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Best views of Moraine Lake....if you can actually get there. And I mean to the parking lot. Best idea, if you’re just there to see the lake, is to take the bus from the lake Louise overflow lot. It’s free.

snowshoeing
9 days ago

hiked this on jan 7 with snow shoes-didn’t need them though as hiking boots would be fine. we hiked up to ink pots and then on the way back down took the johnston canyon turn off, saw the upper falls, and took a detour to get back to the moose meadows trail lower down. all up was 14.2km, nice to get the extra kms with the johnson canyon detour. although this trail that cut through had not been walked for a while so we were knee deep in snow

hiking
10 days ago

Wow... We had a pretty unforgettable experience on this trail! We did it during May--it was hot and sweaty at the bottom, and we were literally waist deep in snow about two hours later. Then on the way down it rained for an hour. So I guess pack some layers! We didn't have crampons or poles or anything, so we had to turn back unfortunately. Loved the trail, highly recommend it, definitely challenging and for experienced hikers. I can't wait to come back and do it right someday!

Heavily trafficked and somewhat touristy for my taste, but still neat to see. Not too challenging, it's a paved walking trail. I went in warmer weather so can't speak to the experience in winter. Enjoy!

Very busy trail in January. Would recommend winter boots and mircospikes. Not a difficult trail but very beautiful in the winter.

Hiked today, 7th Jan. Well tracked trail, I did in my hiking boots, no micro spikes needed. Only passed one person before the turn off for Johnston Canyon, met a couple people snowshoeing after.
Gradual incline most of the way with final downhill before the ink pots but not too strenuous. Ink pots are partially frozen so didn’t get to see the colours but a beautiful winter hike.

Johnston Canyon is a gorgeous canyon hike with beautiful scenery. I hiked here in July 2017.

I arrived to the parking lot along the Bow Valley Parkway early in the morning at around 7:30 am and was one of the first cars there. The drive from the town of Banff to the trailhead took around 30 minutes. The trail began along a paved pathway on a slight incline through the forest alongside the deep canyon. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and there were plenty of amazing photo opportunities. There were some sections of the trail which followed along sturdy but narrow metal catwalks attached to the rock cliffs on the side of the canyon, which was fun.

At the 1.2 km mark, I arrived at the Lower Falls. There was a wooden bridge which crossed the canyon and river underneath from the main trail leading to a small cave in the rocks on the other side. The tunnel through the cave was narrow and dark to walk through but at the end, there was an opening which was directly in front of the powerful waterfall and provided a unique vantage point. Be prepared to get wet! The Lower Falls were so beautiful and there were fantastic views from along the bridge and from the main trail as well.

The trail became slightly more difficult between the Lower and Upper Falls, as it climbed more steadily along a moderate incline and continued through the forest and along catwalks, but was still completely manageable and would not be challenging at all for someone of average fitness. There were lots of small waterfalls to see in the canyon on this portion of the hike and many great viewpoints overlooking the canyon.

Shortly before reaching the Upper Falls, there was a well beaten but unmarked pathway stemming off from the main trail which I decided to follow as it led down a steep hill and into the bottom of the rocky canyon. There was a massive cave where I found stunning views of a very strange and uniquely shaped large rock in the canyon with a waterfall flowing on one side of it and a variety of lush mosses and trees growing on top of it. There were a few other people (mostly photographers) but once they cleared out, I had this whole place to myself. It was such an amazing place to photograph and a fantastic discovery! If you have time, I recommend stopping here.

At 2.4 km from the trailhead, I came to the Upper Falls. The falls weren’t visible from the main trail but a metal catwalk led over the canyon and ended at a small platform near the base of these gorgeous tall waterfalls as they fell over the edge of a cliff. The rocks along the side of the canyon beside the waterfall were also very interesting as they had such a smooth appearance and a swirl of brown and beige colours.

You can continue along the main trail past the Upper Falls on a short and steep climb to another viewpoint at the top of the waterfalls, which provided a unique perspective overlooking the gorge and the falls. The landscape was so beautiful from this area! From this point, I continued hiking another 3 km to the Ink Pots which made for a full half-day hike and they were amazing to see.

The trail was very congested, single file and slow going as I hiked back to the parking lot from the Ink Pots at around 11 am which made me very glad that I had arrived early.

Johnston Canyon gets incredibly crowded during the summer months and is one of the busiest hikes in the Banff area. I highly recommend getting there early in the morning in order to beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. Even though it is extremely popular, this hike is definitely a must-visit and both the Lower and Upper Falls are worth seeing. Remember to bring a camera to capture the amazing scenery and take advantage of the many wonderful photo opportunities, as well as water and snacks. There are modern washrooms in the parking lot at the beginning of the trail and wooden benches along the pathway to stop. It should take between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete the hike to and from the Upper Falls.

Moraine Lake is so absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that such a beautiful place exists and that you are in the presence of this awe-inspiring natural wonder. Words can’t even describe how awesome and perfect it really is. It’s definitely a must-visit in the Rockies. I visited here in July 2017.

I visited Moraine Lake twice during my solo road trip in the Rockies – arriving at sunrise to spend the day there and at sunset on a different day.

There are plenty of things to see and do at the lake and you could spend an entire day or more exploring the area. I spent about half a day there doing a couple of hikes stemming off from the lake.

The Rockpile Trail is a short uphill hike that literally winds its way up to the top of a large pile of rocks. At the top, you can find the most spectacular views of the lake from, the surrounding mountains and the densely forested valley opposite of the lake from several perspectives. The photo opportunities from here were incredible and there were a few benches where you can just sit and enjoy the spectacular views. The vibrant turquoise colour of the water is just outstanding to see and the entire lake and mountain backdrop is so picturesque. This area can get quite busy and crowded with people as the day goes on, but there were few people there in the early morning hours and it was nice to experience more solitude. In the evening before sunset, you can see gorgeous reflections of the snowy mountain peaks on the calm and intense blue water of the lake.

Would highly recommend this short and easy hike to get amazing views overlooking Moraine Lake.

Super fun trail and stunning views. Did it in the winter with hiking boots, did not use micro spikes. Very much worth it.

fantastic but exhausting. ..feel the oxygen beginning to thin our at top...watch the cornices at top...as good as it gets scrambling, scree run coming back and amazing views!!

Been to lower falls many times. Spikes are needed at this time of years. I would rate this hike moderate not easy at this time of year. Go the extra bit to the lookout.

Absolutely stunning scenery, such as frozen waterfalls. Easy to walk even in the winter, regular winter shoes are sufficient for the trail. Well maintained. Saw ice rock climbers at the Upper Fall. Really interesting hike and elegant canyon!

Hiked in February. HIGHLY recommend crampons in winter - everything gets so hard packed by the shear number of people that it’s really slick. Great opportunity for videos of people slipping on ice wearing loafers. Would be a stunning hike without the crowds.

Did this hike on December 22nd. Ice cleats were enough as the snow was fairly well packed. Didn’t see a single person until the intersection with the Johnston canyon trail. Some of the pools were frozen but the rest were pretty.

hiking
26 days ago

One of the hardest I have ever done yet....very challenging but worth it. Unbelievable gorgeous views from the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

I hired a guide to bring me up to the summit of this amazing mountain. A large glacier awaits you at the top including amazing views of Lake Moraine, Mount Fay Glacier, Valley of Ten Peaks, Paradise Valley, Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria. And because this is one of the highest peaks in the area the views are absolutely amazing as you can see everything!!!

Excellent in the winter.
Even got to see people ice climbing

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

hiking
2 months 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..

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

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.

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

Definitely worth the trip!

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

Great shoulder season hike. Gets steeper as you get close to the lake. Managed to do Harvey Pass as well but it is challenging with the snow. Make sure you are prepared if you go past Bourgeau Lake.

Excellent hike. One of my favorites

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked up clockwise to the steep downhill rock band at kilometer 4. However the trail was amazingly dry all the way to this point, we decided to turn back due to the steep icy rocks and higher risk of slip and fall. It would have been nice if there was a chain installed at this point to increase safety of this beautiful trail.

hiking
2 months ago

It was a beautiful and not super challenging hike. I’d like to go again on a day where it wasn’t too cold and pouring rain, but what can you do! The weather is the only reason I’m giving it a 3/5. I’m sure there’s a beautiful vista we could have looked out over had it not been grey-out from the rain. Also a squirrel tried to drink my beer. Minus one star for the thief squirrel.

3 months ago

Amazing trail, as everyone has said it's not easy. I took the clockwise route up to cory pass but the snow was so thick at edith pass I couldn't tell where the trail was. if you're going to attempt this hike in this season I would strongly recommend crampons and poles. the elevation gain is intense and coupled with snow and ice it makes for quite a treacherous climb. the scrambles in the snow were interesting but definitely manageable. again. crampons, wouldn't have been able to complete this hike without them. No bears but saw lots of tracks!!

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