Explore Banff and vicinity - 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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hiking
21 hours ago

Great little hike but definitely wish it was longer. Crampons or Yak Tracks are definitely useful if you’re doing it in winter. Beautiful views at the top for a short hike, though!

hiking
snow
1 day ago

This is a very easy short hike. Did it today(January), and found that there is some trail Maintence so you easily knew where you were going. Snow cleats were very appreciated for the steeper areas. The ledge by the falls is very small and a bit icy. But so worth it.

rocky
snow
1 day ago

really nice but a little bit short.

hiking
2 days ago

Please be aware that beyond Mirror Lake the trail is actually in avalanche terrain and not recommended in the winter!
Stay safe!

Crowded but safe. easier trail for friends

A decent little hike if you want to get away from the crowds at Lake Agnes. Incredible views of Lake Louise and if you want, you can get a pic of mirror lake and lake Louise in the same frame. Just watch your step.

walking
5 days 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.

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.

My favorite hike! Push yourself to get to the top! I was nervous about doing the switchback at the end because it looked steep with loose stones but I went up anyway and the views were incredible, so happy I did.

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

hiking
13 days ago

We did this hike in early May and it was probably our favorite hike of the trip. Take it all the way to the top--you won't regret it!! The beginning is busy and pretty heavily trafficked but it thins out as you continue onward. Have fun!!

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!

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.

hiking
13 days ago

Parker Ridge is a moderately challenging 5 km trail along the Icefields Parkway, located about 1.5 hours south of Jasper and north of the Saskatchewan Crossing. I hiked here in August 2017 along the drive from Jasper to Banff.

The trail was uphill the entire way, so be prepared for a climb. The first portion of the trail climbed through the forest along moderately steep switchbacks. It gradually became steeper as you hiked on and once you got above the tree line, where the landscape was wide open and barren. The trail continued to climb along switchbacks until it reached the top of the ridge. I definitely found it to be challenging and strenuous. Even in the middle of summer, there was still some thick snow patches near the top of the ridge.

At the top of the ridge, it was quite chilly and windy so make sure to pack a windbreaker and warm sweater. There were beautiful views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and surrounding mountain peaks which made for great photo opportunities. It was spacious at the top of the ridge and there were lots of other great viewpoints too if you explore a little bit.

There was parking in a small lot off the highway or along the shoulder of the Icefields Parkway. I would recommend the hike but be prepared for the weather and landscape. This is a challenging hike but there are rewarding views at the top of the ridge!

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.

Takakkaw Falls is a powerful and amazing waterfall to see in Yoho National Park. I visited in August 2017.

A winding and narrow paved road leads from the Trans Canada Highway cutting through the park to the waterfall which is located at the very end of the road. The drive was incredibly scenic as the road passed through beautiful lush forests with mountains all around and openings in the trees providing amazing views of the landscape. There was a series of intimidating-looking switchbacks up a steep mountainside along the road which were somewhat difficult to maneuver even with a small car (a 2-3 point turn is required), but a fun challenge. I even saw remnants of a recent avalanche along the road with huge piles of snow and broken trees.

It took roughly 30 minutes to arrive at the Takakkaw Falls parking lot along the Yoho Valley Road from where it stemmed off from Highway #1. The parking lot was small mostly full and I was lucky to find a spot in the afternoon. I could see and hear this powerful and spectacular waterfall and couldn’t wait to get closer!

From the parking lot, there was a short and well-trafficked paved path which crossed a bridge over a rushing river and wound through the trees with great views of the falls along the way before arriving at the base of Takakkaw Falls (it took about 10 minutes to get there). The waterfalls got louder and louder as I got closer and they were so powerful that I could feel the mist long before I even reached the base. The mountainous scenery surrounding the waterfall was so gorgeous and there were lots of places along the pathway to take photos of the views and the waterfall. The water plummeted at high speeds off the edge of a tall vertical cliff and into the river below. It was super windy, cold and wet standing at the base that I could only stand there for a few minutes before turning back as my camera was getting soaked. The sound of the falls was like thunder and it was incredible to experience and admire the waterfall while being SO CLOSE to and literally right in front of this breathtaking natural beauty! There were lots of large boulders off the main trail on a slope beside the falls that you could climb to get even closer, but I chose not to. The trail to the waterfall was quite crowded during my visit but not too overwhelmingly busy that it detracted from my experience, but if you arrived early in the morning you would probably be able to enjoy this place in peace.

Takakkaw Falls were a very impressive and stunning tall waterfall to see and there were plenty of great viewpoints of the falls for some amazing photos. This waterfall is definitely a must-experience when in Yoho! There are some picnic tables and washrooms near the parking lot of the falls as well. Make sure to wear a rain jacket because you will get wet at the base of the waterfall.

hiking
14 days ago

Silverton Falls is a short and rewarding hike to a pretty waterfall. It is a hidden gem and lesser-visited beautiful waterfall that is located just down the Bow Valley Parkway from Johnston Canyon about ten minutes. It is a short 0.7 km hike from the small gravel parking lot to the waterfall (1.4 km round-trip) and the hike starts along the same trail that leads to Rockbound Lake, but stems off to the right at the fork. I visited here in July 2017.

The trail passes through the forest along a flat terrain to begin with and then climbs the remainder of the way along switchbacks to a small area overlooking this gorgeous multiple tiered waterfall. A portion of the trail was narrow as it followed along a steep ledge. There are also amazing views of the deep forested valley and mountain range in the distance from this spot. This tall waterfall was beautiful to admire and photograph.

I was pleasantly surprised to have the trail mostly to myself when I visited here in the afternoon after a hike to the Ink Pots and Johnston Canyon. This hike is a great one to do if you are looking to get away from the crowds and see a beautiful waterfall and rewarding views for a moderate amount of effort along a short trail. It’s conveniently located just a short drive from Johnston Canyon along the same highway (heading north – look for signs for Rockbound Lake) so if you’re already in the area, you should definitely stop here either on the way to or from Johnston Canyon.

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.

The Consolation Lakes Trail is a beautiful and scenic hike that begins from the parking lot at Moraine Lake.

The trail stemmed off from the Rockpile Trail to the left, just before the climb to the top of the rock pile. This 6 km round-trip hike started off by passing through a very rocky section where there was even some avalanche debris and snow piles along the path! The trail then entered into the forest and continued there for the remainder of the hike on a fairly flat path with some short uphill sections but then very little elevation gain after that.

At the end of the hike, the path emerged from the forest and opened up to a stunning rocky landscape with Consolation Lakes in the distance beyond the large rocks, a peaceful river flowing from the lake, and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, sheer vertical cliffs, and tall jagged peaks. There was also an amazing view of the Fay Glacier at the far end of the lake. I felt so close to the mountains and even heard an avalanche. It was a fun challenge to climb over the large rocks in order to get closer to the lake. I enjoyed a snack while sitting on the rocks and enjoyed appreciating the incredible views all around me.

This hike was very rewarding for such a short and easy trail. Parking is limited at Moraine Lake, so I recommend arriving early (7 am or so) to ensure you get a spot.

The Lakeshore Trail at Moraine Lake is short, easy and scenic trail (3 km round trip) that starts from the Moraine Lake Lodge and follows along the shoreline of the lake along one side and leading to a boardwalk area at the end of the trail with a small waterfall coming down from the mountain. I visited here in July 2017.

The trail passes through a beautiful pine tree forest and there are openings in the trees along the way offering great views of the lake. It was interesting how it instantly felt 10 degrees cooler when I stood at the end of the boardwalk. There were amazing views of the glaciers and snowy mountain peaks!

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!

Great easy trail. A little slippery this time of year. Easy to do both the upper and lower falls. Note that at the end of each there is a metal grating on the suspended pathways that aren't great for dogs feet. We had to carry our pup for a bit.

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

hiking
21 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.

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