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Beautiful Scenery At The End Of The Plain Of Six Glaciers Hike

Plain of Six Glaciers Hike near Lake Louise

The Plain of Six Glaciers hike which ends near a tea house above Lake Louise is a beauty. But the crowds are there unless you pick your times – early mornings, late afternoons or in the fall when the crowds have dispersed. It’s an interesting hike because of the views it affords of Lake Louise from a different angle and the glorious glaciers near the end point.

The hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse starts on the path by the turquoise-coloured waters of Lake Louise. Initially you have to cut and duck through the tourists to get anywhere. If you can get over that then you’ll be treated to the sights of Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria along with six glaciers – some of which look like they could break off into pieces at any time. There are wildflowers around too – not in copious quantities but enough to add some colour to the hike.

And for you non-hikers, it seems you can get up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse on horseback. So do it. This is one spectacular part of Banff National Park that is well worth a visit.
Start the hike at Lake Louise
You can visit the Teahouse via horseback
You can visit the Teahouse via horseback

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The hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse

The trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House is well signed. Start by heading on the paved path to the right of Lake Louise – if you’re facing the lake. The trail hugs Lake Louise for the first 2 km.

When you reach the cliffs at the end of the lake you’re likely to see some climbers. It’s fun to stop and watch them for a while.

At the end of Lake Louise you'll find rock climbers
At the end of Lake Louise you’ll find rock climbers

There are a few intersections on the trail – all signed – so as long as you can read you’re fine. Basically you climb straight up the valley. For much of the hike you continue to see Lake Louise.

There is one section with a slight drop-off – hence the reason for the metal ropes, but really it’s wide enough that all hikers should be able to handle it.

A Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House
A different sort of Lake Louise view on this hike
A Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House
Hike through moraine on the way up to the tea house
One short section has steel cable to hold onto
One short section has steel cable to hold onto
In some sections there are bolted lines for safety
In some sections there are bolted lines for safety
Getting into the really good mountain scenery
Getting into the really good mountain scenery

The Teahouse

The Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse doesn’t come into view until you round a bend by a largish stream – 5.5 km from the start of the trail. If you don’t have your heart set on eating at the Teahouse then bring a picnic lunch and park yourself on one of the benches and admire the sights.

A Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House
Quite the backdrop for a yoga move

From the Teahouse it’s reportedly another 1.6 km to the high viewpoint. The last half kilometre or so was closed when I did it with a sign saying that the slope was unstable. I’ll respect that.

How long is the Plain of Six Glaciers hike?

All told the Plain of Six Glaciers hike along with the Lake Louise Teahouse is 13.8 km return (8.6 miles) with a vertical gain of about 400 m (1,300 feet). It will take you about four hours to do and I’d rate it as easy. 

You can add in a loop that allows you to visit the Lake Agnes Teahouse too. 

You can bring your dog but keep it on a leash. I brought ours but saw only a few others – mainly I think because the locals avoid this trail in the summer.

The Lake Louise Tea House - 5.5 km from the start
The Lake Louise Tea House – 5.5 km from the start

New for summer 2021

The Lake Louise – Moraine Lake area gets busier with every passing year. It’s almost impossible now to get a parking spot. Going forward, Parks Canada will be offering a shuttle service from the Trans-Canada Highway, but you’ll have to reserve in advance. You’ll be able to start reserving your seat on April 28th. For a link to that and detailed information visit the Parks Canada website here.

Where to stay in the Lake Louise area

If you want to avoid shuttle altogether there are a couple of options – the upscale Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and walking distance away, Deer Lodge. If you want to stay on Moraine Lake, then the Moraine Lake Lodge is your only option.

If you don’t mind taking the shuttle or you have horseshoes and manage to snag a parking spot then there are many more options. Paradise Lodge & Bungalows would be a great choice and not far from the lake.  Or try the Baker Creek Mountain Resort near Johnston Canyon. 

Baker Creek - one of the Charmin Inns of Alberta
Lots of red chairs and fire pits outside the Baker Creek Mountain Resort

More Lake Louise area hikes you’re sure to love 

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. We may have finally found a common point between us Leigh. I absolutely love Lake Louise, and I’m seriously considering using my free Fairmont nights this year at the Chateau. Now the odds of me hiking 5.5 km to get to one of the more eclectic looking tea houses that I’ve ever seen seem small (and the odds of my riding a horse that far seem only slightly better), but I’ll admit that your pictures have stimulated my curiosity. If you ever get that feeling that somebody is cursing you under their breath, you’ll know that I decided to try this trail.

    1. @Steve There’s nothing wrong with just relaxing while you visit – though with kids maybe an easy paddle out in one the canoes would be fun. Just give me a head’s up if you go so I can listen for that little voice of yours.

  2. Your recent posts of Lake Louise and the nearby areas is really making me want to visit soon. Every scenic picture just looks breathtaking. I love those wildflower pictures. Thanks for the heads-up on the crowds. I bet it’s gorgeous during Fall with the leaves changing.

  3. @Mary Some of the nearby hikes are famous for their larches – but then those trails can get busy too. Fortunately there are loads of trails not far from Lake Louise where you can lose the crowds after a mile or so.

  4. Beautiful photos! My husband and I hiked to the Lake Louise Tea House on Thanksgiving weekend the fall of 1994 and I remember it being beautiful and not too crowded! That’s the last time that I was in Alberta too – we really have to get out there with the kids!

  5. I wish I could say that I’ve hiked about Lake Louise! Beautiful photos. I can just picture myself at the tea house after such a great hike. It really sounds like just the right level & time for me. Nice that you could share that activity with your daughter, too.

  6. The color of the lake is amazing. Not sure if I’d be up for that hike, but it sure looks beautiful.

  7. We hiked this when it was half under snow and arrived just as they were closing. They must have seen my crestfallen face and obliged with a hot chocolate and scone on the upstairs verandah. The whole garden was under snow. It was a beautiful and sometimes scary hike. I agree that L.L. would be great at any time of year. I love your photo of the teahouse with all the people and bunting. So different than when we were there.

  8. Looks like a beautiful hike, even with the crowds. My parents went to Lake Louise about 2 or 3 years ago and they still rave about it!

  9. I loved seeing your photos from this hike! I just hiked this trail two weeks ago in Banff and it was so challenging but amazing. I loved seeing the glaciers so close up and it was pretty awesome to witness an avalanche while sitting at the tea house. What an incredibly beautiful trail!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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