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Steep climb this one but worth it for the view at the top. Makes Calgary look like a tiny village! I tried to run all the way up it but it’s steep and not for the faint hearted. I had to stop a few times on the way up! Very very cold and windy at the top so wrap up warm if you are walking it. Ran all the way down easily in walking boots in 20 mins. No spikes needed as most of the track is rocky and/or earthy. Minimal snow or frost at present. Good runner will go up and down in around 75 mins. Slow walker will take 3-4hours. Highly recommend this for runners and walkers as a challenge with a reward;-)

rocky
snow
16 hours ago

really nice but a little bit short.

Crowded but safe. easier trail for friends

hiking
5 days ago

Snow packed conditions but easily completed with hiking boots, wore my spikes on the way back down which provided better traction. Nice view at the Pass, tried to complete the Midnight Peak trail but the snow was deep so I turned around near the peak.

Completed on Jan. 12. Very little snow and only required spikes on the back loop. If you want to extend the hike, complete the back loop ( check out prairie mountain and prairie creek route ). Different views and adds about an hour to the overall experience. Easy hike for experienced hikers; hard for beginners.

Good hike, sun was here, no need of spikes. The view at the top worst it ! Just be aware that the main of the trail is on gravely road just the last kilometers are on a mountain trail.

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.

The incline is a lot of work, but the top is quite stunning! Hard work pays off in this case!

I want to hike Ha Ling this weekend with the nice weather. is it actually closed or can it stil be done?

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

This hike is insane. Quite scrambly at the top, so careful on a super windy day! Very difficult, had to stop many times, but great work out and beautiful hike

Great hike today. Nice to have the micro spikes in a few spots. Stunning views along the hike and 360 at the top.

Did this hike in August - super smokey due to the BC fires at the time but was still stunning. Recommend proper hiking gear/hiking boots for this hike. Definitely a nice scramble a bit before the summit. I would of rated it as Hard but I could just be out of shape haha! Incredible view! 11/10.

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!

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.

hiking
15 days ago

Good hike, great thigh burner with longish steep sections. Worth bringing out spikes in the winter season as it can be icy.

Hold on to to your hat at the summit as the last few hundred meters can be windy!

hiking
16 days ago

Brought the pups and we had a great time. the trail is packed down, I wore my spikes on the top half where it got icy but my partner didn't and he was fine. it was pretty windy at the top but nice and calm while within the treeline. took up 50 min up, 35 min down.

I wouldn’t say it’s hard. Just a good push, no snow, yak tracks a good idea. It’s a good one to do if you are ina pinch for time as we completed in 1:30. That being said we ran down and we are fit avid hikers. Great trail for dogs too!

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!

hiking
17 days ago

We hiked this trail on the 1st of January 2019. The whole trail was covered with packed snow and we could easily walk up without crampons. The last 300m or so is the ridge above the treeline (the section where you see the last turn) where it's windy and there are rocks. The view is nice from there for sure. On the way down we used the crampons. Overall this is a nice, moderately easy hike. Definitely good for ages 6 and above.

Dec 30th leisurely walk to an epic couple of caves, definitely recommend checking them out!

Absolutely beautiful at the top! Views are a bit foresty until then. Very cold at the top as well, and windy.

hiking
20 days ago

This hike is a great workout with an absolutely stunning view at the top. The trail head is correctly marked and easy to find with plenty of parking. The first half of the hike is through shaded forest where you’ll see lots of grouse along the trail. When you start to climb along the mountainside keep an eye out for stunning mountain views through the trees. You eventually clear the trees and start heading northwest where you’ll climb to the high point. Your reward is a lovely panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies and Lake Minnewanka.

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.

Great trail, wonderful views, sufficiently challenging!!

Was a last minute hike that we didn’t prepare to do, but was worth ever minute. Fair amount of tree coverage and wide path. Very hilly most of the way.

Hiked May long, steep clear trail to follow and many people along the way.
Great to do as a half day hike as it’s relatively short.
Took us 3 hours at a moderate fitness level and as a first hike of the year.
Curious to do again this spring to see what work has been done for trail development.
As stated by others aim to hike and summit early to avoid crowds. We started at 9, and came across many people on the trails, so aim for earlier and you’ll be coming down as everyone is headed up!
Keep in mind it’s a leg burning up and down as it’s constant elevation all the way up, so bring good shoes and lots of water!
Enjoy

hiking
26 days ago

We did this trip at the end of December, but there wasn’t much snow on it. Some ice and snow patches, so we used spikes on the way down but managed to go up without them. Great view on the top, and once you get up there, you will know why this mountain was named Prairie Mountain. The 360 degree view is definitely worth it.

It’s a great cardio workout too, not too long but steady steep climb pretty much all the way up to the tree-lines. Lots of people use this hike as a workout, doing it every week or doing it back to back multiple times a day.

awesome cave, bring bike/xc skis or do the road march

Same comments as the others. The first section is too busy but the frozen waterfall is worth dodging the traffic. Heading to the ink pots is more like a typical walk in the trees and good exercise. The ink pots themselves are neat but not nearly as interesting as previous comments would suggest.

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