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Completed on Jan. 12. Very little snow and only required spikes on the back loop. If you want to extend the hike, complete the back loop ( check out prairie mountain and prairie creek route ). Different views and adds about an hour to the overall experience. Easy hike for experienced hikers; hard for beginners.

Had a great time exploring this hike! Fun to walk the frozen stream if you’ve got spikes on. Can’t wait to see it in the summer.

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.

Easy hike for a family! It was a touch icy in spots throughout . Kids had fun sliding on the icy hill parts while we skirted in the brush to stay upright. But lots of dry/bare spots too!

The incline is a lot of work, but the top is quite stunning! Hard work pays off in this case!

I want to hike Ha Ling this weekend with the nice weather. is it actually closed or can it stil be done?

Quiet and pretty trail, nobody else here when I visited. Good for a quick stroll.

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

This hike is insane. Quite scrambly at the top, so careful on a super windy day! Very difficult, had to stop many times, but great work out and beautiful hike

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!

Great hike today. Nice to have the micro spikes in a few spots. Stunning views along the hike and 360 at the top.

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.

One of the best places in the US to visit

hiking
12 days ago

Good hike, great thigh burner with longish steep sections. Worth bringing out spikes in the winter season as it can be icy.

Hold on to to your hat at the summit as the last few hundred meters can be windy!

Bryce, good to know you made to the top. It was windy up there. I will be back and do the ridge walk in summer.

I wouldn’t say it’s hard. Just a good push, no snow, yak tracks a good idea. It’s a good one to do if you are ina pinch for time as we completed in 1:30. That being said we ran down and we are fit avid hikers. Great trail for dogs too!

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!

Did this hike on New Years Day, 2019. Weather -2, windy on the ridge and very cold at the top. This is our first ever mountain climb and we found it quite difficult, highly recommend poles down. Slippery conditions throughout the trail otherwise dust and dirt covered with packed snow patches throughout. We over packed by a long shot, unless you're staying at the top overnight pack light. Absolutely loved it and will be back, the views are worth the pain.

Nice place to get out for the day, not what it used to be when I was growing up but with all things come change

Once in a lifetime, must see and do hike!!!! There’s nothing more to say about this place.

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.

Great trail, wonderful views, sufficiently challenging!!

One of the most beautiful places on earth.

hiking
19 days ago

A great short hike. I definitely encourage hiking crampons rather than city/daily ice spikes.

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.

Hiked May long, steep clear trail to follow and many people along the way.
Great to do as a half day hike as it’s relatively short.
Took us 3 hours at a moderate fitness level and as a first hike of the year.
Curious to do again this spring to see what work has been done for trail development.
As stated by others aim to hike and summit early to avoid crowds. We started at 9, and came across many people on the trails, so aim for earlier and you’ll be coming down as everyone is headed up!
Keep in mind it’s a leg burning up and down as it’s constant elevation all the way up, so bring good shoes and lots of water!
Enjoy

walking
22 days ago

Don’t expect those breathtaking summit views, but for its category, it is definitely a 5 star little hike. We did this trip as a family with little kids and grandma. Everyone enjoyed it a lot, really nice scenery with all those little waterfalls. Located so close to Cochrane, it’s a perfect quick getaway from our busy life especially for those who live in town. We will be back for sure to see the different seasons there.

hiking
23 days ago

We did this trip at the end of December, but there wasn’t much snow on it. Some ice and snow patches, so we used spikes on the way down but managed to go up without them. Great view on the top, and once you get up there, you will know why this mountain was named Prairie Mountain. The 360 degree view is definitely worth it.

It’s a great cardio workout too, not too long but steady steep climb pretty much all the way up to the tree-lines. Lots of people use this hike as a workout, doing it every week or doing it back to back multiple times a day.

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