Explore Banff - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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A steel climb capped off by some amazing 360° views of the surrounding area. The hike has a good variety of terrain - from wooded forest to mountain top Alpine. The top of the hike gets a bit steep and rocky which makes it a but slippery, so make sure you bring good hiking boots.

Although it can get super packed the views are definitely worth it. It's only unfortunate that you will have to line up at the viewpoints to get your chance to see the lower and upper falls. There are a bunch of nice areas past upper falls with less people and you can sit beside the water. We came at 2pm on a Monday in mid-August and by then the early people had left so there was parking in the parking lot!

Pleasant hike. waterfalls are beautiful.

Go early to miss crowds

The crowds and lines on this trail made me feel like I was at Disneyland. It was seriously crowded on a Wednesday early afternoon. We waited 30 minutes to enter the cave at the lower falls. Not worth it in my opinion. There was another line at the upper falls. My favorite part of the hike was the views of the river as it carves through the rock passage way. The water is so clear and crisp looking. Avoid this hike during peak season if you hate crowds. Otherwise, the views are worth it if you can stomach the crowds.

Amazing trail. Did it on a sunny July 11th. Very pleasant climb through a pine forest, followed by increasingly steep portions. The dragon's spine bears its name well: it's hard, but the surrounding views will give you all the motivation you could ever need. The summit has epic views 360 degrees, and a sheer cliff which is as beautiful as it is impressive. Very much recommended!

hiking
15 hours ago

Very nice hike with some decent views. My 5 and 7 year old were able to do it no problem. Took us about 2 hours round trip from the bottom car park. A good workout for us not-so-experienced hikers!

Go early. Easy hike, i was really hungover and managed fine haha. It's mostly in the trees and the ink pots are pretty cool so it's worth doing. Make sure you get an ice cream from the little shed when you return from the hike, cheapest you'll find around Banff!!

This was a back-to-back for me, after hiking Corey Pass the previous day, it was a tough hike up and down, and I imagine would be with fresh legs too, but worth it for the view at the top. The first part is a long, steady grade, basically an approach to the second part, which is where the real hike begins. Be prepared for leg burning/deep breathing steepness all the way up to the summit from there. The scramble after the trees was a challenge but sticking to solid sections of rock was helpful and riding the smaller loose rock on the way down was fun.

hiking
1 day ago

Short hike that ends in one of the best views in the entire park.

August 5, 2017

Good hike, gets challenging higher up but doesn't take too long to get to the peak. It is busy so you have to stop to let people past on the narrow parts but I enjoyed it :)

The canyon was really cool, but crowded. There were lines by each of the falls viewpoints to wait to take your picture (about 2pm weekday), and some folks seemed completely oblivious to moving with the flow of traffic on the narrow walkways. Once you get past the upper falls, the crowd thins out a ton and it's a nice quiet hike to the ink pots. They were pretty cool and the surrounding views were nice, but if you're limited on time, I wouldn't consider the ink pots portion of the hike a must-see. Definitely go up to the upper viewpoint though.

Good Trail. Lower falls is must see if you can't climb all the way to upper falls...

Strenuous but amazing hike with great panoramic views, especially at the top. First hour of switchbacks is the toughest part followed by a lovely walk through the Larch Valley. Take your time going up the final section and you’ll be rewarded with jaw dropping views at the top of the pass.

Amazing reward for a hike that doesn’t take very long. Took about 2.5 hours to ascend at a brisk pace. 1.5 hours coming back. The views from the top are incredible.

Loved this hike! A good challenge since the hike up the ridge is really steep but it's totally worth it once you get to the ridge. It was smoky so will have to go back for the views but it was still absolutely beautiful and with the quick elevation gain it gives that sense of accomplishment. Head to the far end of the ridge and you can do another little climb up to the flag -not sure if the flag is new as this was my first time up there. Climbing to the ridge and back down again was a challenge for us since the dirt was dry and made footing a bit precarious at times with all the loose rocks -for me poles were a must but I saw lots of people getting by without. My friend and I are slow and steady when it come to hiking and it took us 6 hours total, 4 hours of moving time and 2 hours total for breaks. No real breaks on the path up to Rawson, but lots on our way up the ridge and a long one up top since it was so beautiful.

The first bit is very crowded. Get there early to avoid the people and the full parking lot. The falls are beautiful though!
Once you get past the upper fall, it clears out. There are many switchbacks but the ink pots are a unique place to visit! Very cool place. We had lunch here then returned.

Amazing view. Easy trail. Totally worth doing it! And my winner dog did it also!

Nice hike but it was kind of late when we get there

We were inspired by a young lady who went all through the inkpots with crutches. We did the hike again after two years and the inkpots were much more beautifulthis year due to the amount of rain! It is a beautiful hike.

hiking
4 days ago

A busy trail but the waterfalls are worth the wait.

Very busy. It's a nice walk that you will enjoy.

Was amazing trail nothing impossible to hike. Just take your time to get to the top and do not bring heavy stuff in your backpack.

It was super steep all the way up to the top, most of the part were uphill, loose rocks, hard to find the trail and very dangerous because it was super slippery and i got slippered many times! I won’t ever ever come back here again!

This is a well travelled trail and it is no wonder why. Some of the most amazing views you could hope for. The trek to Rawson Lake and around it is fairly moderate. From the lake up to the ridge is challenging but doable. So worth it to go to the top for the amazing views and feeling of accomplishment

People are right, parking is hard to get there early. The view is also the best in the morning. It’s an easy short hike, though some children and seniors may find it difficult. There are good views from the bottom of the pile so even those with physical disabilities could enjoy the view of moraine.

One of the best views in Alberta!

hiking
4 days ago

Love this hike. We do it annually, preferably in the fall when the tourist season slows down. It’s worth the trek to the ink pots. Take a pic nic and plan on enjoying the view at the top for a while. I don’t recommend taking kids that need to be carried all the way to the top. The upper falls is fine for kids. Can get very busy on summer weekends making climbing and parking tough if you go mid day.

If you want to climb the very top and see Two Jack lake + Minnewanka lake, be ready that it is a short yet extremely steep climb. If it is a cloudy day, you won't be able to see that emerald water reflecting from the sun making it a less of a view. The top of the hike is challenging due to small rolling rocks. Saw some beginners falling, so have some good shoes:) Other than that, the forest is beautiful, full of mosquitoes, make sure you have a bug spray!

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