Length: 10 km return
Trailhead: Lake Louise shoreline
Elevation gain: 577 m
The crazy thing about travel is that it fills you, and leaves you empty all at the same time. Europe gave me such wanderlust, while simultaneously leaving me feeling more rooted in my home than I’d ever felt before. To me, the Rockies are an extension of home and the more time I spend there, the more I feel those roots sink in.
Right after returning from Europe, Tim and I hiked up to Big Beehive for the first time. I’ve always loved being in the mountains an indescribable amount, but hiking to this new place right after visiting so many foreign-to-me places grew a connection in me to the Rockies that I hadn’t felt before. We’d just lived out of a backpack for six weeks, but I get to call this place home? I’ll take it.
The trail up Big Beehive is an extension of the trail to Lake Agnes, located in Banff National Park at Lake Louise. The trail is incredibly well maintained, and one can easily follow the signs along the trail to get to the top of Big Beehive. It’s a super popular route, especially in the summer (as are most Banff-based hikes). Passing Lake Louise, Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes on the way to the top, Big Beehive is one of those “stop and smell the roses” type of trails. Which hikes in Banff aren’t, though?
After attempting to visit Lakes Agnes in the past and failing miserably, I was stoked to finally see what all the fuss was about. A warm day, mostly clear skies and my dove by my side made for a pretty good introduction. It felt like a scene out of a Tolkien story — the peaks so pointy, the water so reflective, the bright grass against the alpine summer snow… You get it.
Like most beautiful places, this hike just left me asking myself why I hadn’t gone sooner. The views from the top of Big Beehive allow you to look Fairview Mountain in the eye, and when looking over Lake Louise you’ll also have a bird’s eye view of Mirror Lake, too.
You could happily end your travels at Lake Agnes, ideally with a tea at the Lake Agnes Teahouse (bring cash). However, rerouting your adventure to Little Beehive or Devil’s Thumb, or even scrambling up Mount St Piran or Mount Niblock (though I have yet to attempt these) would make for an equally memorable day.