Lake Louise Fall Larch Hikes: 6 Hikes Guaranteed to Meet All Hiking Abilities

Category: Banff Hikes, Hikes + Easy Walks

Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places to see in the Canadian Rockies. Our family loves hiking Lake Louise, and so I’ve put together a list of our family’s favourite six hikes in Lake Louise for any hiking abilities and skill levels.

1. Lake Louise Shoreline Hike

4 km return, elevation gain minimal

The stroller-friendly trail starts from the paved pathway in front of the Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise just past the statue commemorating the Swiss Guides employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway hotels between 1899 and 1954.

The trail hugs the Lake Louise shoreline offering postcard views of the Chateau Lake Louise, the  Victoria Glacier,  and paddlers on the emerald-coloured waters of Lake Louise.

Click here to read more about the Lake Louise Shoreline trail.

2. Lake Agnes Tea House Trail Hike

6.8 km return, 385 m elevation gain

Larch Trees line the shores of Lake Agnes, and their golden rainbow extends up the mountain slopes. The lake is named after Lady Agnes Macdonald, the wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Another draw to this top-rated seasonal destination is the Lake Agnes Tea House. The current tea house was built in 1981. The chairs and tables were part of the original tea house; tea service started in 1905.

Cash Only: If you want to treat yourself to a “cuppa,” along with some fresh baked goods. Debit and credit cards are not accepted. Find a spot along the shores of the lake, enjoy the view and your snack.

Trail Tip: In 2011, when I self-published my book, Take A Hike With Your Children, I indicated that this was a Chariot friendly hike. Due to the increased volume of people on this trail, combined with narrow sections, I no longer recommend this as a stroller-friendly trail during peak periods. If you want to push a stroller, go mid-week before or after July and August summer holidays. You can only push an all-terrain stroller to the stairs at the base of Lake Agnes.

lake agnes fall colours
Fall colours and reflection at Lake Agnes

After a rest and snack at Lake Agnes, you can extend the hike by continuing to either the Little Beehive or Big Beehive.  

3. The Little Beehive Extension Hike

8.8 k return, 485 m elevation gain

From Lake Agnes, the trail starts behind the teahouse near the outhouse.

The Little Beehive offers panoramic views of the Bow Valley. The fire tower was active from 1941 until 1978 and torn down in 1984, the cement foundation remains.

There is an option to loop back from the LIttle Beehive to Mirror Lake and not backtrack to Lake Agnes. This 0.8 connector trail offers views of Lake Louise, the Big Beehive and Mirror Lake. If you have left a stroller at the stairs that lead to the Tea House, you will need to return via the connecting trail behind the tea house.

Trail Etiquette: the local riding stables share the trail from the Little Beehive to Mirror Lake. Horses always have the right of way, step off to the side of the trail and let them pass.

little beehive hike in lake louise
A view from the .08 trail connector from Little Beehive to Mirror Lake. The faint outline of the Big Beehive Gazebo is seen on the top of the Big Beehive in the distance.  picture was taken fall 2015

4. The Big Beehive Hike

10 km return total, 520 m elevation gain

From Lake Agnes, the 2.3 km trail to the Big Beehive hugs the West shoreline to a series of switchbacks ending at the Beehive summit.

big beehive hike in lake louise
Larches long the trail to the Big Bee Hive, Lake Louise. © Three Mountain Family Hikes™
big beehive gazebo in lake louise
the Big Beehive Gazebo built 1916.

Once at the top, it will continue along the trail to the gazebo. Also a geocache location … oops, did I give it away? The gazebo has been sheltering hikers since 1916. Don’t forget to sign your name in the guestbook.

On this particular day, I watched this group of unknown hikers enjoying the view, but in my opinion, they were a little too close to the edge.  

EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION with children at the top, as there is no barrier at the edge of the cliffs where this group is sitting.

big beehive hike in lake louise

If you are feeling ambitious on this Lake Louise hike, you can continue to the Plain of Six Glaciers from the Big Beehive, via the Highline Trail.

5. The Plain of Six Glaciers Hike

10.6 km return, 365 m elevation gain

From the Chateau, the trail starts along the Lakeshore trail to the back of the lake. Here, follow the signs to The Plain of Six Glaciers. This trail follows the terminal moraine that was deposited by the Victoria Glacier. It officially ends at the Plain of Six Glacier teahouse, built 1927 by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1927. It also offers teas and fresh baked goods. Bring cash for this location as well.

Unlike the other trails at Lake Louise, this trail doesn’t meander through forests of Larch Trees but offers distant views of Lyall’s Larches clinging to the mountainsides. The golden Lyall’s larch trees weave an intricate patchwork pattern up and down the mountain slopes.

6. Saddleback Hike

7.4 km return, 600 m elevation gain

Short, steep, but worth every “are we there yet?” The views along the trail entice you to keep going: Mt. Temple, the Chateau, the Bow Valley, the Lake Louise Ski Area and a lot of Lyall’s Larch Trees!

The Saddleback is the name given to the pass between Fairview and Saddle Mountains. The meadow sits in the mountain pass, and it is an excellent destination for lunch. From this location, you will see others continuing up Fairview Mountain.

The trail that continues from the Saddleback to Fairview Mountain is not well marked, with a lot of loose scree. It is a trail for strong, seasoned hikers, not beginners.

If you’re looking for a fun family-friendly hike in Lake Louise, I recommend you try any of these 7 hikes to get the best view of the fall larch trees in Lake Louise.

Pick Up A Copy Of Take A Hike With Your Children

My sold out book, Take A Hike With Your Children, is now available on Amazon as an eBook. Pick up your copy today, and begin exploring Lake Louise, and the Rockies!

Happy Fall Hiking!

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