So you already know that Banff National Park and surrounding area is full of those dreamy Gatorade blue lakes and if you don’t, then please come out from under that rock you have been hiding under. Grassi Lakes in Canmore, Peyto Lake near the Ice Field Parkway, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in Banff National Park are some of the most popular and Instagram worthy lakes in Alberta. We have been fortunate enough to witness all of these fairytale lakes ourselves. However since everyone wants to showcase these lakes on their Instagram, they are awfully busy. Something that we love to do is get another perspective of a popular area. So any hike to get us a view to look down on the world famous Lake Louise was an absolute must.
The Little Beehive hike is situated to look down on Lake Louise and the valley surrounding, sounds fantastic right? You even get to start at Lake Louise and see the Lake Agnes Teahouse on the way to make it even better! That being said, we highly recommend to start early to beat the crowds for this hike. The hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse is fairly popular and generates a lot of foot traffic in the summer. However not as many people venture past the Teahouse so the last 2 kilometers to the top of the beehive are pretty quiet.
Round trip from the Lake Louise Parking lot to the top of the Beehive is around 12 kilometers with an elevation gain of 900 m. The trail head starts to the right of Lake Louise and is a nice packed trail that brings you to Lake Agnes with a series of switchbacks. You will also come across a waterfall and Minnow Lake. The view of the surrounding peaks will make you stare in awe. The views are well worth the burn.
Once you arrive at the treehouse, you can enjoy some of their famous banana bread (bring cash!) or take a seat on a picnic table and get enjoy your lunch with such an incredible view. You’ll want to load up on some bug spray as the skeeters can get unruly in the summer months.
To get to the big beehive, take the path along the right side of Lake Agnes. You will go through a boulder field and cross a small creek that feeds the lake from the glacier. Then it’s up a series of calf burning switchbacks to reach the top of the hive. You can go left to the look out or turn right to head up the Devil’s Thumb. (which is even higher and apparently quite a sketchy hike)
There is a hut at the top to take a seat in and refuel/energize. We met a man up there by himself on Canada Day 2017 with a bottle of wine and a wine glass! It’s always nice to get the stories of the fellow people you meet on the trails.
To descend back to the parking lot, you can either go back down the same way you came up, but we highly recommend you go down through the highline trail into the Plain of 6 Glaciers. To do so, instead of turning right back down the switchbacks you came up to the beehive, turn left. It is a secluded steeper trail, but it spits you out into the Glacier that feeds into Lake Louise. The views are absolutely mind blowing. If you continue this trail you can end up at another tea house as well! Or it will bring you back down the back side of the lake along the river.
Please bring bear spray with you. Make lots of noise and travel in groups. Even though it is a highly populated trail, bears still linger and become super curious. We hope you enjoy these views as much as we did. Especially getting a different perspective of the ever popular Lake Louise.
Stay rad kids.
xo – A