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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Always one of my favourites to do especially in the winter!! Will have to go up to ink pots in the summer

Loved this trail! Great view and away from the large crowds.

hiking
5 days ago

This was a great, yet hard hike. The inclines are very steep in some points (at the very end of the climb I actually had to use both hands and feet to get to the top). The views are so worth it though!

Easy hike, lovely views in the canyon - get here early as the trail gets busy!

Took the fam here last year, was awesome, busy but awesome.

hiking
6 days ago

November 11, 2018. Beautiful canyon/river trail. Man-made trail structures throughout. If you have hiked before, this trail will not be a challenge except for the sometimes icy conditions. Good traction hiking boots are a must or a traction device (spikes/cleats) if you are not used to packed snow/icy conditions. This trail is pretty busy so do not expect to be alone with nature. Crowds aside, the canyon and falls are worth it. Enjoy!

Nov 10 beautiful frozen falls. I recommend crampons. Even good hiking boots still slip in some areas.
Washrooms are on site..

Completed Nov. 12-18, mild winter conditions.

Epic trail for advanced hikers. (See bottom to skip details and for conclusion)

Easy to get to, park at bow falls parking lot and walk past the golf course and head right to start. The beginning 1/3 of the hike is very easy, trail is obvious and easy to follow. Moderate incline.

The next third spices things up, trail starts to go up and down before hitting the switchback portion. Once at the switchbacks the intensity increases and the incline gets much greater, but the views get better!

Then you hit the last third and this is where things get seriously real. Once you go through the gully and onto the dragonback, the trail gets extremely intense. Gets difficult to follow the trail (especially with snow on the ground), but all you’re really doing is scrambling up so it’s not a big deal. Lookout for the yellow markers on the trees.

At this point, be prepared to be on all fours for the last 1.5hrs as you get closer to the top. This is a real scramble and NOT good for the faint of heart. As you reach the peak the incline nears practically vertical. You are on loose rock and footing is tough. Every 10 steps you’ll need a break. The peak will appear close, but it’s a tough and draining couple hundred meters.

Conclusion: Epic hike, epic views. Don’t go with your fam for a casual sightseeing hike, or if you’re not confident in your abilities. This is a hike for those who want to conquer. Plan for a 6-8 hour round trip in the winter. Hiking Boots mandatory, spikes are a good idea. Pack for wind/cold at the top. Bring lots of food. Have a blast, it’s a hell of a hike.

This should really be rated as easy- if you can do it in jeans it’s not that difficult. Beautiful views of Banff at the top, great hike if you want to squeeze something quick and easy into your day. Wise to bring spikes in winter- there were a couple sections where they would have been appreciated.

I climbed the rocks but there is a path behind it as well. Beyond belief beautiful.

It looks photoshopped in real life.

The hike isn't that long and is very easy and the views are absolutely breathtaking!! Definitely the most beautiful and crystal clear lake close to Banff!! My oldest son even drank water from the lake.

Nov 3, 2018
Johnston Canyon was awesome—is great if you love water. The river through the canyon was beautiful. Easy hike on paved trail. The trail to ink pots was a bit more difficult, but not too intense. We rented crampons and made heavy use of them (lots of steep icy inclines). The ink pots are nestled in a valley next to the upper river. While not as bright blue as we expected due to the cloud cover, they were still amazing. The surrounding mountain views are awesome too—we sat for a while and had a snack before making the trek back.

Nice views, but the high amount of tourists ruin this “hike.” I’d go elsewhere if your looking for something peaceful and remote.

nice hike.

Actually been on the ridge above the'high point' and viewed on to the other side. Its lil steep but no dramatic cliffs until the ridge.

Definitely worth the trip!

After seeing Johnston Canyon, you can continue the uphill and slightly monotonous trail to the Ink Pots. The Ink pots are pretty cool and there’s a steam near them, but I would spend time hiking elsewhere if I had it to do over again.

This this one about 3 weeks ago. Loved Johnston Canyon! Was a tiny bit disappointed with the Ink Pots, but still a very beautiful place.

Just wow...must-see waterfalls. The trail was good, easy peasy up to the upper water falls...from there to the summit, cardio-strength exercise...btw, it was a bit icy, but I made it with running shoes...from the summit to the ink pots, cleats must be worn, sharp slopes covered with ice. In total, I loved it :) take a look at photos I took

This trail is nice all throughout all the seasons, it’s a bit strenuous once you start going up but the switchbacks offer some relief. I hiked this trail last week and it had quite a bit of snow so make sure you bring some clamp-ons if you have them.

Beauuutiful hike! Did this one 2 days ago with a friend. Steep at the end but SO worth it for the view!!! Crampons were a must.. poles could be a good idea too. When you get to the rock boulders (about 3/4 of the hike) the trail is very difficult to find. There is a path on the far left but also some other scattered all over the place. Don't stop there even if it's hard to find... you have to reach the end of it!! You will have a spectacular view of Minnewanka lake, Canmore and all the mountains (180° view)
Really enjoyed that one, would do it again in a heart beat ❤

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing view at the end! Crampons and poles recommended if you want to go all the way up (the last km is really steep). Snow and ice covering the last third of the hike.

Beautiful Hike. The scramble up to Sarrail Ridge can be a bit of a grind but not too difficult. Be sure to wear the proper footwear. The views from the ridge are incredibly stunning, you won't be dissapointed.

Great hike with amazing views
Last part is pretty steep but totally worth it!
The trail is icy and there’s snow at the end but completely possible and safe. Better with poles and crampons.

hiking
21 days ago

Awesome hike great view from the top

Nice fall hike. Great condition for late in the year as of Saturday, October 27. Only hiking shoes required to the top.

hiking
21 days ago

Great day hike! Amazing views at the top at Aylmer Lookout! 6 hr round trip, trail was in good condition (October 27th).

October 27
10/10 waterfalls!! we went all the way to the Upper Falls. there's some icy patches to watch out for, but we did fine wearing blundstones and runners. arrived by 10AM and the parking lot still had 40% of its spaces remaining :) would go again

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