I want you to think way, way, way back. Back to a simpler time, when reality tv was at it’s best. That’s right, I’m talking about the year 2013. When ABC let our favorite ginger, Sean Lowe, find love on national television. Personally, I feel like his season was pretty iconic. I mean, you got a bachelor relationship that actually lasted (and now they have a baby!) out of it, you met Lesley Murphy (All Hail The Road Les Traveled!) and we were introduced to the greatest Bachelor contestant of all time. Yup. All you Bachelor fans know who I’m talking about… Tierra LiCausi and all that sparkle.
Who remembers that episode where Tierra lost a bit of her sparkle… and got hypothermia?! ME ME ME! But I remember it for much more than THE MOST DRAMATIC EPISODE IN BACHELOR HISTORY. I remember Sean telling them they were heading to Banff, Alberta and being like “He’s taking them to Canada?!” Cue eye roll. Then, I remember seeing Lake Louise for the very first time, and instantly falling in love with it. I mean… the blue of the lake looked photoshopped. I instantly knew that someday, I had to go there.
Flash forward a few years, and Trev and I were talking about where we wanted to go for our honeymoon. I thought back to that beautiful blue lake, and said “How about Canada?” The rest was history. So of course, Lake Louise was the number one thing I wanted to see when we were on our honeymoon. We saved Lake Louise for a Sunday morning. We knew that it is one of the busiest places in Banff National Park. We thought it might be a little less crowded if we arrived super early on a Sunday morning. And we were right!
We left Canmore super early to head up to Lake Louise. When we got there, we had our choice of parking spots, so we knew this was a good sign. We parked and took the path towards the lake. The trees cleared and we saw this…
Talk about jaw dropping! I knew right then and there that this would instantly become one of my favorite places in the entire world. We just kind of stood there, speechless. For me, it was kind of surreal to be standing in front of this beautiful lake, after wanting to see it for so many years. We took some pictures while we had the place pretty much to ourselves before we started on the Tea House Hike.
From everything we had read, the Tea House Hike is one of the most popular in the park. We knew that if we expected to eat at it, we would have to be very patient and wait. In fact, we met a couple a few nights before that said it was a 4 hour wait to get a spot at the tea house, so not to get our hopes up. We looked around as we started the hike, and there weren’t nearly as many people as we were expecting. We knew this was a good sign!
This hike is seriously NO JOKE. It is considered a moderate hike, but it is literally straight up the entire time. I’m going to tell you this… whatever you do, don’t go on this hike the first day you arrive in the Canadian Rockies. You need to let yourself adjust to that altitude change. We were still super winded on this hike, and we were in pretty good shape. The hike may be hard, but there are some pretty incredible views along the way!
After hiking for what seems like FOREVER, you will reach Mirror Lake. It’s the perfect spot to sit for a minute, and catch your breath before you continue on. Once you leave Mirror Lake you’re almost to the tea house! It’s about another half a mile uphill. As soon as you hear a waterfall, you’ve pretty much made it… it’s just past the waterfall and up a flight of stairs.
Ahhh there she is! The Lake Agnes Tea House.
Since 1905, girls have been serving loose leaf tea and baked goods to tourists from around the world. We were SO excited when we arrived to see only two other tables taken up. We got a prime seat, outside on the deck where we could take in the views. (Unlucky for us, it was so foggy that day we couldn’t see a whole lot. )
The girls that work at the tea house are the sweetest! They hike to work, and stay in the loft inside the tea house for about a week at a time. They wake up early to start baking yummy pastries and soup for all of the guests. Be sure to tip these girls well… They hike up the mountain with all of the ingredients they need to make your food. No joke.
They have tons of tea to choose from, but will always recommend their favorites/ most popular. Trev and I settled on a pot of Canadian Maple (best decision ever). He ordered an apple fritter, and I had tea biscuits and jam. They baked them fresh and served them to me warm. They were THE BEST biscuits I’ve ever had in my entire life. (Sorry Grandma…) Be sure to bring cash with you. (They take Canadian or American)
The inside of the tea house is small, and cozy and smells freaking amazing. All the tables and chairs have been there since 1901, when the tea house was first built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a refuge for hikers. The building is not the same as the original, but all the tables, chairs, and windows are.
We could have sat in our little corner for the entire day eating, and enjoying ourselves, but when 10 am rolled around, it started to get pretty busy. We paid our bill, packed up our things, headed to hike towards the Little Beehive.
The hike was beautiful, however, we couldn’t see a whole lot. Again, it was SO foggy. When we made it to Little Beehive, it started to rain. Our original plan was to keep hiking, but with the not so ideal weather, we decided to turn around.
Once we returned, we decided to check out the world famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Oh my goodness you guys. I’d have chewed off my left arm to stay here. It was SO BEAUTIFUL. I didn’t take any pictures inside (you can) because I felt so out of place! I mean, these people were dressed so nice, and I was wandering around in my hiking clothes that were covered in mud. This place is on my bucket list to stay in, if only for one night! Starting at $647 a night it is truly a luxury hotel. But honestly, the price is worth it. I can’t even imagine how fantastic it would be to wake up to a view like Lake Louise!
I was so happy that we saved Lake Louise and the Lake Agnes Tea House for our last big day of hiking on our trip. In my opinion, we saved the best for last!
I can’t believe next week is the last day I’ll be writing about Banff! I’ve been loving reliving my trip through these blog posts. This place has truly stolen our hearts. Come back next week for my final thoughts on this amazing place!
Happy Travel Tuesday Loves!