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Best views of Moraine Lake....if you can actually get there. And I mean to the parking lot. Best idea, if you’re just there to see the lake, is to take the bus from the lake Louise overflow lot. It’s free.

Freaking awesome...crowded but not too bad...being a little bit off the road helps.

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.

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.

Moraine Lake is so absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that such a beautiful place exists and that you are in the presence of this awe-inspiring natural wonder. Words can’t even describe how awesome and perfect it really is. It’s definitely a must-visit in the Rockies. I visited here in July 2017.

I visited Moraine Lake twice during my solo road trip in the Rockies – arriving at sunrise to spend the day there and at sunset on a different day.

There are plenty of things to see and do at the lake and you could spend an entire day or more exploring the area. I spent about half a day there doing a couple of hikes stemming off from the lake.

The Rockpile Trail is a short uphill hike that literally winds its way up to the top of a large pile of rocks. At the top, you can find the most spectacular views of the lake from, the surrounding mountains and the densely forested valley opposite of the lake from several perspectives. The photo opportunities from here were incredible and there were a few benches where you can just sit and enjoy the spectacular views. The vibrant turquoise colour of the water is just outstanding to see and the entire lake and mountain backdrop is so picturesque. This area can get quite busy and crowded with people as the day goes on, but there were few people there in the early morning hours and it was nice to experience more solitude. In the evening before sunset, you can see gorgeous reflections of the snowy mountain peaks on the calm and intense blue water of the lake.

Would highly recommend this short and easy hike to get amazing views overlooking Moraine Lake.

Beautiful but very crowded

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.

I took an additional trail above the grand prismatic...not a soul on the trail but us. Gorgeous overlook of the pools without all of the traffic on the east path to the pools.

Absolutely stunning scenery, such as frozen waterfalls. Easy to walk even in the winter, regular winter shoes are sufficient for the trail. Well maintained. Saw ice rock climbers at the Upper Fall. Really interesting hike and elegant canyon!

Hiked in February. HIGHLY recommend crampons in winter - everything gets so hard packed by the shear number of people that it’s really slick. Great opportunity for videos of people slipping on ice wearing loafers. Would be a stunning hike without the crowds.

Excellent in the winter.
Even got to see people ice climbing

Did this one in August. View at the top was incredible.

Breathtaking. Never seen anything so naturally beautiful but DOES NOT HAVE A BATHROOM! Haha only complaint I have. Haha

amazing hike! Unbelievable how beautiful the hike is and I definitely recommend it. Make sure to pack a good lunch because you're going to need it. A lot of incline thigh but Adobe waterfalls on the way and just beautiful in the summer!

Terrific hike. Great view from the ridge a little past the lake.

Always one of my favourites to do especially in the winter!! Will have to go up to ink pots in the summer

hiking
2 months ago

November 11, 2018. Beautiful canyon/river trail. Man-made trail structures throughout. If you have hiked before, this trail will not be a challenge except for the sometimes icy conditions. Good traction hiking boots are a must or a traction device (spikes/cleats) if you are not used to packed snow/icy conditions. This trail is pretty busy so do not expect to be alone with nature. Crowds aside, the canyon and falls are worth it. Enjoy!

Nov 10 beautiful frozen falls. I recommend crampons. Even good hiking boots still slip in some areas.
Washrooms are on site..

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail with my girlfriend on Sept 7th. I am 64 yrs young, but live at sea level (St. Pete,FL)
the first 3-4 miles not so bad, but once you leave the maintained trail it gets much tougher.
That combined with the lack of oxygen made me consider quitting several times. Luckily for me,
my girlfriend is younger and in better hiking shape, so I toughed it out. It was the best pay-off to a hike
that I have ever experienced. The view was spectacular. The sun on the lake and the reflection of the sky made it seem that you were in a painting. As with many places we have been, none of the pictures, as beautiful as they are, can quite hold up to being there. It was very hard to leave.

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

did the hike 4th of july weekend. amazing hike!! worth the switchbacks and boulder field scramble. the view at the top was amazing. the lake was so cool! take plenty of water! we all depleted our water on the way up and refilled with our filters at the lake. we arrived early but not early enough and had to park further out. about 10 miles up and back to the car. we did see a mom and cub on our way up. they wandered off into the field away from us so definitely bring bear spray, never know!

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.

Nice views, but the high amount of tourists ruin this “hike.” I’d go elsewhere if your looking for something peaceful and remote.

2 months ago

Beautiful!! Not so much a hike as stair climbing, but worth the 30 minutes round trip with 15 minutes of enjoying the falls!!!

Definitely worth the trip!

Not a hard hike, easy trail starting with trees and ending in a freezing cold lake. Be prepared for a wait at the ridge as you are essentially hiking w a huge group of people. Fun, but won’t do it again.

As I tell everyone I meet, this is by far my favourite hike in the world. It is an absolute thrilling adventure.

October 27
10/10 waterfalls!! we went all the way to the Upper Falls. there's some icy patches to watch out for, but we did fine wearing blundstones and runners. arrived by 10AM and the parking lot still had 40% of its spaces remaining :) would go again

Great hike, really not hard tho. Took us 2hrs 30mins up, the first 5.5 miles are very easy and almost flat, from there on you hike up the ridge towards the lake, still very doable. The lake is gorgeous, just don't drink/swim, there is 5 elk carcasses in the water and 8 more on the ice.

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