service that operates between the Lake Louise Overflow Parking Lot and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.


From the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, follow the signs for the Lake Agnes Trail. The trailhead is well-marked and easily accessible. It’s important to note that parking at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or using the shuttle service may incur a fee, so be prepared to pay for parking or transportation.


Before embarking on the hike, make sure you have the necessary provisions. Wear sturdy hiking boots, dress in layers, and carry a backpack with essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a map of the trail. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before setting off to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Now that you know how to get to the trailhead, it’s time to hit the trails and begin your adventure to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House.


The Trailhead and Route

The trail to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House begins near the shores of Lake Louise, offering a convenient starting point for hikers of all levels. The trailhead is easily accessible and well-marked, ensuring a seamless start to your adventure.


From the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, follow the signs for the Lake Agnes Trail. The trail begins with a gentle incline through a forested area, providing a cool and shaded start to your hike. As you ascend, you’ll notice the trail opening up to stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks.


The trail to Lake Agnes, with the Big Beehive as its highlight, is approximately 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) one way, offering a moderately challenging hike that can be completed in a few hours. The route is well-maintained and well-traveled, making it suitable for hikers of various experience levels.


The trail takes you through a variety of landscapes, including serene meadows, rocky slopes, and lush forests. Each section of the trail offers its own unique charm, taking you on a journey of discovery as you make your way towards Lake Agnes and the Big Beehive.


As you continue hiking, you’ll reach Mirror Lake, a small and picturesque body of water that reflects the surrounding mountain peaks on calm days. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility of this spot before continuing on towards Lake Agnes.


The final stretch of the hike is a bit steeper and more challenging, but the reward is well worth the effort. As you reach Lake Agnes, you’ll be greeted by the sight of a pristine alpine lake nestled in a bowl-shaped basin with towering peaks as the backdrop. It’s a picturesque setting that feels like something out of a postcard.


From Lake Agnes, the trail continues upward towards the Big Beehive. This section is narrower and steeper, but the views that await you at the top make it all worthwhile. As you reach the summit of the Big Beehive, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of Lake Louise, the surrounding mountains, and the turquoise waters of Lake Agnes.


Take your time to bask in the beauty of this vantage point before retracing your steps back to the trailhead. The return journey offers a chance to appreciate the scenery from a different perspective.


The trail to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House is a loop, allowing you to experience the different landscapes along the way. The total distance of the hike is around 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles), and the duration may vary depending on your pace and the time spent at the tea house and lookout points.


Now that you have an idea of the trailhead and route, it’s time to prepare yourself for the incredible views that await you at the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes.


Incredible Views from the Big Beehive

As you make your way up the steep and narrow trail towards the Big Beehive, you’ll soon be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking views in Banff National Park. The summit of the Big Beehive offers a panoramic vista that will leave you in awe.


From this elevated vantage point, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on the turquoise waters of Lake Louise, nestled at the base of the mountains. The view is simply mesmerizing, with the shimmering lake contrasting against the dramatic backdrop of rugged peaks, creating a scene of unparalleled beauty.


Not only does the Big Beehive offer stunning views of Lake Louise, but you’ll also have a bird’s-eye view of the equally enchanting Lake Agnes. The small alpine lake lies peacefully in the valley below, surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains. The vibrant colors and tranquil setting make Lake Agnes a sight to behold.


As you scan the horizon from the Big Beehive, you’ll notice the majestic peaks of the Canadian Rockies stretching as far as the eye can see. Snow-capped mountains, towering pinnacles, and jagged ridges create a dramatic backdrop that showcases the raw beauty of the region. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture these breathtaking vistas.


Another remarkable sight from the Big Beehive is the sprawling expanse of the surrounding forests. As your gaze extends beyond the lakes and mountains, you’ll witness a sea of evergreen trees carpeting the slopes and valleys, creating a serene and picturesque landscape that is characteristic of the Canadian Rockies.


The views from the Big Beehive are not limited to the breathtaking natural scenery. You’ll also have the opportunity to witness the majestic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, perched on the shores of the lake. The iconic hotel, with its stunning architecture and picturesque setting, adds a touch of elegance to the already awe-inspiring panorama.


Whether you visit the Big Beehive during the peak of summer, when wildflowers dot the meadows, or in the autumn, when the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and gold, the views from the summit are guaranteed to be awe-inspiring. Each season offers a unique perspective on this natural wonder, making it a hike that can be enjoyed year-round.


Take your time to soak in the grandeur of the scenery, and don’t forget to capture these incredible views in photographs to cherish the memories of this unforgettable hike.


Now that you’ve experienced the incredible views from the Big Beehive, it’s time to descend and make your way to the historic Lake Agnes Tea House.


Lake Agnes Tea House: A Step Back in Time

Located on the shores of Lake Agnes, the Lake Agnes Tea House is a hidden gem steeped in history and charm. A visit to this quaint tea house is like taking a step back in time to the early days of exploration and mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies.


Since its establishment in 1905, the Lake Agnes Tea House has been welcoming weary hikers with its warm hospitality and delicious treats. The tea house was originally built as a refuge for hikers and mountaineers, providing a cozy spot to rest and recharge amidst the stunning alpine surroundings.


As you approach the tea house, you’ll be greeted by the enticing aroma of freshly brewed tea and homemade baked goods. The traditional log cabin structure adds to the rustic ambiance and is a nod to the early mountain lodges that dotted the Canadian wilderness.


Step inside, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a cozy and charming atmosphere. The interior is adorned with historical photographs and artifacts, giving you a glimpse into the past and the rich mountaineering heritage of the area.


The main attraction, of course, is the assortment of refreshing teas and delectable homemade treats. Savor a cup of aromatic tea, brewed with water from the nearby glacier-fed Lake Agnes, while enjoying a slice of freshly baked pie or a hearty sandwich. The menu features both sweet and savory options, catering to a range of tastes and dietary preferences.


The Lake Agnes Tea House prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, and many of the baked goods are made from scratch daily. Each bite is a burst of flavor that perfectly complements the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Take a moment to relax on the tea house’s outdoor deck, which offers breathtaking views of Lake Agnes and the towering peaks beyond. The serene setting, combined with the soothing sounds of nature, creates the perfect backdrop to savor your tea and indulge in the tranquility of the mountains.


It’s worth noting that the tea house operates without the use of electricity, providing an authentic and off-the-grid experience. This commitment to sustainability aligns with the harmonious relationship between humans and nature that is deeply rooted in the Canadian Rockies.


Before you leave the tea house, be sure to leave your mark by signing the guestbook, joining the long tradition of hikers who have savored this unique experience. It’s a testament to the enduring allure of the Lake Agnes Tea House and the memories created within its walls.


After enjoying a delightful break at the tea house, it’s time to make your way back down the trail, cherishing the memories of this charming step back in time.


Now that you’ve experienced the historical charm of the Lake Agnes Tea House, let’s continue our journey as we descend from the tea house back towards Lake Louise and the trailhead.


Descending from the Tea House

Leaving the cozy ambiance of the Lake Agnes Tea House behind, it’s time to begin the descent back towards Lake Louise. As you make your way down the trail, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings from a different perspective.


The descent from the tea house follows the same trail you took to reach it, offering familiar views but with a new sense of appreciation. As you descend, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the breathtaking sights once more, bidding farewell to the serene Lake Agnes and the towering peaks that surround it.


The return journey allows you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of the landscape. The trail winds its way through lush forests and opens up to meadows adorned with wildflowers, providing picturesque scenery at every turn.


With each step downwards, you’ll find yourself gradually reentering the realm of civilization. Views of Lake Louise will come into sight, reminding you of the stunning beauty that awaits you at the end of the trail.


As you continue your descent, you may encounter fellow hikers making their way towards the tea house. This presents an opportunity to exchange stories and experiences, fostering a sense of camaraderie among outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate the wonders of nature.


Pay attention to your surroundings as you descend, as the trail can be steep and rocky in some sections. Take your time and use caution, especially if the weather conditions are unfavorable. It’s always important to prioritize your safety while enjoying the beauty of the mountains.


As you approach the end of the trail, take a moment to reflect on the memories and experiences you’ve gathered during your adventure to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House. The hike offers a perfect balance of challenge, serenity, and natural beauty, providing a fulfilling and rewarding experience.


Once you reach the trailhead near Lake Louise, you can take a moment to relax and revel in the accomplishment of completing the hike. Take a stroll along the lake’s shore, dip your toes in the crystal-clear water, or simply find a peaceful spot to enjoy the stunning views one last time.


As your Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House journey comes to a close, remember to pack out any trash or belongings you may have brought with you. Leave the trail and the pristine wilderness just as you found them, preserving this natural oasis for future generations to enjoy.


With memories of incredible views, the charm of the tea house, and the sense of accomplishment from the hike, you’ll be left with a lasting connection to the beauty of Banff National Park. It’s an experience that will inspire you to continue exploring the wonders of nature, both near and far.


Now that you’ve descended from the tea house and completed the hike, it’s time to reflect on your adventure and the valuable tips that will ensure a successful and enjoyable experience for future hikers.


Tips for a Successful Hike

Embarking on the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike requires some planning and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some helpful tips to make your hike a success:

  • Start early: Begin your hike in the morning to avoid crowds and to have ample time to complete the trail at a comfortable pace. It’s especially important during peak tourist seasons to start early as parking can fill up quickly.
  • Check the weather: Before heading out, check the weather forecast for the day. Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as mountain weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and pack rain gear, just in case.
  • Stay hydrated: Carry an adequate amount of water for the duration of the hike. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when exerting yourself on the uphill sections of the trail.
  • Pack snacks: Bring along some energizing snacks to keep you fueled throughout the hike. Trail mix, granola bars, and fresh fruit are excellent choices that provide a quick energy boost.
  • Wear appropriate footwear: Make sure to wear sturdy and comfortable hiking boots or shoes. The trail can be uneven and rocky in some sections, so proper footwear will provide stability and support.
  • Take breaks: Pace yourself and take regular breaks to rest and replenish your energy. Enjoy the breathtaking views along the way and take plenty of photos to document your journey.
  • Follow trail markers: The trail is well-marked with signs along the way. Pay attention to the markers to ensure you stay on the right path and avoid getting lost.
  • Respect wildlife and nature: Banff National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Maintain a safe distance from any animals you may encounter and never feed or disturb them. Leave natural objects and features undisturbed and pack out any trash you bring with you.
  • Be mindful of your own limits: Hiking to the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House requires a moderate level of fitness. Listen to your body and know your limits. If you need to take extra breaks or turn back, it’s perfectly okay.
  • Leave no trace: As you hike, follow the principles of Leave No Trace. Leave the trail and the surrounding nature as you found it, minimizing your impact on the environment.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike and make the most of your adventure in the Canadian Rockies.


Now, armed with these valuable tips, you’re ready to create unforgettable memories on the trails of Banff National Park. Lace up your boots, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on an unforgettable journey in the heart of the Canadian wilderness.



The Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike is a truly remarkable experience that highlights the natural beauty and historical charm of Banff National Park. From the panoramic views at the summit of the Big Beehive to the cozy ambiance of the Lake Agnes Tea House, this hike offers a perfect blend of adventure, serenity, and cultural discovery.


As you navigate the well-marked trail, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of towering peaks, turquoise lakes, and lush forests. Each step reveals a new perspective, showcasing the raw beauty of the Canadian Rockies and captivating you with its grandeur.


Reaching Lake Agnes and indulging in the hospitality of the tea house is a unique experience that transports you back in time. The historical charm, homemade treats, and picturesque setting create a cherished memory that will stay with you long after the hike is over.


Throughout your journey, it’s important to respect and appreciate the natural surroundings. Leave the trail untouched and wildlife undisturbed, preserving the pristine wilderness for generations to come.


Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a challenging adventure or a nature lover looking for a serene retreat, the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike has something to offer everyone. The breathtaking views, the sense of accomplishment, and the connection to the natural world all combine to create an unforgettable experience.


So, lace up your boots, pack your essentials, and venture into the heart of Banff National Park. Discover the wonders of the Big Beehive, savor the tranquility of Lake Agnes, and indulge in the historic charm of the tea house. Let this hike be your gateway to the magic and beauty of the Canadian Rockies.


As you bid farewell to the trails and valleys, take the memories and experiences with you, and let them inspire future adventures. Whether it’s revisiting the splendor of Banff National Park or exploring other breathtaking destinations, may the spirit of the Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Tea House hike ignite a lifelong love for nature and the joy of exploration.