Big Beehive Hike
The Big Beehive not only boasts a stunning viewpoint soaring high above Lake Louise, but it offers steady highlights along the way. Starting at Lake Louise itself is satisfying enough for some, and it only gets better as you continue. Many lakes and options to extend the trail into a loop, or add on viewpoints, make the Big Beehive an excellent hike for those visiting the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park.
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Route Description for Big Beehive Hike
Summer in Lake Louise can be very busy, and getting to the Big Beehive may feel like a parade. The beginning of the trail travels through the extremely busy Lake Louise Lakeshore, and continues on towards the Lake Agnes trail. This trail leads to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, the Little Beehive, the Big Beehive, the Devil’s Thumb, and some other less frequented peaks. From the trailhead to Mirror Lake the trail will be extremely crowded, but as you continue people will drop out of sight. Leaving early is important, and if you do, you’ll be able to see crowds of coloured jackets and camera flashes on the lakeshore from high above at the Big Beehive lookout.
The Big Beehive hike has a misleading name, but you’ll understand when you arrive at Mirror Lake. The Big Beehive stands tall above Mirror Lake, casting the namesake reflection on the lake. Look closely at the texture and shape, and the beehive reference will become very clear. This is a hike that starts at a world-famous landmark, winds beyond multiple small alpine lakes, a historic teahouse, and leads its visitors to a jaw-dropping viewpoint that shows off the glacial waters of Lake Louise from impressive heights.
Lake Louise is a destination on its own for many; however, viewing it from the Big Beehive lookout gives a whole new perspective. Take your photos and check out the scenery at Lake Louise lakeshore before heading up to the beehive. Follow the lakeshore to the right and find signs to Lake Agnes. There is plenty of signage along this route so don’t worry about taking the wrong path. Despite large crowds that may be joining you on your march to Lake Agnes, don’t forget to take in the views of the lake below. Lake Louise brightens as you continue gaining elevation and views of the turquoise waters are worth stopping to admire all the way up.
You’ll come to Mirror Lake, which is the end for some hikers. Enjoy the towering views of the Big Beehive above Mirror Lake. Enjoy a snack or break on the lakeshore before continuing to a junction for the Little Beehive. Take this 0.8 km detour if you are looking for some extra distance. If not, continue towards Lake Agnes. Climb the stairs at the small waterfall to the historic Lake Agnes teahouse, and stop for tea if you please. This teahouse has been here since 1901, and stopping for tea on the deck feels like a trip back in time.
The trail sign will direct hikers around the right side of the lake. Follow the lakeshore as it wraps around the back of the lake and leads to switchbacks on your right. Climb the steady switchbacks where you meet a junction. Head left for Big Beehive, where you will find the famed viewpoint and incomparable views of Lake Louise from above.
Descend to the junction atop the switchbacks, and from here, you can choose if you would like to go back the way you came or take the highline trail that joins the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. If you choose to take the second option, you can extend your hike by following the moraine to the Plain of Six Glaciers’ historic teahouse, which has impressive views of the Victoria Glacier and Abbott Pass. You can also take the highline trail, and rather than heading to the second teahouse, you can return to the back of Lake Louise on the lakeshore trail, making a lollipop loop. All trails are well signed, and you won’t have a hard time finding your way.
Hiking trail Highlights
Starting at Lake Louise is one of the main highlights of this trip. You’ll be chasing views of the famous glacial lake and its wild turquoise colour throughout your hike. The views are ever-changing yet always coming into sight. Visiting Lake Louise isn’t enough for adventure seekers, so seeing it from high above where the colours truly shine is a definite bucket-list item for your visit to Banff National Park.
Lake Agnes Teahouse
The Lake Agnes Teahouse is the perfect rest stop on the Big Beehive trail. The historic teahouse was built in 1901 by railway workers as a refuge in the Rockies. With the uniquely rugged structure and calming views of Lake Agnes, the teahouse has a sense of character rivalled only by the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse nearby.
Insider Hints for Big Beehive Hike
- Plan to arrive early morning or early evening to avoid crowds
- Park in Lake Louise overflow parking or village to catch a shuttle
- Check local maps for nearby connecting trails if you would like a longer hike
- Enjoy a tea and snack on the deck of historic Lake Agnes Teahouse
Getting to the Big Beehive Hike Trailhead
To get to the Big Beehive hike, you will start in Lake Louise. Take the Trans-Canada Highway westbound from Banff 57.0 km to the Lake Louise exit. Turn left off the ramp and continue straight through two sets of four-way stops. You will continue up the hill on Lake Louise Drive towards the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, passing other lodges and hotels. When you reach the Chateau, turn left into the public parking lot. Follow signs to the lake and continue to your right along the lakeshore. You will find signs for the Big Beehive from here.
Big Beehive Hike Elevation Graph
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Big Beehive Hike Reviews
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