Rural before rural (day 3): Lake Louis

If you take a poll on which image people around the world associate with the Canadian Rockies, I would wager that it would be the picture of Lake Louis from the front steps of Fairmont. It’s just so accessible and beautiful and iconic that tour companies will probably be criticized if they don’t plan a stop at Lake Louis.

We visit Lake Louis almost every time we go to the Rockies as well. But we have never explored it quite like this trip: because of Johnny, we hiked up to the Agnes Lake, had lunch at the tea house, and went further up to the Bee Hive. Even my mom hiked the whole way without a complaint. My dad complimented her in in his usual back-handed way: “without Johnny, she wouldn’t even have started the hike!”

On the hike up, I suddenly came up with a question:

“What’s the line after ‘山有仙則名’?” It’s from a poem I learned in grade 7 or grade 8 about how a dude thinks he is so much better than everyone else because he is above material and other mundane needs. Its rough translations: “The mountain is famous because of a Budha.”

When we got to the Tea House by Agnes Lake, just around the corner, the freezing wind slap the sweating hikers so abruptly that I felt the temperature must have dropped by 10 degrees in a matter of a few steps. We quickly found shelter in the Tea House and ordered some very expensive hot chili and tuna sandwich.

By Agnes Lake, I found a big rock and our risky photo taking started only to get worse over the trip:

It was quite a strenuous hike up the hills from Agnes Lake to the Bee Hive, but we all got there ok. The view from the Bee Hive, which sits on top of the big round rock to the right of Lake Louis when viewed from Fairmont, was phenomenal. We could look far into the valley to the north and south, and we could look down on the famous Lake Louis and appreciate it in its entirety.

And this is what we did with the hundreds of meters of cliff:

And believe it or not, it was my dad who suggested that we take floating pictures on this big rock:


We hung around the Bee Hive for a while for some rest (after lots of trials of jumping pictures), and we noticed that a big ugly looking cloud moved in from the northern end of the valley. A lot of mist formed underneath it, slowly covering everything below. On the southern end, the sky was still bright blue with some white clouds, giving a very dynamic contrast in the panoramic view.


We could see the end of the rain because the sky was brighter right behind the raining cloud, so we decided that we could wait out the rain in 20 minutes. We did.

The hike down was also challenging, but once again, no one complained and we all got down safe and sound. We talked about how Alison and Tina must come here next time we are in Banff. I’m sure my dad would say: “If you don’t hike to the Bee Hive, you haven’t been to Lake Louis.”

The entire hike took about 5-6 hours, with plenty of fooling around and rest in between.


Because we booked the campsites just in the nick of time, we couldn’t book enough nights at Lake Louis for both tents. My parents and Charlie had to go to Banff after we finished our Lake Louis hike, so we said goodbye at the Lake Louis parking lot.

Johnny and I decided to go to the “family restaurant” in the Lake Louis village for dinner, because Johnny has been having his veggie instant noodles for 2 nights.

The place was run by Chinese people, much to our surprise. “Where did they come from?” I wondered to Johnny. I didn’t think there would be too many local Chinese people in Banff.

As we ate, Johnny suddenly exclaimed: “rainbow!”

And I saw the brightest rainbow in my memory right outside the window. It was so bright that it was actually obscuring the mountain behind it.


We went back to our campground after dinner, and because of a line up at the entrance, and because we had too much time to kill, we headed up to Moraine Lake


and took more silly pictures.


We spent 1 hours on the lookout, to many other tourists’ amusement (or distaste, one or the other).

米熊skipped the hike on Lake Louis, but he made up for it by rock-climbing at Moraine Lake.


And he enjoys the valley view behind the lake.


(to be continued…)

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2 thoughts on “Rural before rural (day 3): Lake Louis

  1. I’m glad you’re alive and safe~phew
    You guys are quite some risk-takers! At least you didn’t throw rice bear up that rock, she might fall wayy down and out of sight.

    Btw, I think bear turned into a guy In the end:)

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