Enjoy tea with a view at Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, only 5.3 kilometres from Lake Louise!
A classic Canadian Rockies trail, Plain of Six Glaciers begins at legendary Lake Louise and ends at a Swiss-built alpine teahouse. This moderate-level hike can be done in half a day, but we recommend taking your time and enjoying the scenery. Expect to be wowed by Lake Louise’s turquoise waters and glaciers galore. As you approach the teahouse, see how many glaciers you can spot. Hint: Mount Victoria has two glaciers (mountain and valley), Mount Lefroy has two (upper and lower), and the others are on Mount Aberdeen and Popes Peak, but you can’t see all six from the teahouse.
Plain of Six Glaciers Trail Route Description
The trail begins on the shore of Lake Louise. Follow the easy (and busy!), flat trail around the north side of the lake, opposite the boathouse. Where a fork branches right to Lake Agnes Teahouse, continue straight along the lakeshore. Lake Louise gets its dazzling turquoise color from “rock flour*” suspended in the water, scattering blue and green light. (*Rock flour is the result of glaciers advancing and retreating, and scouring the mountainsides.)
As you approach the delta at the far side of the lake, 2 kilometres from the start, the crowds thin out and you get a lesser-seen view of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Mount Fairview. Note the “End of Nordic Ski Trail” sign near the cliffs. Travel beyond this point is not recommended in winter conditions due to extreme avalanche danger.
From here, the trail climbs gradually and steadily; 365 metres over 3 kilometres. Look for pikas and marmots in the rocks, and don’t forget to look back every now and then. The lake is a different color in different light and appears darker from above. Continuing on, keep right at the fork, to stay on the hiking trail (safer for you and the horse trail is rather stinky). As you leave the trees behind, Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy’s glaciers come into view.
Where the trail narrows, take turns crossing the rock ledge along the cliff. If the rocks are slippery as they often are, you can hold on to chains bolted to the rock face. The drop off is very small, however, and the ledge isn’t that narrow so my kids went across easily, without using the chains.
You’ll want to pace yourself as there are some switchbacks (4) near the teahouse, but fortunately it’s a short, steep section. Once you’ve gotten that last bit of climbing behind you, you can enjoy tea and cake at the teahouse, or bask in the sunshine on the benches before the teahouse.
Continue on to Abbot Pass Viewpoint (1.5 km from the teahouse), or return the way you came. It’s possible to make a loop with the Highline Trail to see Lake Agnes and Mirror Lake on the way back. See details below.
Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse Information
The Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse looks very much like it did when it was built in 1927 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad. To this day, it has no electricity or running water. Supplies are helicoptered in at the start of the season, and staff pack in provisions daily on foot or horseback. Please help them out by packing out your trash!
Enjoy tea and biscuits, or soup and sandwich at the historic teahouse. You can dine inside or outside, but we prefer sitting on the deck so we can enjoy the views we worked for!
Open 9 am to 4 pm, June 10, 2022 until Canadian Thanksgiving. Cash payment preferred, but credit cards are accepted with a $4 service fee.
Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse Trail at a Glance
- Distance: 5.3 km one way to Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse
- Elevation Gain: 365 m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Parking: Lake Louise Parking Lot (park at the lake, not in the Village)
It’s possible to make a side trip to the Plain of Six Glaciers / Abbot Pass Viewpoint (1.5 km one way, 50 m elevation gain), or return via the Highline Trail/Lake Agnes to make a 14.6 km loop. Look for the Highline Trail junction 1.2 km east of the teahouse, and go left.
Know Before You Go
- There is significant avalanche danger here from October through late spring. Check the Banff National Park Trail Report for current conditions and choose a different trail if the trail is closed.
- A Parks Canada Discovery Pass / daily admission fee is required to stop in Banff National Park.
- You are in prime grizzly bear territory. Review our Bear Safety Tips and keep bear spray accessible.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash.
What to Bring
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Good hiking boots and a windproof/waterproof shell are must-haves. Trekking poles are recommended for the descent, especially if you have a heavy pack.
You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a headlamp, a GPS/compass and map of the area, bug spray (this one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), sunscreen (this one is safe for babies), and bear spray. Carry bear spray in a Frontiersman Bear Spray Holster (attaches to your backpack or belt) or Scat Belt.
Lake Louise is located two hours west of Calgary, a few kilometres south of the TransCanada Highway.
Parking fills up fast (by 7 am on weekends) from June until mid-October, so if you’re not an early riser, we recommend taking the shuttle bus from the Park & Ride at Lake Louise Ski Resort. For more information or to book your seat now, visit Parks Canada | Getting Around Lake Louise.