May 29, 2005
Horseback riding has become one of our favorite things to do while vacationing in a national park. Being very novice riders, we search for a 2- to 4-hour ride that is moderate in terrain but provides a rewarding experience. Most of all, we want the gentlest horses.
We chose Timberline Tours, located at the Lake Louise Corral, behind Deer Lodge. They offered a 3-hour ride to the Lake Agnes Teahouse for $65. We made our reservations a day in advance and had our choice of either a morning or afternoon ride. We chose the afternoon ride, both for warmth and, hopefully, better photo opportunities.
After signing a waiver of liability, the three of us were matched to horses. My horse was named Tom and quite smaller than the other two. Chris’ horse was Skipper, and my husband still jokes that his horse, Bud, was just one letter away from Buc, as he would saunter along, then take off in a fast gallop to catch up.
Our 3-hour journey through the woods with Roy, our guide, was both beautiful and serene. As we left the corral, the trail was extremely muddy with standing water. The horses didn’t seem to mind, but I was glad I was riding instead of walking! We encountered several areas with snow still on the trail due to the abnormally late snowfall, but it didn’t stop the horses as they climbed the steep trail.
About 45 minutes later, we stopped at Mirror Lake so the horses could rest for a short spell and get a drink. Mirror Lake is set below the cliffs of the Big Beehive and receives little wind, so a reflection of the snow-covered cliffs above was an added bonus to the emerald-green water that still had ice floating.
With our horses watered, we continued steadily climbing until we reached an area where we left the horses and continued on foot. As we climbed a set of stairs, I heard running water, and soon, Bridal Veil Falls came into view, with the water carving its way through a mound of snow and ice to flow rapidly over the mountainside.
Finally we had reached the Lake Agnes teahouse!
Lake Agnes is a cirque lake surrounded by jagged mountain peaks. On our visit, the lake was still mostly frozen and the teahouse had just opened days before.
Many hikers were here, having made the steep climb up to munch on a sandwich, cookie, or a piece of lemon-poppy-seed bread. Some were simply content to sip a cup of tea or hot chocolate, while others enjoyed the soup of the day. We sat on the teahouse balcony, enjoying the immense beauty of the Bow Valley and Lake Louise below us. The allotted 40 minutes flew by, and soon, we were descending the stairs, ready to start the return journey on horseback.
The best way to describe the Lake Agnes trail ride: "WAY COOL" and highly recommended!
From journal Oh Canada! How we loved the Rockies!