Explore Canada Alberta - 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
5 days ago

This was a great, yet hard hike. The inclines are very steep in some points (at the very end of the climb I actually had to use both hands and feet to get to the top). The views are so worth it though!

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.

Completed Nov. 12-18, mild winter conditions.

Epic trail for advanced hikers. (See bottom to skip details and for conclusion)

Easy to get to, park at bow falls parking lot and walk past the golf course and head right to start. The beginning 1/3 of the hike is very easy, trail is obvious and easy to follow. Moderate incline.

The next third spices things up, trail starts to go up and down before hitting the switchback portion. Once at the switchbacks the intensity increases and the incline gets much greater, but the views get better!

Then you hit the last third and this is where things get seriously real. Once you go through the gully and onto the dragonback, the trail gets extremely intense. Gets difficult to follow the trail (especially with snow on the ground), but all you’re really doing is scrambling up so it’s not a big deal. Lookout for the yellow markers on the trees.

At this point, be prepared to be on all fours for the last 1.5hrs as you get closer to the top. This is a real scramble and NOT good for the faint of heart. As you reach the peak the incline nears practically vertical. You are on loose rock and footing is tough. Every 10 steps you’ll need a break. The peak will appear close, but it’s a tough and draining couple hundred meters.

Conclusion: Epic hike, epic views. Don’t go with your fam for a casual sightseeing hike, or if you’re not confident in your abilities. This is a hike for those who want to conquer. Plan for a 6-8 hour round trip in the winter. Hiking Boots mandatory, spikes are a good idea. Pack for wind/cold at the top. Bring lots of food. Have a blast, it’s a hell of a hike.

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.

walking
13 days ago

Great for date night ❤️ nice and easy.

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.

hiking
14 days ago

Nov 4, 2018
This was a great hike! Mostly uphill with a flat spot in the middle, pretty difficult I would say for inexperienced folks like us. My wife and I did Lake Agnes on Friday and Ink Pots via Johnston Canyon on Saturday, then ended with this on Sunday. Even with all the hiking we had already done, we went out and back in about 4.5 hours, but we didn’t make it all the way to the second lake (it was pretty snowy and that last push up the hill was a bit much for our inexperienced and tired legs). Wonderful views of the backside of Castle Mountain, and lots of snow-covered valley.

Thanks for the recommendation, G&J!

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

hiking
21 days ago

Great day hike! Amazing views at the top at Aylmer Lookout! 6 hr round trip, trail was in good condition (October 27th).

Went to do a sunrise hike Oct25 th and the trail is closed due to blasting. :(

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

Sep 17, 2017 - awesome hike !

hiking
1 month ago

Such a pretty and peaceful hike. Great for those with less stamina or if you'd like to fit in a little hike. We were there before 10 AM and did not see one other person. Even though the trail was somewhat ice, it is completely flat, so was easy to traverse.

I was here yesterday before sunrise. Unfortunately the bridge was blocked off with closure signs. I thought it was opened up again for winter, I guess they have more work to do? the trail head was closed at the time I went.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, minor scramble at the top. But windy and chilly. Amazing views.

Trail closure extended for the winter season 2018/19. The early snowfall and smoke this year delayed the new trail alignment so it will be completed in spring 2019 then reopened!

Favourite lake in Banff!! ❤️

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!!

Love hiking at Sunshine so peaceful and the views are amazing larch especially wonderful to watch as they turn golden and shed their needles flowers in spring and fall can highly compare to many other hikes but hard to compare Sunshine s Latches and trails

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

Easy hike with spectacular views. The path along Johnston canyon was crowded but views are worth it. Strongly recommend continuing on to the ink pots as they are a wonderful natural phenomenon.

Was still closed yesterday. Sign at trail head said closed until early October for trail maintenance. A local said next week for scheduled reopening... not 100% sure if they are planning to reopen on schedule? Anybody know?

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