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Easy hike but truly stunning!

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.

20 days ago

This hike is no joke and would go on most Top 10 lifetime hikes (certainly on mine). It’s incredible and the views compensate for the steep scramble on the last third (which takes hours to get up and down). Very intense and should not be taken lightly. Going down can be a bit more daunting than going up.

I recommend bringing gloves for the scramble as you will be on all fours for some of it. Start early since it will take all day (I was on trail for about 8 to 9 hours). I love hiking with my dog but would never take my dog on this trail (at least up the scramble).

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.

Easy hike for the whole family with fantastic view of Peyto Lake at the overlook.

Absolutely gorgeous, one of the best views I've ever seen. Very easy. The trailhead is at the north end of the first parking lot. It was not too busy since it is winter, but there were more people here than most prefer places (except Lake Louise).

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.

It looks photoshopped in real life.

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

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

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!

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

A must see if you are in and around Banff .. short drive up and the scenery is spectacular .. I’ve has started to build up sonic you have some cleats handy, make sure you bring them along .. ok, lookout does get crowded however, not a reason not to miss out!

walking
1 month ago

You can’t do much if you just drive there, next time I go I’d want to approach via Yoho

Amazing view, but not the best experience. The lookout is so crowded, it’s like a mosh pit.

Note that the trail is icy. However, as of the 20th of October, the bus road is closed, and not as slippery. Best that you walk up this road if you don’t have cleats.

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.

5 starts for the lake itself but too crowded for my liking.

Did the 10km hike from emerald lake through the snow, it was not easy but well worth it .

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.

This was easily one of my favorite hikes ever, but be mindful that this route stops before you actually get to the final tea house and viewpoint. Expect an extra couple of miles (we made it to the second tea house, and my data had me at 13.2 miles all said and done once back). In my opinion, the toughest part of the trail is getting to Lake Agnes. Even though there’s a steep slope to get up the Big Beehive, it’s fairly easy because of the switchbacks, and very short. Also, Little Beehive has the best view of Lake Louise and the surrounding ranges (also my opinion), so don’t skip out on that.

Coming down the back of Big Beehive is extremely easy, and there isn’t much for difficulty the rest of the way to the Plain of the Six Glaciers. I didn’t make it to the final viewpoint, but you’re still rewarded with amazing views for much of the way. We went in early June and there was significant snow in several spots, both at Agnes/Beehives, and near the end of the leg in. Coming back out was a cinch, but make sure you have bear spray because we saw a mom with cubs across Louise as we were returning. Altogether, phenomenal hike with tons to see!

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.

Very pretty view of Peyto Lake right after the snow storm. Please wear the proper gear as we saw people slipping all over the place. Take the trek up to the left to view beautiful snow covered forests.

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.

The view is a 5 star, but the crowd is a 1. It's a steep incline up and today when we went it was a little slick from snowfall. The view was beautiful and it's short walk to get to. However, the tourist were rude and it was elbow to elbow on the lookout. The best views are if you escape the crowd just a little going beyond the lookout platforms to the right and take photos with no one rushing you and even better views...this will require a slight adventure but nothing that was difficult to do.

Take bug spray! Mosquitoes were terrible!!!

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