A Tale of Two Tea Houses

lake louise, canada[trip style = active + adventure]

{Editor's Note :: I just got home from Alberta where I hiked high into the Canadian Rockies, and then descended into the Province's flatlands for the Greatest Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede. Drop by Trip Styler on Thursday for FULL ON Stampede coverage---including bull riding and deep-fried butter! I'm also going to be chatting with Jill Krop about "Stampede after the storm" on this Thursday's edition of AM/BC between 9-10 am on Shaw-subscriber channel 21 (216 for HD)}.

I can't walk, bike or drive into Banff National Park without tearing up. Nature; it's everywhere in high def, except the 'reel'---ok, real---version is accompanied by gusts of glacial air, mist from mountain streams, and marmot whistles as you walk into their territory.

Last week's trip took me into Lake Louise {above}, Canada's most photographed body of water. Sporting a shade of aqua-blue---bluer than the Caribbean Sea---Lake Louise is wilderness perfection, reflecting Victoria Glacier in a glamorous mirror-effect.

As gorgeous as Lake Louise is, she's only the beginning of Banff National Park's beauty. If you go---and I implore you to do so---carve out some time for a wallop of Canadian wow-factor on a trip style = luxury hiking adventure. Starting at the base of Lake Louise, venture sky-high for a spot of tea to one or both of Banff's alpine tea houses: vintage, wooden cabins serving tea and biscuits---sans electricity!---to hungry hikers during summer.

Here are the details: hike to plain of six glaciers The hiking path to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. A 5.5 km climb that took us about an hour from the base of Lake Louise.

views = plain of six glaciers Views hiking to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House.

plain of six galciers tea house The Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, built in 1927 by two Swiss guides for the Canadian Pacific Railway. There is no electricity or running water. Food is made daily on propane stoves. Supplies are brought up once a season by helicopter, and replenished regularly on horseback, or by staff who walk up with loads on foot. Cash only. Open during summer.

inside plain of six glaciers tea house About to have a spot of HIGH---2100 meters high---tea.

plain of six glaciers tea house tea Suggested: vanilla rooibos Tea.

prayer flags Tibetan prayer flags strung from the second floor balcony.

tea at plain of six glaciers Oh, "high."

hike from plain of six glaciers to lake agnes Strolling toward tea No. 2 at Lake Agnes Tea House, a 5 km hike from the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House.

lake agnes tea house, banff national park Lake Agnes Tea House. A wide, well-trodden trail gradually climbs 3.5 kms from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes. You can also reach it via the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, and vice versa. Open 9:00 am - 6:00 pm June -September/9:30 am - 5:30 pm September-early October. Cash only. At the top, try the gooey-good mountain bar, a mix of chocolate, coconut, seeds, marshmallow and craisins atop a graham cracker crust.

view from lake agnes tea house View from the Lake Agnes Tea House.

[photos by Trip Styler, taken as a guest of Tourism Alberta. AS ALWAYS, I only write about stuff that sends me head over heals.]