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Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

Noms, Brews, & Views.

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  • Writer's pictureJ&L

Plain of Six Glacier and Backcountry Tea Houses Hike

Updated: Mar 3

Lake Louise is home to more than just awe-inspiring views of a pristine glacier lake. There are 33 hiking trails that start from Lake Louise, leading to incredible vistas, panoramic views, and backcountry tea houses. Some of the most popular trails at Lake Louise are Lake Agnes Trail [4.6 Miles; Moderate], Plain of Six Glaciers Trail [9.1 Miles; Moderate], and The Big Beehive [6.8 Miles, Hard].

Each of these trails allow a visit to one of Lake Louise's ever-so-popular backcountry tea houses, yet each of these trails also provides a completely unique experience. It was so hard for us to choose which experience we wanted to preference on our day-trip to the Lake Louise area. So difficult, in fact, that we decided not to choose at all. We combined all of these popular hiking trails into one EPIC day-long hiking excursion. Call us crazy, but we did not regret a single second.

Here's how we did it:

AllTrails Route: 11.8 Miles; 3,231 Feet Elevation Gain; Rating: Hard

First Stop: Lake Louise Viewpoint

If planning to embark on this approximately 12-mile hike, we recommend getting to Lake Louise no later than 8am. Completing this trail took us roughly 10 hours (with lots of picture stops and tea house indulgences). Arriving any later in the day will limit your time at the tea houses, which close at 5pm.

J&L Tip: Do not arrive at Lake Louise later than 9am or the parking lot will likely be full. Alternatively, you can book a shuttle.

The Lake Louise vista is a magical experience, so easily accessed steps away from the parking lot. Early morning, there is a mist over the mountain peaks adding to the serene ambiance of this magnificent glacier lake.

From here, begin your journey veering left on the lakeside path located on the north side of Lake Louise. This spectacular stretch of the trail takes you 1.7 miles along Lake Louis, and allows you to to observe the morning canoers and wildlife.

J&L Tip: Lake Louise is home to many black bears and grizzly bears. Know your bear safety, hike in groups, and always keep your bear spray accessible.

Around the two-mile mark begins 1,027 feet of elevation gain across an additional two miles to the first backcountry tea house, Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse. This stretch of the trail follows along the glacier's moraines, providing excellent views Lake Louise in one direction and the glaciers in the other.

Also Read: 10-Day Canadian Rockies Itinerary + Cheat Sheet


Second Stop: Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse

Such a whimsical experience to dine with a cup of fresh tea on top of a mountain, backcountry tea houses are certainly worth the journey! From the Lake Louise lodge, this tea house is roughly four miles (eight miles round-trip) with mild elevation on a well-groomed trail.

If your goal is to experience the backcountry tea houses, this would be our choice. The staff was incredibly friendly and the environment was surrounded by other nature enthusiasts who journeyed deep into the mountains for a well-deserved cup of hot tea made from glacier water.

J&L Tip: Try the Arlo Barlo drink which is named after the owner's dog! This beverage is a mix of hot chocolate, spiced tea, and coffee. The most delicious trifecta!

With body, mind, and soul enriched at a backcountry tea house, roughly one mile and 341 feet of elevation gain remain until the iconic glacier lookout. The rock piles are loose with the trail narrowing towards the lookout. Watch your step and consider skipping this section if you are concerned about your stability.

Third Stop: Glacier Viewpoint

The glacier viewpoint is an astonishing sight. These large fresh-water reservoirs are an important part of our environment, yet they are melting at a faster rate each year. Looking out at the glacier's moraines, shows us how large the glacier once was. Victoria Glacier situated behind Lake Louise would have filled the entire rocky valley we are standing on below as recent as 20 years ago.

Also Read: 10 Tips to Travel More Sustainably

From this point, the most intense part of the hike awaits. The first stretch is three miles of descending 785 feet in elevation. Easy!

Next, the switchbacks begin in order to reach the Big Beehive. Here, you will ascend roughly 1,000 feet in elevation gain over one mile. Don't worry, it is definitely worth the view!


Fourth Stop: The Big Beehive

There is nothing like walking up to an astonishing vista after completing a series of switchbacks. The reward is magnificent! At this point, you have reached the highest point in elevation for the day at 4,430 feet.

Also Read: Top Things To Do in Jasper National Park

This is the perfect location to pull out some snacks and picnic with a view. The Big Beehive is our favorite view of Lake Louise throughout this day-hike, and certainly worth allowing some time to admire the extravagant scenery.

Feet sore? Don't worry, it's all downhill from here! However, do not be fooled by the lack of elevation gain, the next mile to Lake Agnes Tea House is still a very technical hike with loose rocks and narrow clearance.


Fifth Stop: Lake Agnes Tea House

Lake Agnes Tea House, situated on Lake Agnes, is a dining experience in paradise. For those looking to visit a backcountry tea house, Lake Agnes is the most accessible and easiest trail at only two miles (four miles round trip) from the Lake Louise Lodge.

J&L Tip: Try the wild berry herbal tea

Two miles remain on this 11.8-mile loop hike from Lake Louise. The path on this stretch is wide and easily accessible as it is highly trafficked from Lake Louise Lodge. Don't miss Mirror Lake as you fly down the mountain, eager to witness the colors of Lake Louise in the afternoon.

Rounding out this astounding hike back at Lake Louise, you will be able to witness the vibrant colors of this glacier water once again. We found this day-hike to be incredibly rewarding, despite the difficult trek involved. Whether you choose to accomplish the entire hike or pick out the viewpoint that speaks to you the most, hiking Lake Louise should be on everyone's bucket list!

Happy Adventuring!


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Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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