Big Beehive Loop Trail – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#27 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Big Beehive Loop Trail

Big Beehive Loop Trail
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  • Location: Banff National Park
  • Trailhead: Lake Louise
  • Type: Lollypop Loop (Out-n-back with a large difficult loop)
  • Rating: Difficult
  • Total Distance: 6.5-miles
  • Trailhead Elevation: 5,780′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,930′
  • Recommended Time: Half-day
  • Recommended Season: Mid-June to Late-September

Lake Louise

Lake Louise
A very early morning at Lake Louise is the only time to see the waters still. It also helped that we arrived on an overcast day.

The Lake Louise area of Banff National Park is well known for its beauty. The lake itself, while very beautiful, resembles more of a theme park than a national park with the massive Fairmont Chateau resting on the shores of the picturesque lake. To add to theme park madness the small parking lot is overwhelmed daily by visitors and buses shuttling tourists to and from the lake from miles away. However, this area of the National Park does have a lot of beauty and even a little solitude for those who are willing to sweat a bit in search of it. One of the best places to seek solitude is atop the Big Beehive Mountain via the Big Beehive Loop Trail.

Big Beehive Mountain Top

For those who venture up to the top of Big Beehive Mountain, they are rewarded with the best aerial views of not only the iconic Lake Louise but also Lake Agnes. There is a shelter at the top for when inclement weather rolls in quickly. From this vantage point, the surrounding landscape of the Canadian Rockies is laid out before hikers in a scene that would rival any the world over. This makes the Big Beehive Loop Trail one of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies.

Big Beehive Summit
The aerial view of Lake Louise from atop the Big Beehive.

Hike Counterclockwise

Big Beehive Loop Trail Map
The Big Beehive Loop is actually several different trails so use this map for reference only and use to see the way ahead.

The path to the top of the Big Beehive is steep and has loads of switchbacks on either side of the mountain top. Whichever direction you choose to hike it will be a difficult climb, but we suggest going counterclockwise. This direction leads up to Lake Agnes first which is a much more beautiful approach and allows you to visit one of the famous Lake Louise Tea Houses. Once over the top of the Big Beehive, those seeking more adventure can do so by taking the Highline Trail west to the Plain of Six Glaciers. This would turn this half-day journey into an epic full day of hiking adventure.

Lake Agnes to Beehive
These steep switchbacks coming up from Lake Agnes are actually easier and more scenic than coming up from the other side.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Beautiful! I enjoyed your description.

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