The Banff Chronicles: Big Beehive Dome

October 27, 2008


While Sara and I were eating our lunch, we talked about the possibility of hiking to either Big Beehive Dome or Little Beehive Dome. Both of them promised amazing views. Sara was actually entertaining the idea. She suggested the possibility of me hiking it on my own if she wasn’t up to it. I’d be open to that, but part of the experience is sharing it. After we finished eating, we visited the out house bathrooms. Getting back on our feet reminded us how hard the hike up had been. Both the Beehive hikes were shorter, but a lot steeper. Sara wasn’t sure she was up for it. On our way back from the bathrooms, we met a hiker coming back from Little Beehive. He was a Banff local (originally from the UK) and we asked him about the hikes. He called them walks and definitely recommended them. He suggested Big Beehive if we only had time to do one. That was all the motivation we needed, so we set off.

We had to walk to the other end of Lake Agnes to access the trail up to Big Beehive. On the far side of Lake Agnes was a pretty tall mountain and high altitude valley where snow runoff supplied the water for Lake Agnes, which in turn fed Crystal lake and eventually Lake Louise. While standing on a small area made up of boulders and smaller rocks, we could hear what sounded like hundreds of gallons of water rushing below our feet.

We continued on to the trail that went up Big Beehive. It was essentially a series of 8-10 switchbacks. They were fairly long and fairly steep.We both had to rest for a few minutes at the end of every switch back. Although it was painful and hard, we were both pretty determined. There was no going back. Eventually we made it to the top, which was a long, flat summit. We started walking to the end, which was nice to be on flat ground again. It was up here that we got our first glimpse of Lake Louise again. AMAZING! The color was unreal, and the perspective form 1500 feet up was breathtaking.We got to the end our hike and rested and enjoyed the view for at least 30 minutes. I was happy. I’d conquered my mountain. Sara was happy. She got the amazing views she craved. Again, we basked in our accomplishment!

Oh, and right when we summited Big Beehive Dome, we ran into the two ladies who encouraged us while we were huffin’ and puffin’ on the way to the teahouse. They were truly thrilled. It was obvious they didn’t expect to see us up there. “Good for you!” Ha! It was funny and we were just glad to be up there and have a team of cheerleaders greet us.

Well, we traveled 5 Kilometers to the top. It was the most we’d hiked in years, and we did it with a 1500 foot elevation. We turned around and headed straight down to the bottom. It took us between 45 minutes and one hour to make it all the way back to the Chateau. It took us almost 3 hours to get to the top. Not bad, huh? So, if you’re in reasonable shape and are looking forward to a challenging hike with amazing views, head on up to Lake Agnes and Big Beehive Dome. If you’re in better shape than us, you can hit both the Beehives and even come down the backside of Big Beehive down to the lake Louise shoreline trail.

Lake AgnesIMG_0950

Lake Agnes from the far side, this is where I could hear water running beneath my feet.

IMG_0955Lake Agnes from Beehive trail

The trail to Big Beehive. Another view of Lake Agnes.

Big Beehive Dome TrailLake Louise from Big Beehive

Switchbacks we just hiked. Our first peak at Lake Louise, our prize.


Mountains surrounding Lake Louise. Crystal Lake and Lake Louise.

Kenny Conley Lake LouiseIMG_1009

Pictures of the persistent yet determined flat-landers.


One last photo before leaving. Big Beehive Dome from Crystal Lake.


One last view from Lake Louise. Big Beehive dome is the rounded peak on the far right.

2 Responses to “The Banff Chronicles: Big Beehive Dome”

  1. jonathan Says:

    Those are some great pictures! Now remind me again why we live in Texas???

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Sara Says:

    Aww…Jonathan! Believe me friend…I’ve lived other places…there is no place like Texas! Come on down to hill country. We at least have some hills here. Lakes too!


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