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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walking
1 day ago

A decent little walk. Something to bring the relatives on that don’t hike much. Agnes Lake is beautiful but the teahouse can get packed up pretty quick. Go early if you can.

Easy beginner hike. Gorgeous views.

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.

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.

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

on Sulphur Mountain Trail

hiking
8 days ago

We hiked this trail in early June 2018 and, in the last 25% of the trail, there were snow and icy patches. Allow 1.5-2 hours one way up if you're reasonably fit and have good shoes, and 2-3 hours if less so.

This is an extremely rewarding hike through a shaded switchback dirt trail that will reward you with an even more breathtaking view all along the summit ridge! Amazing! Throughout the climb, we found plenty of openings through the trees to enjoy the view of Banff below.

Some parts do get steep as you near the summit. I would highly recommend hiking shoes with good traction and hiking poles, especially if there are chances of snow and icy patches. I would advise checking the weather the night before before hiking, especially if you have limited hiking experience or are with children and the elderly. It can prove challenging and bit scary when things get slippery.

We tried this trail in early May. Pros: we had the whole thing to ourselves. Cons: we didn't make it very far! Saw and heard a bunch of avalanches, so be smart(er than we were). Loved the parts of the hike that we were able to do and can't wait to return someday and finish it!

hiking
9 days ago

It was a wonderful hike, I truly enjoy the experience. Beautiful views!

hiking
9 days ago

Johnson Lake is located about 15 minutes north of Banff along a scenic drive. The drive to this lake was beautiful as the narrow paved road wound through meadows and forests and offered gorgeous views of the mountain scenery. I even had the opportunity to see a large group of bighorn sheep along the road close to Lake Minnewanka which was really awesome!

Johnson Lake seemed to be a popular spot for the locals to go for a swim, picnic, relax on the beach, kayak or paddle board. It was quite busy during my visit and the small gravel parking lot was full but I managed to find a spot along the road.

There is a 3 km easy and peaceful looped trail that follows along the perimeter of the lake that I enjoyed hiking. It was a flat trail that wound through a beautiful forest with some openings in the trees along the way to provide great views of Johnson Lake and the surrounding mountains.

While you're in the area, make a stop at Lake Minnewanka as well. It was very pretty! They offered boat cruises at the lake and there were some picnic areas but other than that, there wasn’t too much to do there. It’s still a great place to stop and get some photos though!

I wouldn’t say that Lake Minnewanka and Johnson Lake are must-sees in Banff (compared to places like Moraine Lake and Lake Louise), but if you have some extra time, it’s definitely a worthwhile and rewarding excursion. These lakes are not as popular and touristy as other places in Banff, so it’s also a good place to get away from the crazy crowds elsewhere and enjoy some serenity. There is also a good chance that you will see wildlife in this area.

VIsited in July 2017.

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.

Tunnel Mountain is a short 4 km hike to an amazing viewpoint on top of the mountain overlooking the town of Banff and surrounding scenery.

The trail began from Tunnel Mountain Drive in Banff (Google Map it). It followed along long, nicely graded switchbacks along the side of the mountain through the forest. Some of the switchbacks were steeper than others and some of them leveled out which provided a chance to catch your breath. There were some glimpses of the views along the way through the trees.

The best views could be seen from the top of the mountain at the end of the trail. There were some bare rocks surrounded by forest which were perfect places to sit and admire the views overlooking Banff and the surrounding mountains and valleys. It was beautiful!

Would recommend this short hike for a good leg workout and opportunity to see great views.

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.

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!

The Plain of Six Glaciers is an incredible day hike from Lake Louise with spectacular scenery. I have hiked the trail twice, in August 2016 and July 2017. This remains one of my favourite hikes in Banff.

This hike climbs high into the mountains through forests, a rocky avalanche path and along the ledge of a cliff and has some of the most beautiful views of glaciers, mountains, valleys and Lake Louise and eventually leads to a charming and rustic teahouse with delicious home-cooked food and beverages.

The trail began from the shoreline of Lake Louise in front of the Fairmont Chateau Hotel along the paved and flat Lakeshore Trail which followed alongside this beautiful turquoise glacial lake for the first 2 km. The trail then reached the far end of Lake Louise and a wooden boardwalk crossed over a portion of the lake and then started the ascent into the mountains.

There were vertical cliffs on the side of the path where you will probably spot some rock climbers. The well-graded trail then entered into a beautiful and peaceful forest where I saw some adorable hoary marmots on the rocks beside a small river. The path continued on a moderate incline for the remainder of the way as it gained a total of 365 metres of elevation with some steeper and more challenging switchbacks in the last section of the trail leading to the teahouse. It wasn’t too gruelling but it wasn’t simple either and there were some areas where the trail levelled out to give your legs a rest too. The hike was moderately challenging but I took my time and stopped for frequent breaks along the way which helped me.

The forest opened up to a wide open area with stunning landscapes and incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, the Victoria Glacier, a large rocky avalanche path, and Lake Louise in the distance behind you. The trail continued through this landscape for most of the hike and then followed along a narrow rocky ledge on the side of a cliff before switchbacking up to the teahouse on the last portion of the hike. I was surprised to see so much snow and avalanche debris on the hike as I got higher in elevation and closer to the teahouse! The scenery on this hike was breathtaking, impressive and just so beautiful with plenty of wonderful photo opportunities.

The final section of the hike consisted of a series of steeper switchbacks up the mountain leading through the forest to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. The views of the Victoria Glacier were stunning and I felt so close to it! It was such a relief to reach the end of the hike after climbing the entire way there. The teahouse was a rustic and adorable two-storey log building with balconies all around it on both levels for seating. It was quite busy when I arrived there but managed to find a seat. I ordered the hand-ground hummus and salsa with tortilla chips and a hot chocolate and everything tasted incredible. The views from the teahouse were spectacular and it was so quiet and serene. There were outhouse washrooms here as well. From the teahouse, there is the option to continue hiking an additional 1.6 km to a closer viewpoint overlooking the six glaciers, however I was exhausted at this point and didn’t end up doing it, although I am sure it would have been amazing. If you’re lucky you may hear the rumbling of an avalanche in the distance here as well (I heard one last year but not this summer).

The trek down the mountain was such a welcome reward for my sore legs and the scenery was just as amazing coming down. I completed the entire 10.6 km round-trip hike in roughly 4 hours, including my stop at the teahouse.

Make sure to dress in layers and bring some warmer clothing on this hike, as the temperatures get quite a bit cooler as you gain elevation. Bring plenty of water and snacks and cash if you plan to eat or drink at the teahouse. Also be aware that this hike is mostly uphill on a moderate incline the entire way, with a steeper section shortly before reaching the teahouse. The air gets a lot thinner as you get higher in the mountains making it more difficult to catch your breath, so go slow and take breaks if you’re feeling exhausted. I found that my hiking poles really helped with the elevation and they took some of the pressure off my legs. This trail can get quite crowded during the day, so I suggest starting early in the morning in order to beat the crowds and secure yourself a good parking spot at Lake Louise.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is an incredible half-day hike from Lake Louise in Banff and I would highly recommend adding this one to your itinerary. This hike has some of the most amazing views and landscapes that I have experienced in the Rockies.

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.

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!

Hiked 12/24/18. Great hike! Would definitely recommend bringing snow shoes if you plan to go all the way to the tea house.

Great hike, views are awesome took some time at the top to find the paintings but worth it.

Want to save yourself 65$? Skip the gondola and hike up (if you’re like me though and very out of shape be prepared for a tough one). All up hill but once you get to the top you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.. especially when you look around and see all the suckers who paid way to much to get to the top!

hiking
17 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.

I think I’d only recommend this trail if you’re new to the area and need something to get you acclimated to the inclines and altitude. It’s not difficult by any means, but does include a bit of elevation gain. On either side you’ll have good views of Ha Ling and EEOR (which are much better hikes), and you’ll get a satisfying view of the waterfall the lakes are feeding as you climb. The true beauty of this hike is the crystal clear lakes.

Pushing past the lakes will lead you to petroglyphs and the reservoir above, which is pretty in its own right, giving you a good view of the mountains beyond. Occasionally I have seen mountain goats/sheep? near the top of the trail, and extremely friendly chipmunks. There are a few popular rock climbing sections as well that are accessed via this hike. Altogether, some nice views, although not the best by any means.

snowshoeing
18 days ago

Easy trail with some beautiful views. Wildlife was everywhere! We saw deer, elk and a pack of wolves eating a freshly caught deer which was truly amazing(we kept a safe distance).

Not as much snow as we would have liked for snowshoeing and had to take them off near the end but it was still a beautiful and easy trail.

Great quick hike! There wasn’t much snow and we probably didn’t need our crampons. The switchbacks aren’t too steep and the view at the stop is breathtaking on both sides! We got there around 845am and omg saw a few people on the way up. We finished the hike at 1030am and there was a lot more people on the way up.

Breathtaking view on the top

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.

I just hiked the backside from the trail head near Sundance Canyon. I walked from downtown Banff, so it was about 6.5 miles total to the summit. I wish I’d had snowshoes in a few places because the snow was soft and nearly knew deep when I broke through in a few places. This was my first hike in the snow, so I’m not sure how to rate it, but it seemed about twice as hard at Tunnel Mountain which I did yesterday. It was absolutely beautiful!!!!

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.

Not closed!

The tougher trail is closed but the main trail is not. Very enjoyable and the lakes at the top of the hike are work the price of admission (tired legs)!

As of December 18th there was very little ice on the water so you can see the gorgeous blue green colors. Trails were a little slippery but I managed it in sneakers.

Enjoy

snowshoeing
29 days ago

I went there for snowshoeing and it was quite a cardio but really nice! The view at the end worth it. The tea house is close tho, don’t expect to be open. Definitely would recommend it!

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