Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
770.00 m (2,526.25 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
11.62 km (7.22 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is longer of the three classic routes around Lake Louise. While short by the standards of a Rockies hike, it is plenty long enough for folks looking to just get a taste of the area. It's a well-marked and very clear trail, so for entry-level hikers it's perfect. There is a teahouse toward the end of the trail that makes for a natural turnaround and rest stop. Couple this with frequent bear sightings, not to mention marmots and pikas, it makes for a superb day out.

The trail gets it's name from the confluence of several glaciers, most of which are now covered in glacial till. It may not look like it, but the brown fields of rock beneath the trail still have plenty of ice underneath them.

Parking is tricky. While it's tempting to drive right up to the lake, the lot here is normally full by 8 a.m., and getting a spot after is tough. The overflow parking, just south of Lake Louise Village on the Trans Canada Highway, runs very frequent free shuttles that get you to the lake shore and save you the hassle of navigating bumper-to-bumper traffic on narrow mountain roads.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is a very popular trail that is best done in summer when the snows have retreated. This can take awhile as snows will often be on the gorund well into July. The elevation gain isn't too severe, but trekking poles are recomended. It's also a good idea to bring extra layers and snacks. When the sun goes down beneath the peaks, often very early, the temperature plummets to about 10 degrees Celsius.

The trail begins as pavement at the lakeside trail around Lake Louise. Walk past the chateau along the lake. You will pass climbers at Back of the Lake as they go about their routes. Up until recently, the hardest route in Canada was on this wall.

Once past the climbers, the trail begins to climb, passing rivers and winding through the trees. It doesn't take long until you are back in wide-open terrain with excellent views. The trail works steadily upward, through an interesting ledge system.

Farther along, there is an option to take a trail along the moraine. The views are best here, and you can avoid the horses on the main trail. It later rejoins the main trail as it heads up a series of switchbacks to the teahouse. There is ample picnic space here if you'd rather not pay for a meal.

Back down to the trail, you can continue on a short ways along a moraine. This takes you farther up the valley and has incredible views up the "Death Trap" to Abbot Pass. Look for the hut and climbers on Mount Lefroy, the left-hand peak. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Non-stop beautiful views. Gentle slope at first. Can be turned into a loop. Tea house.

Cons

Extremely busy. Horse tours on the trail (watch your step).

Trailhead Elevation

5,675.85 ft (1,730.00 m)

Highest point

6,692.91 ft (2,040.00 m)

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Glacier
Guided tours
Wildflowers
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Waterfalls
Geologically significant
Horseback riding
Wildlife
Bird watching
Flushing toilets
Shelters

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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