February 14, 2015
Named after the late Lady Agnes McDonald, Lake Agnes offers some great views from atop looking down on Chateau Lake Louise. This trail was a great day hike, at 3.7Km to reach Lake Agnes and the Tea House. So far I think this might have to be my favorite trail in Banff National Park.
On this day I did encounter a number of people on the trail, however compared to my usual jam packed trails I find in Banff, this one was decently free of foot traffic. Once I reached Mirror Lake (2.7Km) most of the day hikers would give up. This left me to continue solo to the top.
It happened to be a balmy 4 Celsius on this day, so I was easily overheating in my sweater and spring jacket on my walk up. Though I mentioned it was not a long trail, there were moments of decent elevation gain. Despite the popularity of the trail and the packed snow trail, I did bring my snowshoes. I`m actually thankful I did as once you leave Mirror Lake and head further into the more difficult part of the hike to Lake Agnes, the elevation picks up.
Since there were less people interested in hiking the entire journey to the top, the snow packed trail wasn't as carved out. With a steeper challenge and a greater need for spikes under my feet, this is where I was thankful I decided to bring my snowshoes. Not that it would be impossible to complete without them, as I did see one person doing it in boots, but it sure made it much easier.
Part of me was really hoping that the Tea House would have been open in the winter once I made it to the top. As once you poke your head from behind the Tea House and stand in the open over looking the lake, you`re greatly exposed to a fierce wind.
Though I didn't spend too much time exposed to the wind, I did notice that there were two waterfalls that were frozen, attempting to drop into the lake. Though I'm not sure which, or if either, may still be active in the Summer. Both frozen falls weren't very large and didn't convince me that either had a source of water to keep a flow during summer months.
However on my walk back down to the bottom I had another look at the tops of the mountains, and it appeared to me that Mount Victoria and its Glacier does melt during the Summer.