Explore the most popular trail running trails near Banff with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

10/10 views. Paved, very short trail with steep incline to the look out. Bathrooms in the parking lot. SOOO many people acting like fools.

Today I did this hike with 3 of my kids age 8, 10 and 13. Trail is steep but I would still consider it moderate for difficulty. We got to the parking lot at 8:30am, lots of places to park, the hike took us just under 2 hours with lots of short breaks. Trail was mostly switchbacks and lots of trees so not a lot of open views, that being said the trails were wide and easy to walk on. We thought it was closer to 6km one way. I was super surprised to see how big the crowds were when we got to the top And it was only a Thursday. We did ride the gondola down just for fun. When we arrived back the parking lot was packed and so many shuttles of people.
Try this hike but do it early to avoid the large crowds!

We arrived at 7:30 to a parking lot with ~25 other cars. Very few people at the falls when we got there. The trail to ink pots was pretty easy too. All in all, took us ~2.5 hours start to finish. On the way back from ink pots the line for upper falls was ridiculously long and people were parking on the road outside the park. Definitely need to start early. If you start early bring a jacket. It was 4°C (39° F) when we began in mid July.

Went up the back route, was minimal traffic and pleasant scenery. Lots of chances to see the scenery from a wide service road which is currently in disuse. Lots of opportunities for pictures, rest, with a moderate incline that is consistent throughout. Came back down the front (75-90min) side which is very highly trafficked. Overall a decent hike.

Well worth the climb! Spectacular views of Banff.

A great workout with an awesome reward at the finish. Incredible views from all angles.

Nice and easy hike on a paved path. If you find that it is a rainy day but still want to go hiking then this is a good choice since it is not in the wide open. Most of the hike is along suspended catwalks that lead through the forest and canyon.
The lower falls has a small natural cave that you can duck through to view the falls (you will get slightly wet with mist).
The upper falls are quite nice too but make sure you turn off the paved path on your right just before the upper falls. You will descend to the water where you can see a massive dugout, a large top heavy rock, and a waterfall that you can walk behind. Well worth it.
The crowds will be less busy in the mornings of course so make this your first “quick and easy” hike of the day.

Nice short switchback trail that begins right in Banff. Once at the top you will have nice views overlooking the town of Banff on one side and the Banff Springs Golf course on the other. I found it’s best to hike in the evening just before sunset to avoid the crowds. Make sure to bring a beer with you to sip on one of the two red Adirondack chairs overlooking the town.

Nice easy hike up a paved trail leading to an overpopulated wooden lookout. For an even better view with no one in your way, leave behind the crowds and continue on to a three-way junction. Left leads to the upper bus parking lot while the right and middle trails continue on to a Forest loop. Take the middle trail and continue on for about a kilometre where you will run into an unmarked dirt trail on your left. Take this zig-zagging trail up to an amazing lookout with no one around. It’s well worth it, trust me.

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lakes in the Rockies. The short uphill trail can get quite busy. But the view at the top is incredible.

Gets busy some days, but also worth returning when in the area. I’ve done this hike several times now over the last few years (winter and summer), never gets old

Awesome short hike! About 1.5-2hr return, great views all around! Lots of people though as it is right in Banff

We are not very fit at all, but we made it to the top in about two hours. Fantastic views from the top, especially from the Cosmos station. We did cheat and take the Gondola back down, which saved time and my wife's legs ;-)

It’s a great hike for beginners, bring water and a hoodie or light coat. AND GO EARLY!!!

Loved it. Not too bad of a hike. Very dog friendly. Amazing views

A tad bit more challenging than you would expect for the ‘moderate’ rating. Limited opportunity for views on the climb and the trail can be a bit repetitive given all the hairpin turns. But spectacular views at the summit.

Highly visited trail especially given the increase access due to the gondolas on site. Ok to do this hike solo - limited chance of running into wildlife.

The bridge is washed out at 3.2 miles. Meaning you hike to the water and then have to turn around because you can’t cross the river. (We tried , took our shoes off and everything, very deep). They won’t be repairing the bridge per Parks Canada’s signage.

Busy and people just stomp all over vegetation to get a good picture. Beautiful views.

Nice hike

Short but relatively steep. Views of the city and river along the trail.

12 days ago

Great backpacking hike or long day hike. You steadily gain elevation to the pass for a final push straight up. You then descend a lot of elevation to Egypt lake. The campground is beautiful, well laid out sites, well maintained washrooms and some spots are sheltered with trees. If staying overnight definitely take the time to hike up the whistling valley trail to scarab lake. There is a big waterfall you can get a view of flowing down into Egypt lake. The views are amazing and it’s absolutely worth the extra 4km.

Great hike. The trail to upper falls is heavily trafficked. Once that is clear the trail to ink pots is smooth sailing. Great place to eat lunch and explore at the top.

13 days ago

One of the easiest and busiest hikes you can do in Banff

Two days ago we hiked up to the ink pots. It was amazing for me. I saw the swirls under the ink pots. Quiet and tranquil! Trail is pretty steep after the upper fall. Lots of mosquitos of course!

Uphill climb basically the whole way, took us just over two hours to reach the summit. We started early, but still hit big gondola crowds at the top. Had good views along the way and you can’t beat the 360 at summit. We ate at the bistro (great food) and took gondola down. I carried our one year old and my wife was carrying out soon to be second child.

Actually a lot harder than I expected. Had done tunnel mountain a few times and as both were rated as “moderate”, I assumed they were similar. Not true — this one was actually very steep at times, and I’m pretty fit. Was well worth it. Amazing views at top of gondola departure. Word of warning: TONS of tourists at top (they take gondola up).
Go early — we left at 830 and by the time we were coming down after 1130, there were lots of ppl on trail (which makes it good for single hikers).

Great “hike” (pretty easy)...quick, great views. Up and down in under 2 hrs depending on pace. Great spot to hang out and soak it in at top (although gets crowded).

17 days ago

Did this hike June 27. The first 7 km is mostly through forest but once you reach the meadows near the top it’s beautiful. It’s a long way but it isn’t too steep so it doesn’t feel very challenging at any one point. That being said I took the detour to Simpson pass adding a few extra kilometres on the way down and was quite tired by the end. Took me 5.5 hours from the parking lot to the top and back with some stops to eat along the way.

Was definitely a thigh burner, wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Was 6ish kms of up hill switchbacks. I’m not unfit but found it still quite difficult. Was a cool day too, wouldn’t want to do this on a hot day. The views were worth it if there wasn’t so many people up the top (because of the gondola) the hike way too many people up the top. But on the trail it was good. I felt this in the legs for days.

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