This was my fourth hike up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse and the first time hiking it in the spring.
The teahouse is generally open from the beginning of June until mid-October. We were hiking at the end of May but were told that the teahouse was open with limited service. We were also told that there was still snow on the upper portion of the trail. We did not let that deter us.
The trail to the Lake Agnes Teahouse starts in front of the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise, a luxury hotel on the shore of Lake Louise. There is a sign posted telling you which way to go – take the right fork. It is a 3.5 km (2.2 mi.) hike from the Chateau to Lake Agnes. It is not a difficult hike and the trail is well maintained. The first part is the steepest and from there it winds up the mountain. About halfway up you will see a break in the trees where there is a beautiful view of Lake Louise.
Once you reach Mirror Lake, you are only about 15-20 minutes from Lake Agnes. Just as you get to the teahouse you will reach a rushing waterfalls at the base of a flight of stairs that climb up to the teahouse.
They were correct in telling us that the last portion of the trail was still snow-covered. Because the snow was melting, it was fairly icy and difficult to walk on. A walking stick would have been helpful. But we made it to the top without any major falling incidents.
The teahouse was offering limited service – we could buy a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a snack but we could not go inside the teahouse. During the summer, they serve sandwiches, snacks and a wide variety of teas with tables and chairs set up both inside and outside the teahouse.
Lake Agnes was still frozen over and it was very cold and windy. If it had been a little warmer without so much snow, we may have continued hiking on to the other side of the lake, Little Beehive or Big Beehive, but it was just too cold.
Unlike the Sulphur Mountain hike, there is no other way down from the teahouse other than to hike back down. I have tendonitis in my ankles so this was the hardest part for me. By the time we got back to Lake Louise, I could barely walk and it felt good to put my feet in the icy Lake Louise water.