Now this is a hike you should do.
This is a hike you should do especially if you're gluten free.
Beginning at Lake Louise in beautiful Banff National Park the Plain of Six Glaciers is a must do if you visit the area. At just under 7 miles round trip with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain it's a great day hike that won't leave you too exhausted. Along the trail you'll pass jaw-dropping views of the turquoise waters and shrinking glaciers. Eventually climbing to a dream-like valley that just so happens to have a tea house!
The hike begins with leisurely walk around the lake. The beginning of which is likely to be somewhat crowded with the throngs of tourists that visit Lake Louise. As soon as you reach the dirt path towards the end of the lake the crowds should thin and off you'll go up to the Plain of Six Glaciers.
At the tail end of the lake walk you'll see one of my favorite views of the hike. The contrast between the jewl toned waters of the lake and the glacial run off is just mesmerizing. That combined with the patterns and swirls of the sediment - well I could have stood there and taken pictures forever.
I won't lie, much of the hike is a gradual up. Not a painful up, but there's a lot of up. The good new is, the views keep getting better the farther up you go. Both in front of you and behind you.
See what I mean? The views back towards the lake are spectacular!
So after all you're hard work climbing upwards you'll find yourself in that meadow I mentioned. In that meadow is a teahouse run with no electricity or running water and it's ridiculously charming. And now here's the great part; that blown out piece of paper you see next to me, it's the menu. And that menu, has a couple of identified gluten free items!
Unfortunately, we figured there wouldn't be anything at the top that I could eat. So we didn't bother to bring any cash with us (remember, there's no electricity so they don't take credit cards). The gluten free items on the menu when we visited in the summer of 2011 included a quinoa salad, cheeses, hummus, chips, and salad. Not a whole lot - but what a wonderful treat in such a remote location.
When we visited rock slides had obscured parts of the trail to view the glaciers - it was not recommended to continue past the meadow. We took the risk and ventured farther past the rock slides and across some crumbling catwalks for a better view of the glacier. If you do the same, please understand that you're taking a risk, hiking in a potentially unsafe an unstable area.
Okay, enough the the scary talk. Isn't that chipmunk totally cute?
The view of the glacier from the point was stopped at was pretty spectacular. Since it was a clear day we also got a great view of the Abbot Pass Hut (it's that little dot on the saddle) - I can't believe people actually attempted to climb up there from this direction! Eek!
So that's the Plain of Six Glaciers hike. It's an out and back, so the good news is that you get to go downhill for the remainder! And remember that there are brilliant views of Lake Louise on your way down!