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Easy hike but truly stunning!

November 25, 2018
My boyfriend, dog and I did this hike on a Sunday early afternoon and only saw 3 other people. It was a gorgeous day and amazing views at the top! The trail was packed down with snow but some icy spots closer to the top, was easy enough doing it in some hiking boots with little spikes or my bf only had hiking boots.

*All trails and the castle lookout sign say 3.7km one way or 6.4km total however my Fitbit said 5km one way or 10km total so the trail took longer than we thought but was all worth it when we got to the very top! Also, more likely 600m incline too. Definitely would keep this rated as a moderate trail! Our dog loved it as well ;)

I did this hike in 2017. The waterfalls are cool, but it is highly trafficked by tourists. Once you pass the upper falls and start on the trail to the ink pots, it is much nicer. Steep climb. When we reached the valley where the ink pots are, it was amazing. It felt like we had just stepped out into a beautiful valley from a short hike from our car, not remembering that we had hiked many kilometres to see it.

Great hike with an incredible view at the end. If you are looking for a moderate winter hike in the area this is a great choice. The path to the falls had several groups on it and was busy for a winter trail, but once you passed the upper falls the trail was empty. The view of the mountains from the inkpots was perhaps more incredible than the inkpots themselves. The snow was packed most of the way. Ice cleats were helpful, especially when going down.

Nov 17, 2018. Decided on this shorter hike while staying up the road at Baker Creek. Approx an inch of fresh snow all over the trail, but not quite deep enough for snowshoes to be required. I completed this one in hiking boots, but microspikes would be handy towards the end of the trail.
Beautiful bluebird day with a chilly breeze at the lookout. Views were great with all the fresh snow covering everything. Saw about 8-10 other people during the day, but relatively quiet.

hiking
20 days ago

Completed Oct 31 and a not recommend.
The trail is a long, grueling uphill ascent that stays within the trees the entire time. There are no lookouts or landmarks along the 2hour climb. It's incredibly monotonous. Taylor Lake itself is now completely frozen, and the meadow is heavily snowed in. The view of the mountains is often fogged in. At 2100+ meters, I experienced mild altitude sickness. On our descent, we noticed fresh Grizzly tracks on top of our ascending footprints. No sitings, but the big bears aren't necessarily asleep yet.
This is not the worst hike ever, but in Banff this time of year, there are dozens that offer better views, with less work in more frequently used parts of the park.

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.

Nov 10 2018 - beautiful views of the mountains while hiking the ridge and a larger 270 degree view at the trail end.
You can hike the trail with good hiking boots, but snow cleats would make some spots easier. Can be windy at the top as its an open area.
No washrooms on site.
Minimal hikers for a Saturday afternoon.

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

I was very disappointed with the zoo. We did not see any animals but many bunny tracks. The snow gave it a nice touch but was confused why there was so much more snow the higher up we went when we were getting closer to the sun. It makes zero sense. It should be warmer.

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.

I’ve hiked up to mountain summits, but I promise you nothing will take your breath away quite like walking through those trees to the lookout point. This is a great hike, it’s quick and challenging. Gaining elevation practically the whole way up. Hikes this nov 4, 2018 and the path is fairly clear. Only a small amount of snow closer to the top. Definitely do not need winter boots or crampons to do this one...yet.

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.

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

walking
1 month ago

Very beautiful little walk year round!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this on October 20th with a few friends, and we enjoyed it! The views of Taylor Lake are cool, backdropped by Mt. Bell and Panorama Peak. The trail was very easy to follow, and for the most part winded through forest, with glimpses of Mt. Bell on the ascent and Castle Mountain on the descent. The trail was icy this time of year though, we managed without spikes but they'd be helpful!

Just before reaching Taylor Lake, the trail opens up into a meadow, which leads up to the lake with great views. Once you reach the lake, there are four picnic tables for a lunch stop, with options to extend the hike to Boom Lake and O'Brien Lake. We crossed paths with a half dozen groups on the way up and down.

Total time round trip: 3.5hr

This is a great trail to get some fantastic views of the waterfalls Johnston Canyon has to offer. The trail is improved/paved until you reach the upper falls and then it is a well marked dirt trail that is easy to follow. After the upper falls we needed hiking spikes as the trail was rather icy in spots and for the final descent into the valley that holds the ink pots. Overall a moderate hike if you go all the way to the pots. The views at the Ink Pots are worth the hike themselves but the waterfalls are spectacular and really offer some great views along the way.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail. Was very snowy, but the lake is incredibly pretty. This is a very long hike so bring lots of supplies. The fog that was over the lake came in and out of view, so you do have to wait until for a picture perfect moment!

1 month ago

Did this hike on October 6th. Had cleats and poles so it was manageable. The hike to the lake is pretty much all uphill so be prepared for that and bring lots of water. The trail is mainly in the forest so it only offers a few mountain views but once you get to the lake it is worth it!!! I plan on snowshoeing this one soon.

Favourite lake in Banff!! ❤️

Very short but worth the visit! Super easy walk, no spikes needed but it’s muddy so hiking boots best. Very pretty self guided hike with a nice waterfall at the end. Almost too short!

This is a very easy trail that is paved most of the way with handrails! The waterfalls are beautiful - however this is such a well know place make sure to get up super early to beat lots of crowds or try going during the week.

If there is one must do hike in the Canadian Rockies .. must be this one for the view .. easy, short, breathtaking view!!

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The trail is ranked as moderate and that's an accurate rating. I'm 62 and in good health didn't have any trouble complementing the hike. The highlights of this hike are the lower and upper falls and the meadows at the end of the trail. ( If you are exhausted from just hiking the lower falls then you should consider turning back. The trail gets steeper from there)

You'll need a tripod and perhaps a ND filter to capture both the lower and upper falls with the "flowing" water effect. You'll also need lots of patience as this is a very popular hike and there is very little room to setup a tripod without someone bumping into you. But if is worth the effort.

If you have made it to the Upper Falls and you still have lots of energy, then you should proceed to the "Ink Pots" . Personally I find the ink pots nit to be very photogenic but the valley/meadows they sit in is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. You have a large meadow surrounded by snow capped mountains with a glacially fed stream running through the middle. I spent two hours just wondering around shooting various compositions, having a great time.

One caution: These are the Canadian Rockies. You need to be prepared for cold weather even in the summer

Highly recommended.

easy walk to the top

Easy walk with exceptionally stunning views!

Prefect spot to propose, and she said yes

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