Banff National Park in Alberta, CA is easily one of the top nature destinations in North America (and the world). In June 2018, my partner and I were lucky enough to explore a few of the park's most well-known areas. You know.. Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, etc.
With that said, it is actually one of the lesser-known lakes that takes the cake as my favorite (hint: it's the one in the picture above).
Yep, this beauty goes by Lake Agnes, a small mountain lake about 2 miles above Lake Louise.
Lake Agnes sits at around 7002ft elevation. The 4.2-mile out-and-back hike starts at Lake Louise's main entrance. It's rated as a moderate hike, covering about 1427 in elevation.
The trek up to Lake Agnes will blow you away. The switchbacks give you pristine views of Lake Louise, panoramas of the surrounding mountains, and waterfalls around every corner. You'll also pass Little and Big Beehive (image below) mountains.
But Ryan, you must be kidding, how is this little unknown lake any better than the others?
Two words: TEA HOUSE
As you're reward for reaching the top, you get to sit at the historic Lake Agnes Tea House and fill your belly with warm biscuits and fresh tea made from Lake Agnes' glacier water itself! There is nothing better.
The tea house was established in 1905 and has quite the operation. Helicopters fly up to drop propane tanks for the kitchen (this happened while we were up there). Workers of the tea house (mostly college students) hike the 4.2 miles daily with large packs for supplies. They live at the tea house all summer, operating the kitchen and enjoying nature. You can read more about the tea house here.
If we're being honest, I wouldn't mind working there when I retire.