Big Beehive: A big little hike near Lake Louise

big beehive view from trail lake agnes

While visiting Lake Louise, the weather was perfect for a hike so we decided to give Little Beehive a try. Little Beehive is easy to find, they said. Little Beehive is the easiest hike, they said. I’m sure it is. But we didn’t find out, because we ended up hiking Big Beehive, thanks to an accident of signage and some poorly-placed ego.

After a substantial trip up the mountain to Lake Agnes and its famous teahouse, we walked around the lake a bit, then headed up a rather sketchy trail, in search of adventure and beautiful views of Lake Louise. Well, we weren’t short of either.

Boyfriend Perspective: :Sign near teahouse: “<- Big Beehive, Little Beehive, Bathrooms”, :second sign: <-Big Beehive, Little Beehive/ -> Bathrooms”, :third sign: “Welcome to Big Beehive Summit”…..WTF? I wanted Little Beehive, where was the turn??!!


The trail up, up, up

When you circle around the backside of the lake to get to the trail, you’ll realize that this is not the same kind of trail you took to Lake Agnes. It’s rocky, and quickly becomes full of shale, roots, and large pebbles that are easy to slip on.

As you get further up the very steep trail, you hit a series of switchbacks that are every bit as sketchy. Take it slow and be careful, especially if you’re not a super-serious outdoorsperson.

Honestly, we’re not in bad shape. We work out multiple days a week, cardio included. But this was a kind of breathless I don’t think either of us had ever been up to this point.

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The up side? The views as you head up are stunning, and the area around the summit is also lovely. It makes the effort feel even more worthwhile 🙂


Conquering Big Beehive

Well, we did it.

Downside? Almost too tired to climb down.



Pro tips

  • BRING LOTS OF WATER. The downside of starting your day with a small argument (one of the perils of traveling as a couple, what can you do?) is that you become a little absentminded. We left the water we’d brought in the car, and didn’t realize until we were a fair way into the trail up to Lake Agnes. We got pretty damn thirsty. Don’t be us.
  • Wear really, really good shoes. I made mistakes. I wore shoes that were comfy for a walking trail, not a hiking trail. My heels seriously suffered for it. Don’t be me!
  • Take the trail on the left. After you summit, don’t go back down the way you came. If you’re facing away from the summit, that way would be on your right. Take the trail on your left. It’s still steep, but it’s far less slippery and sketchy. That trail also takes you directly back down to Mirror Lake, so you’re much closer to the end of your hike.
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big beehive hike alberta canada

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