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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.

The Tea House on the shores of Lake Agnes

The Tea House on the shores of Lake Agnes

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.

Getting there
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!

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28 Comments Post a comment
  1. The images are really inviting… πŸ™‚

    The place looks so pristine and it would be great to spend some time unwinding ourselves, right?

    October 28, 2014
    • You know I’ve visited Lake Louise at least 10 times, but this is the first time I made the hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House. Not sure why I waited so long to do it! It was lovely and not too difficult and a perfect place to relax. πŸ™‚

      October 29, 2014
      • It happens πŸ™‚

        And I’m sure, you are not going to give it a miss, from now own.

        πŸ™‚

        October 29, 2014
  2. We did that hike in 1996 and my now husband proposed to me on the way up, just past the Mirror Lake. He was down on one knee and a group of Japanese tourists came round the corner. They all had to take photographs! 😍

    October 28, 2014
    • Aww that’s so romantic!! What a beautiful spot to be proposed to!! πŸ˜€ Lol….the Japanese tourists are just the icing on the cake. They must’ve loved coming upon that scene!

      October 29, 2014
  3. How gorgeous are these photos!! And I love the long shadow one, too!

    October 28, 2014
    • Thank you!! πŸ™‚ Lol…I had to take the shadow one because it’s the only way my sister will allow me to use her image on my blog. Haha, she has to be totally anonymous. So I’ve got her shadow, her back, and her wearing a plastic gopher head…

      October 29, 2014
  4. wow, I have to put this on my Canada list as well πŸ™‚ plus I am a huge tea lover!

    October 28, 2014
    • If you’re a tea lover, then it’s an absolutely perfect spot for you! There are a few mountain tea houses in this area – also one on the Plains of the 6 Glaciers that you could check out… as well as all the high teas in the historic Canadian Pacific Hotels of course, for something a bit fancier. πŸ™‚

      October 29, 2014
  5. I really love tea houses located in the mountains. There is nothing as nice as enjoying a hot cup of tea after a long hike. Also thank you for sharing these amazing photos πŸ™‚

    October 29, 2014
    • Hey Moritz…yes, I agree, it’s so nice to know that at the end of the hike, there’ll be a nice cup of hot tea waiting for you. Especially when it’s at the top of a chilly mountaintop!! πŸ™‚

      October 29, 2014
  6. The teahouse sounds like a perfect reward for a hike! I’m afraid I would never want to come down!

    October 29, 2014
    • It’s a pretty great incentive for the hike, but I’m pretty sure you’d come down eventually. There’s no electricity at the Tea House!! πŸ˜‰

      October 30, 2014
  7. A really beautiful place, Shelley. Love the tea house pic. I would order green tea with fruit infusion. πŸ™‚

    October 30, 2014
    • Thank you! Green tea with fruit infusion sounds yum! πŸ™‚ I’d have a lot of trouble narrowing it down. There’s my old favourite Vanilla Rooibos, but I’d also definitely be tempted by some of the “stranger” teas on offer. Hard to choose!

      October 30, 2014
  8. What a spectacular setting Shelley! Going on my ‘must do’ list as well πŸ™‚

    November 6, 2014
    • There are a lot of fantastic ‘must dos” in that area of the world I must say. If you’re a tea drinker, Canada is an amazing place to have tea in some truly unique settings. Hope you make it there soon! πŸ™‚

      November 7, 2014
      • I am an (ex) tea planter’s wife! So that sounds particularly appealing😊

        November 7, 2014
  9. *GASP* My heart just sank seeing that reflection shot.

    November 7, 2014
    • Rommel, maybe you better take a road trip up the west coast, through British Columbia and over to Alberta – Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, before you leave for Greece!? I think you would LOVE it there…and it would be amazing to see your photos from these locations… πŸ˜€

      November 7, 2014
  10. Oh goodness, when I ever make it to Canada I am going here!!

    November 8, 2014
    • It’s a wonderful reward at the end of the hike, and so peaceful. I regret not making the trek earlier!

      November 10, 2014
  11. Such gorgeous photos to go with this post ….. and as Cuba is on our to-do so is Canada πŸ™‚ One day we will get to them.

    November 9, 2014
    • Cuba and Canada are easy to do at the same time. There are many all-inclusive last minute packages there for very cheap! When we went, we got 1 week, including flight, meals accommodation etc…. for just $600! Pretty amazing!

      November 10, 2014
  12. Marcia Meckstroth #

    Just got back from a hike to the tea house. Was there back in 1979. Are there any pictures of the tea house before it was rebuilt?

    July 29, 2016
    • A lovely little hike, isn’t it? Ya know, I was looking for old pics when I was writing this post, and I couldn’t find a single one – at least not in the public domain. Would be super interesting to see what it looked like long ago, wouldn’t it?

      August 4, 2016
  13. My husband proposed to me on the hike up to Lake Agnes & the tea house. We were somewhere near the Mirror Lake and a party of Japanese tourists happened upon us as he was down on one knee. They all insisted on taking our photograph!

    August 4, 2016

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