Classic Hike: Plain of Six Glaciers

Length: ~16km round trip

This is a classic Canadian hike at beautiful Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Looking back, it’s safe to say this hike is the very reason I fell in love with the mountains.

The first time I did this hike was hours after landing in Alberta. My buddy picked me up at the airport and we headed immediately for the Rockies. The drive alone into the mountains blew me away. The snow on the craggy peaks glistened as we got closer to the lake. Even in October, the parking lot was packed with tourists. We grabbed our packs, took some classic tourist pictures of the lake, and then started our hike skirting the lake.

Slowly, the number of hikers started dwindling. Large groups headed up the trail towards Lady Agnes tea house, making the trail significantly less crowded. Like most hikes in the Rockies, the trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers turns into a series of switchbacks in order to make the trip uphill more tolerable. The sun made the hike pleasant and quite often we would cross small streams off runoff caused by melting snow.

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As we made our way toward the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, we came across some grumbling tourists saying they were all out of tea for the day. In truth, I didn’t even realize they served tea but kudos to them for lugging all the supplies up there! By this point the snow had become deeper but we didn’t mind. The views were priceless and the air was clear.

We made our way out to the viewpoint and were stunned. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll let this picture do the talking.

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I used to be hesitant about going to Lake Louise because of the number of tourists but this is hands down an essential hike for anyone in the Canadian Rockies.

Things to Know:

  • There is an avalanche risk in the lat fall, winter, and early spring months.
  • Arrive early to get parking.
  • Stop by the Banff Ave. Brewing Co. or The Eddie Burger Bar in Banff afterwards for a pint and some great food!

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