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

Great hike. Path is snow packed with very little ice right now, so could probably do it easily enough without spikes, but certainly easier with them. Get up there early to avoid the crowds, and you're in for a treat! Some amazing views on the way up, and the crowds really thin out once you get past the Upper Falls and head to the Inkpots. When we got to the Inkpots there was only one other couple there, so very peaceful! I just started hiking this past year, so certainly not a strong hiker, and this trail took us about 3 hours, including stops for photos and lunch.

hiking
3 days ago

My rating is for the overall park, whereas the trail itself would perhaps be a 3.5 star. It is a well maintained and standard state park. My husband and I went on a very warm day in February, and the trail was very busy. It’s fantastic for most/all skill levels, and would be fun with children. I rather enjoy a more remote hiking experience, which this particular hike was not. With paved trails winding through the upper north country forest, and breaking open to a beautiful view of the Minnesota-Canadian border, and the thundering 130’ High Falls, I will have to return, to hike the other trails in a different season. (Hiked: February/2017)

trail running
5 days ago

A fantastic park with many different terrains and elevations for trial running.

did this trail on one of my last days in Banff and it was really beautiful!

hiking
8 days ago

Worth the drive if you are visiting other places in the area.

great time

Peyto Lake is worth the drive -- make sure you walk the trail to get away from the crowds at the viewpoint!

Lovely snowshoe when the powder was fresh. Easy prairie terrain. Very quiet trail.

mountain biking
10 days ago

Beautiful views, flat path, areas to stop and sit. Only thing I recommend is to layer in case of winds, the temp seem to be 5 degrees cooler then in town.

Peyto Lake is a stunning, pristine and vibrantly coloured lake along the Icefields Parkway drive, that is well worth stopping for. It is located about 40 minutes north of Lake Louise. I visited here in July 2017.

This is a popular place to stop for those driving this scenic stretch of highway, so I recommend arriving earlier in the morning to beat the crowds if possible.

From the parking lot on the west side of the highway, a short paved trail led to the wooden viewing deck which provided amazing views looking out to the lake. It was an uphill climb to the lookout, which was pretty steep in some areas as it gained considerable elevation and took around 10-15 minutes to get there.

Peyto Lake is absolutely spectacular. The colour of the water was an incredible vibrant blue that didn't even look real. It was surrounded by mountains and pine forests. I enjoyed admiring the views and taking photos from this classic lookout spot.

I recommend stopping here on your drive (you only need 40 minutes or so). Truly a beautiful place to see.

The hike to the Ink Pots starts along Johnston Canyon and is around 10 km round-trip. I arrived to the Johnston Canyon parking lot early in the morning (around 7 am) and was one of the first people there. I hiked here in July 2017.

Hiking Johnston Canyon was gorgeous in the morning and it was so peaceful being almost completely alone with nature on the trail. It was a challenging but rewarding hike to natural bubbling pools of water and amazing views.

After the Upper Falls, the trail began to climb out of the canyon. It was a pretty steep incline for most of the way to the Ink Pots and since this was my first major day hike upon arriving in Banff from the Canadian Prairies, I found it to be quite challenging and exhausting. The trail continued to gain elevation as it passed through the dense and lush forest which was beautiful and so peaceful. I was alone on the trail for most of the hike which was amazing. There was an opening in the trees at one spot along the trail which provided incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

From this point to the Ink Pots (about 1.4 km), the trail leveled out and then descended to the final destination which my legs were very thankful for!

The trail then opened up to a beautiful meadow surrounded by mountains with a river flowing through it and a collection of natural pools of turquoise coloured water, which bubbled up from deep inside the Earth’s core called the Ink Pots (you will see circles in the sand at the bottom of the pools which look like blots of ink and this is where the water bubbles up from). There were some wooden boardwalks and trails through the area leading to each pool, where you could get a variety of amazing views and great photo opportunities. The scenery was breathtaking!

I found this hike pretty challenging and strenuous, as it was mostly a steep and gruelling uphill climb after the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, but definitely worth it. Hiking downhill most of the way back to the trailhead felt AMAZING.

The trail along Johnston Canyon to the Upper Falls gets quite crowded and busy around late morning during the summer season but very few people continue on to the Ink Pots, so hiking this trail will likely be a peaceful experience. I would still recommend starting early though in order to get a parking spot at the Johnston Canyon trailhead (be there for around 7 am or 7:30 am), as it took me a good 4 to 4.5 hours to complete the hike including the MANY stops that I made along the way to catch my breath, take photos and enjoy the scenery.

Make sure to bring a snack to enjoy at the Ink Pots and lots of water!

walking
10 days ago

It’s a long walk. Lots of areas without shade. If it’s a hot day, make sure you bring sunscreen and lots of water.
We did this one in June. Our dog loved it; she is a short-hair. My friend’s great pyrenees dog got rashes because it was too hot for him.

trail running
10 days ago

We’re regular participants of the trail. I did my first 10km run on Christmas Eve and second time on New Year’s Eve.

Love this place

Hiked to Inkpots via Johnston Canyon. Trail is well packed. Bring microspikes (no need for snowshoes just spikes). Falls were busy. I didn't stop just went straight to the Inkpots. Beautiful views today. I would recommend going through Moose Meadows if you're looking to avoid the crowds (not sure on Moose trail conditions there though)

Very few people beyond the upper falls. Had the trail to myself for portions. Overall easy hike if you are an avid hiker. You can hear avalanches in the distance which is cool.

Hiked down to the rock. Make sure you have spikes on to prevent a fall. Cool to see it up close.

Great but hard clim to the trestle. Views are good although restricted. Don’t forget to check the falls on the way up.

Great hike. Because big parts of the way are like little creeks, I would call it moderate. Also the Othello Tunnels were closed due to rock fall and we turned around at the junction to walk all the way back to the parking lot. We needed 2.5h and are not really experienced hikers.

Trail was packed down. Nice light snow fall during the hike.

snowshoeing
13 days ago

A great workout trail when we have limited time to gear up for a full snowshoe hike or when there's not enough snow on the ground. Plenty of parking. An easy, level trail.

Great trail. My question is: If the trail is signed not for biking, why are there reviews about biking the trail?

Top safety rating for me; trails are well defined and signs are everywhere, it’s definitely worth the hike down to the famous rock located at the second right down closer to the water, you’ll know it when you see it. Photos are great but not as astonishing face to face. The trail up to the Ink Pots is well worth dodging the crowds for a moderate to easy treck up to the Ink Pots where you can eat lunch or just to wander some more. Kind of sucks you gotta pay the Banff Parks Fee just to go to the canyon. Still a top notch hike and definitely one I recommend for most ages and hiking abilities. I will do it again!

mountain biking
14 days ago

Easy trail, best done on a bike. Lots of great scenery and old buildings along the way.

Trail was incredibly difficult for me as a novice mountain biker, lots of really steep inclines over medium sized rocks and loose gravel. Spent most of the time walking our bikes. Was there in the summer 2018.

Nice hiking in the city lots of different routes to take. ALWAYS follow the trail as the signs state!

Beautiful view and quick walk to the main look out! Don’t step off the path or you’ll find yourself waist deep in snow! There is a smaller hike near the look out which I believe was called marsh loop! Definitely worth it. Along the loop you’ll hit a fork in the path. If you head right and walk for about 3-5 mins you’ll find the most beautiful view of Peyto Lake.. even better then the main view. You can turn around there and head back to the main loop. Might not be the safest path when there is considerable avalanche risk. Not sure how long that path will remain during winter as it didn’t not look very travelled on when we were there.

I’m not entirely sure why this is such a popular hike. Maybe it’s because it’s not too challenging. Maybe it’s because the falls are pretty, or maybe because it’s not a terribly long “hike”.. The worst part of the experience is that you’ll be fighting crowds for views and hiking space. At least until you move on toward the ink pots. Likewise, the ink pots were not overly thrilling either, even if neat and hypnotic.

After the falls, you won’t get great views until you descend into the valley where the ink pots are. From there it is significantly prettier, and I think I’ve read that there are trails beyond. I’d recommend seeing the ink pots if you’re already tolerating the mass of tourists at the falls. It’s a good hike to get your legs and lungs adjusted before tackling harder hikes.

hiking
18 days ago

Tough but fun hike with great elevation changes. The loop from the parking and back is around 7.8 km.

18 days ago

Love this trail

Brantford has some really nice trails that are well taken care of. This trail is now one of my favourites.

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