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

Banff/Lake Louise Map
VIEW FULL MAP

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Beautiful trail that was quite well maintained. Used micro spikes for the most part and glad we brought our snowshoes to complete the final 500-700m as there was a good foot of snow.

Excellent challenging trail, yet open to all able bodied hikers. In the summer I saw many people of all ages and physical ability going up the trail. Walk at your own pace and it's a great trail with an amazing reward.

I really enjoyed this hike. We went Aug 1, 2018. The trail was not as busy as the Lake Agnes trail, it felt like a slower incline to hike, still a steep climb to the tea house. Beautiful views the whole way. The trail varied from switchback to hiking on rocks, and small pathways on dirt, it was awesome. We also continued on to the glacier viewpoint, it had spectacular views, it gets very rocky near the end, so tread carefully.

The view of the natural amphitheater at the end was well worth the steepness of the trail and the snow. We went up without snowshoes, but luckily some snowshoers had gone ahead of us and packed down some of the trail. The footprints ended at the start of the amphitheater, maybe 200m from the end of the trail, but the view was already incredible so it was no loss. The snow was knee deep for the last half kilometer or so. The trail had few others on it, even on the parts along the lake (although there are many sightseers coming off buses at the trailhead parking lot).

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.

Amazing. We saw it in the snow. It was a winter wonderland in September.

Easy, beautiful hike with tons of wild flowers in the Summer!!

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!

Hiked on 11.1.18
Microspikes and poles up to the tea house. Heard multiple avalanches..Attempted to walk to the lookout point but turned around about 3/4 of the way due to high snow, unsure footing and avalanche risk.
Overall excellent hike had the whole area to ourselves just be prepared.

We hiked this trail in the opposite direction and went out and back from the lookout. The trail was recently covered in a few inches of snow, which gave us traction over some of the ice underneath. Fun hike with little to no hikers on it. Great snowy view of the surrounding mountains without the difficulty of a usual winter hike!

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 hike from Lake Louise with tons of amazing views! The trail is icy and snowy at this time of year so make sure to have spikes (and poles help too). Overall this was a great trail that had some climbing but nothing too difficult. Highly recommend!

Load More