Hike the Plain of Six Glaciers
Canada › Lake Louise
Added by Colin Ayers
Explore 3 incredible glacial lakes near the famed Lake Louise. There are two teahouses to stop and grab a bite to eat along the route.
Starting from the parking lot on the east end of Lake Louise, there are a few options you can take to get to the Plain of Six Glaciers. One is to head directly along the lakeshore trail, and in about 7 km (4.2 miles) you will be at the lookout offering the best vantage point of the glacier field.
Another is to make a short detour up to Mirror Lake, then to Lake Agnes. Both lakes are beautiful and the Lake Agnes Teahouse is a great place to stop for a quick break. After navigating your way around Lake Agnes you will start switchbacks that ascend to the saddle of Big Beehive and Devil's Thumb. If you have the time and energy, Devil's Thumb is highly recommended, but if you're in a hurry it takes only a couple minutes to make the last little ascent to the top of Big Beehive, overlooking the lakes below and the majestic peaks on the other side of the valley.
Heading back to the saddle, you descend some easy switchbacks and eventually meet up with the Highline Trail, which leads you back to the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. Follow this about 1.2 km (0.7 miles) and stop by the teahouse, rest and refuel if needed and continue 1.5 km (0.9 miles) to the end of the trail – it is well worth it to see the view from the lookout. Although there is no structure built there, seeing the Victoria Glacier, Lefroy Glacier, Mount Aberdeen, Lefroy and Victoria is quite spectacular. To get back, follow the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail all the way back to the parking lot.
The teahouse operates just a couple of months during the summer, generally from 9am-5pm, so try to make it there in time. Bring a lunch or at least some cash to buy delicious food and tea and enjoy the relative solitude this hike provides compared to the chaos at the lake shore.
Driving Directions: From Banff head west on Trans Canada Highway 1, then get off at the Lake Louise exit and follow the signs to the parking lot.
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Cash for the two teahouses you pass along the way
- Food for a long day's hike
- Bear spray (optional)
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Better tea house than Lake Agnes
If you're visiting Lake Louise, most tourists will head up the Lake Agnes trail. Avoid the crowds and head up Plain of 6. Both hikes are similar in difficulty/time and both have a tea house. Pro tip: the Plain of 6 tea house is quieter and has better pastries! If you have time though, do both.
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