One of the most popular day hikes in the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park is to visit Lake Agnes. A 3.5 km trail through the forest on the north side of the lake gains 400 m (1300 ft) from Lake Louise’s shore to reach the hanging valley containing Lake Agnes.
Lake Agnes is beautifully framed by rugged snow and ice covered mountains. It sits at 2135 m (7005 ft). Lake Agnes was named after Canada’s First Lady, Agnes MacDonald, wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Agnes is to enjoy a snack or meal at its tea-house. Established in 1905, the Lake Agnes tea-house serves a large assortment of tea but also home made soups, sandwiches on fresh baked bread, and pastries. The first log tea-house was replaced by the current building in 1981, although the original windows and furniture were retained. Depending on weather and snow conditions, the tea-house is usually open during the three summer months (June – Sept). It’s generally packed on the weekend, but you’ll have more luck getting a table during a weekday. The food is good and the setting is incomparable.
The hike is moderately hard but popular, and you’ll likely find dozens of people resting and enjoying the Lake and its views. For those looking for an easier way to reach Agnes Lake, there’s the option of taking a horseback ride up to the tea-house.
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