Hikes and History: the Lake Agnes Tea House
Four hundred metres above the incomparable Lake Louise, lies the exceptional Lake Agnes, and it’s historic Tea House.
Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901, the Tea House’s first use was as a simple refuge for hikers and guests of the Chateau Lake Louise. It wasn’t until 1905, that the little cabin in the mountains began to serve warm pots of fine loose leaf tea to visitors from around the world.
Today, you can choose from over 100 different types of sustainably grown loose leaf teas, including classics such as Vanilla Rooibos (my favourite), English Breakfast and Japanese Sencha, or branch out into unknown specialty flavours like 100 Monkeys (said to ward off evil spirits) or Ontario Ice-Wine.
And while the initial log building was finally replaced in 1981, you can still sip your tea, sitting at one of the original tables, on one of the original chairs and looking out the original windows, at a view that’s as old as time.
The trailhead is located in front of the Chateau Lake Louise, near the North shore of the Lake. In summertime, it’s easy to find – just follow the hordes of people making their way up the mountain.
You’ll pass the Little Beehive, Mirror Lake and a waterfall on your way up, as well as be treated to glorious views of the surrounding mountains.
The trail is well groomed and hiking boots are not necessary. I made the trek in simple running shoes and it wasn’t an issue, but make sure you bring extra layers for the 2135 metre peak. It can get cold and windy, even if it’s blazingly hot down at Lake Louise.
It’s an easy to moderate 3.5 kilometre hike (one way) with a total elevation gain of 400 metres. It’ll take approximately 2 – 3 hours return, depending on how may detours you take. More if you stop for a spot of tea…
Keep in mind that there’s no electricity at the Tea House, so only cash and travellers checks are accepted.
Have you visited the Lake Agnes Tea House? What type of tea did you drink? We’d love to hear from you!