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Hitting the hills this holiday

The fog rolls over Lake Agnes on a snowy Fall day. (Photo by Brady Bateman/SAIT)

The fog rolls over Lake Agnes on a snowy Fall day.
(Photo by Brady Bateman/SAIT)

Winter hiking is often regarded as a daunting task, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences when done with the right mindset.

As John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist and author once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

This holds true for most nature-related activities, but is even truer for hiking, and beyond that, hiking during the winter.

To newcomers, the experience can be intimidating and will often be both frustrating and thrilling at the same time.

You may face cold weather conditions, deep snow to trudge through and there will always be the possibility of finding yourself in life-threatening situations.

The beauty of winter hiking, though, is that a single view or serene moment can make all of these new and challenging situations worthwhile.

Lake Agnes is a small body of water near Lake Louise, no more than a few hours walk away. 

The Lake Agnes tea house trail is perfect for beginner hikers, and is a wealth of beauty to be discovered by seasoned hiking veterans or families looking to get out of the city for a day.

After arriving in Lake Louise, there is a quick detour around the chateau and past Lake Louise itself. The path makes an immediate bend to the right and continues most of the way up to Lake Agnes.

In the winter, you must be careful of your footing at all times. Luckily, the trail is well laid out and easy to follow.

Although there are spurts of altitude gain, there are no points along the trail in which the path becomes overly technical. And, as long as you watch your footing, you should arrive with no problem.

Around 80 per cent of the way up the trail, you will stumble upon Mirror Lake. If you weren’t paying attention, you could almost miss it.

Pushing up the path, you will find yourself at Lake Agnes within an hour, depending on pace.

Although the teahouse itself only operates during summer months, there is still more than enough reason to make the trip.

With fantastic views and the possibility to continue hiking to either Little Beehive or Big Beehive, Lake Agnes is bound to hold something for people of all skill levels.

As with all winter-related activities, preparation is paramount and should never be taken lightly.

People interested in beginning winter hiking should look into local animal advisories as well as weather conditions for the areas they intend to explore.

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