These Scenic Hiking Trails Through Banff Will Take You to Hidden Attractions in the Canadian Wilderness

Now this is a pit stop.

Lake Agnes trails to tea houses
Photo: Courtesy of Travel Alberta

Sometimes the journey really is about the destination. This is especially true if you're hiking to the tea houses hiding in Banff and Lake Louise.

Erected at the turn of the 20th century, the tea houses at Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers were built as a place of respite for explorers traveling by foot or along the nearby Canadian Pacific Railway. And, just as it was in the early 1900s, the tea houses today remain tranquil and welcoming stops for those hiking through the gorgeous Canadian landscapes.

Lake Agnes trails to tea houses
Courtesy of Travel Alberta

Beyond maintaining their status as a must-see hiking attraction, the tea houses also maintain their Old World charms. Neither tea house has running water or electricity. Supplies, including flour and sugar, must be flown in by helicopter or packed in by staff on the trail. But the juice is worth the squeeze (or, perhaps, the tea is worth the steep), as the tea houses each offer delicious treats for those who are willing to hike to these hidden houses.

The hike to the tea house at Lake Louise begins near the Fairmont Château Lake Louise. From the hotel, hikers take the switch-backs up 2.2 miles, gaining 1,312 feet in elevation along the way. The hike is listed as moderate and can take anywhere from one to two hours. The tea house is open from early June through October.

To reach the second tea house, at Plain of Six Glaciers, travelers once again start at Fairmont Château Lake Louise. From there, hikers can simply follow the wide path for 3.4 miles, gaining 1,215 feet in elevation before coming to the secluded tea house.

Not enough exercise for you? Try the "Tea House Challenge," which challenges hikers to visit both tea houses in a single day. The two tea houses connect via the Highline trail to form a nine-mile loop. (Make sure to give yourself about five hours to finish and pack plenty of water and snacks for the route in between.) Ready to give it a go? Find further information on the tea houses, including when each house is open, here.

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