Explore the most popular walking 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.

Easy hike for in shape people and worth the trip. Very touristy but that’s ok.

We got to Johnston Canyon at 9:00am and there weren’t many people on the trail. The trail to the Ink Pots is well marked and people were scarce on that part of the hike. However, on the way back the falls were packed with people so it’s best to start early.

There were some dips in the path which made for nice inclines so your legs can get a good workout instead of just walking on flat terrain.

The Ink Pots themselves were majestic and a great place to explore; the Upper and Lower Falls were beautiful and it was even better enjoying them without crowds of people.

Nice trail with rewarding views towards top. Not ideal to do mid-day on a hot day. Shady spots throughout thankfully. Big range of hikers on this trail. Parents carrying toddlers to 70 yrs old. Good workout!

trail running
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

Hiked on 2018 July 17 with spouse, 12 year old son and Labrador Retriever. Hot and sunny. Trail was in excellent condition. Descent down to Vista Lake is steady and easy ( remember this as you come back up at the end of the day...). There is a wooden bridge at the end of Vista Lake for a break, which you should take, as it's all uphill from there. I'm 52 and I'm in relatively good shape, but the ascent up to Arnica Lake was a bit of a challenge. The trail is well marked, but fairly steep and narrow with loose footing in places. We had to stop frequently to catch our breath, which was fine because there were many spectacular lookouts along the way. You can look back and see your progress as Vista Lake and the trailhead parking lot are visible from several spots. As we finally reached a slight descent there was a dried up lake bottom which we very briefly hoped wasn't Arnica Lake ( that would have been a great cosmic joke ) but quickly realized the trail continued past this and, of course, upwards once again. The last section between the dried up lake bed and Arnica Lake seemed to be the steepest climb, but that may have simply been due to our fatigue level. Arnica Lake is quite pretty and surrounded by cliffs, however the mosquitoes were horrendous, even being saturated with repellant. We ate very quickly for this reason and started our way back to the trailhead. It took us about 3 hours to reach Arnica Lake from the trailhead and about 2:30 back with frequent stops, especially on the way in. Remember that last 1.5 km from Vista Lake back up to the parking lot? Yeah. That. We met a total of 10'other hikers all day ( Tuesday ). Stopped at Storm Mountain Lodge after for a nice cold drink. Enjoy!!

The first 3km on paved road are boring (even if we saw a black bear). The canyon trail is great but a LOT of mosquitoes so be prepared.

Incredible views from the end of the trail. Worth doing despite crowds.

You either have to do the 5 km hike straight up or take the 64 dollar gondola ride to the top to access this trail.

This is a great trail run or walk. Although the views on the trail aren't really remarkable given the location, the views from the top are unforgettable.
For a 1-2 hour run/walk, you couldn't choose a more convenient one with such great views. Also, there is a $35 buffet at one of the restaurants at the top in-case you need to fill up on energy.

Be sure to bring your own water or water bottle as the bottles at the base are sold for $3.

As an even better end to most hikes, you can go to the hot springs which are located at the foot of the trail. Bring your swimsuit and leave it in your vehicle!

-Will

Good workout for daily training, up n down in under 45min

As other reviews have said this is a busy hiking trail, great way for holiday hikers to be submerged in mountains and lakes! The view from the lookout was out of this world and the wild flowers throughout the meadows are beautiful. Recommend the detour to Monarch lookout, stunning views and next to no one else around!

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike for families even infants and old people. I’m unfit and it took me 45 minutes each way.

Slightly challenging if you’re with someone sedentary but great views.

We did this trail yesterday and we’d do it again. The paved portion of it is ok but once that stops and you begin hiking along the creek, it’s beautiful. We went through the interpretative at the trailhead and I’d recommend it. That surfer spring is where the entire Canadian National parks started. Pretty neat. Take bug spray for sure.

Nice but crowded

If you're unfit and lazy like me, a little under half of the hike is actually pretty tough. But its completely worth it. Gorgeous views at the top and at the end there are two red chairs. If you go with a partner, make sure to bring a couple of cold ones to crack, lay back and enjoy.

Their is popular skiing and hiking place.
We took gondola and chair lift to go up there and went loop around lakes.
It was very beautiful views and lots flowers.
It took 42 dollar for gondola ticket.
But it’s worth it and save you time for this view and hikes.

hiking
3 days ago

Some great views of the valley and a very reasonable hike.

Great hike when you are limited on time. The views were wonderful. Challenging at parts and switchbacks were a nice change.

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.

Super easy, flat trail. About a 12km hike round trip if you turnaround at the creek/bridge. Would be perfect for trail running, biking, and snowshoeing. Not the best views of the Rockies (no clearings) and the mosquitos were pesky.

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 drink 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 switchback 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.

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