Explore Hikes with Kraig - 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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walking
1 day ago

If you want to get away from the crowds at the lake Louise front shoreline, take this for a little jaunt. Different perspectives of the lake, especially at the back shoreline. A loop is possible.

walking
1 day ago

A decent little walk. Something to bring the relatives on that don’t hike much. Agnes Lake is beautiful but the teahouse can get packed up pretty quick. Go early if you can.

Good hike, sun was here, no need of spikes. The view at the top worst it ! Just be aware that the main of the trail is on gravely road just the last kilometers are on a mountain trail.

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.

4 days ago

Great little hike. Easy to do with kids. Beautiful waterfall. Keep your eyes out for the troll! :)

hiking
6 days ago

Great for a beginner!

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

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.

Easy hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end!

nice, easy trail to do with a toddler in backpack

10 days ago

Fun, easy walk with the family. Nice place to bring a small camp stove and make hot chocolate at the falls.

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 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!

10 days ago

Nice enjoyable walk with beautiful frozen waterfalls

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.

walking
11 days ago

Not challenging enough for me personally but a beautiful walk on a sunny day in the winter. Will definitely do again.

snowshoeing
11 days ago

Nice and easy trail with minimal incline. About a foot of fresh snow on December 4th. Snowshoes were a must as the trail was fresh and hadn’t been packed down yet. I was told by Parks Canada that there is a low avalanche risk when the path reaches the lake.

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!

Great easy trail. A little slippery this time of year. Easy to do both the upper and lower falls. Note that at the end of each there is a metal grating on the suspended pathways that aren't great for dogs feet. We had to carry our pup for a bit.

Dec 30th leisurely walk to an epic couple of caves, definitely recommend checking them out!

My husband, son and 5 year old grandchild and I hiked about 2km out and back again. Beautiful views, blue skies but lots of snow. Rolling hilly path which was a bit of a challenge for a 5 year old. We will definitely be back to hike it again and hope to complete the full loop! Trekking poles were helpful. We hiked to Rawson Lake in the summer so seeing part of the path in winter was a beautiful change.

Hiked 12/24/18. Great hike! Would definitely recommend bringing snow shoes if you plan to go all the way to the tea house.

hiking
15 days ago

We have only done it in the winter but falls are cool frozen. It is easy to connect to Hay Meadow (cross cutline as per map and turn right at little pump shack and follow river) it will lead back to the same patking lot. creating an oval. I like meadow last as flat and easy. both parts are pretty.

16 days ago

Really easy trail and very quick. Lots of traffic though so get there early. Do the hike to Upper Falls! You’ll see signs for it along the trail. It’s about a 20 min hike uphill but when we got there there wasn’t a single person.. where as when we arrived at Troll Falls there was about 30 people. No need for crampons or poles at the time we hiked. (Late December)

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.

Not as nice as the upper falls, but still at this time of year I’d recommend spikes. You can rent them in town. Still a really nice hike with the frozen falls

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.

snowshoeing
19 days ago

Started at the back end of the trail and snowshoed to the suspension bridge at Black Shale Creek (about 2.5 miles, which took about 1.5 hours to get there snowshoeing one way) and back (about 5 miles round trip). We saw bear prints in the snow at the beginning, so definitely bring bear spray! Beautiful scenery throughout. The trail opens up a few times to see the mountains in the distance. The views at the bridge are absolutely beautiful, definitely worth it.

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.

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