Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots

MODERATE 373 reviews
#2 of 127 trails in

Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots is a 10.3 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Banff, Alberta, Canada that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.3 km
ELEVATION GAIN
522 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

views

waterfall

wildlife

snow

Great views and a really unique walk up to the falls along the canyon, on a well kept trail. Be aware that the trail is narrow at times and is extremely busy. It is best to get here super early as getting a parking spot later in the day is next to impossible. The ink pots are a great place to eat lunch along the river, the mountains in background are very scenic.

hiking
18 hours ago

Great easier hike. The inkpots are beautiful and the scenic views are incredible. It was windy at the top despite a very warm hike up and down so be prepared. Show up early for parking as the tour buses and tourists plug it up quick. The trail to the upperfalls is VERY busy but the tours turn around at that point so after the inkpots it was quiet and serene.

hiking
9 days ago

Very nice hike. Johnson canyon is a bit crowded and annoying, but still worth doing. If you hike a lot, consider that just a "end of the day" bonus. The ink spot is relaxing with mountain surrounding. Great for pictures.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike with 2 waterfalls and hiking along a river to the ink pots. Very crowded however. Get there really early to get a parking spot. At the ink pots, eat a lunch along the river. Mountains in background are very scenic.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a gorgeous fun trail. Make sure you go early to avoid crowds. We did this in September and not many people went to the Ink Pots, so much less crowded, but coming back was very crowded around the falls. The ink pots are very neat. Love this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trail today, when it's still snow from the parking lot all the way to the ink pots. It was just above freezing. Really lovely. Sheltered from the wind, and the sun was warm enough that I was able to get down to just basic insulators. Spikes are a must, though, and poles recommended!

1 month ago

Beautiful in winter, slippery on uphills but fine with good winter boots and warm clothing. The upper falls are beautiful when frozen.

1 month ago

Amazing hike! make sure you bring crimp-ons. The waterfalls ate breath taking!

2 months ago

Easy, beautiful but very crowded.

3 months ago

Beautiful winter hike! But if you're not a very active person and just starting out then know that the full hike can be pretty harsh. It was my first hike of the year and I'm not a very active person and I walked out exhausted and in pain. But pushing through it is definitely worth it! But please, please, please BRING CLEAT ATTACHMENTS ! It is very icy in some spots and there's nothing worse then having your hiking vibe on and you're being held up because someone thought it was a great idea to wear Uggs or sneakers. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Can't wait to go back and do a summer hike.

hiking
5 months ago

This is one of my favourite places in Banff NP. Yes, the canyon can get really busy so make sure you come early.
We did the hike up to the ink pots in late October and started at 9 am and saw maybe 10 other pairs of people on the trail as we made our way up. When we came back down around 1:30 pm it was already much busier, especially in the canyon. Contrary to what many people say, the hike up to the ink pots is definitely worth the extra effort! Although the trail is not super interesting after the canyon, the view at the ink pots is amazing. Make sure you come on a clear day so you can see the surrounding mountains. When we did the hike there was some snow and ice on the trail so microspikes definitely come in handy, even during fall.

hiking
6 months ago

Really beautiful both is summer and winter, but also very busy. The canyon is great for all ages, getting to the inkpots is a bit tougher but they are really interesting.

hiking
6 months ago

Great views and a really unique walk up to the falls along the canyon, on a well kept trail. But the trail is narrow at times and it extremely busy.
Best to get here super early as getting a parking spot later in the day is next to impossible.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail covers both the lower falls and the upper falls. Go further up the upper falls for about 200m to another viewpoint. Beyond that I'm not too sure if it worth the walk (about 1h) to the ink pots. I'd recommend going up all the way only on a sunny day. Views are majestic. But on a cloudy day you probably wouldn't be able see the mountain peaks.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful but busy!! Definitely a safe place for solo hikers but the crowds can be a bit much. I think this is a great winter hike, the falls are beautiful when they are frozen.

6 months ago

Started this hike in the rain which thinned out the crowd and about a half hour in the rain stopped and it was awesome!

hiking
6 months ago

from the parking lot to the trailhead was roughly half a kilometer. Really easy to get to. this Trail was super busy. So many people to dodge and maneuver around. lots of waiting at certain Vantage points to get pictures. super easy hike to get to the lower and upper Falls. a little bit more difficult to get to the ink pots. once you get to the ink pots, you're in a Beauty Valley which in my opinion is nicer than the ink pots themselves. the whole hike overall was decent and from the Upper Falls to the ink pots I would rate as being easy to moderate in difficulty. I really did expect more based on what I heard. the waterfalls are pretty cool though. in total from the parking lot to the valley and back took roughly 5 hours. overall it's a good place to bring the family because most of the trail to get to the waterfalls is not Trail but walkways that were built with steel grating. decent for sure.

6 months ago

The delicate ink pots are pretty much destroyed. Dogs swimming in the pools, strollers, heavy heavy traffic can all be expected. Unless you have small children I would recommend a less "touristy" hike.

6 months ago

Nice hike with good views of the surrounding mountains at the end. Get there early to avoid the congestion at the start once past Johnson upper falls we had the trail to ourselves.

hiking
7 months ago

Johnston Canyon is apparently where you take your small kids, great grandparents, or less than fit out of town visitors to see waterfalls. Too crowded! So many tourists in flip flops moving slowly. The hike past the waterfalls was at least a bit of a workout, but the ink pots we're not an amazing sight. It was a nice and peaceful break from the crowd though.

hiking
7 months ago

While the Johnston Canyon hike is definitely scenic, the sheer volume of people tends to turn me away from it. However yesterday we decided to make our way through the crowds and head to the ink pots for the first time. After the second falls it was like a whole new trail, very few people, good rolling hills to give you just enough of a workout. While the ink pots aren't as exciting as a mountain summit, they are still very neat to see and the surrounding landscape is gorgeous. Overall it ended up being around 12 km and very enjoyable for a leisurely hike.

hiking
7 months ago

had a great time!

7 months ago

Do this early in the morning and you'll have the whole trail to yourself. I started at 7am and was at the inkpots around 8pm. Gorgeous.

hiking
7 months ago

Did this trail today with my daughter. A nice once Lower Fall, Upper Fall and then all the way to ink Pot. It is fairly easy to do. so many locations to snap beautiful photos. A busy trail up to upper fall then quite.

hiking
7 months ago

An early start is key. We arrived ~7am with not a soul in sight until our return hike, when the throngs of hundreds were pouring in. Don't wait 'til later in the day. This hike is best experienced in the quiet hours.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike but you must start early!! we started at 7:15 and it was perfect! This is not an easy hike to the ink pots, it is a moderate, in my opinion. The trail was good and the ink pots are a must see when you also factor in the surrounding mountain vistas and meadows. Fabulous spot! The return trip was very crowded so make sure to stop at the falls on the way to the ink pots not on the way back.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice and easy. Very crowded before the falls but very quiet afterwards.

7 months ago

Beautiful view but such a big crowd! And I would say it is a moderate but a great trail

hiking
7 months ago

Way too many people!
1.7 km of cars parked in each direction from trailhead.

hiking
7 months ago

I love this hike. It is gorgeous. Be prepared to battle your way through the crowds. When you pass the falls. It starts to thin out. I would not rate this as a easy hike after the falls. It has a pretty good elevation and the lenght makes it more difficult.

7 months ago

Definitely a moderate trail, that is both a decent length and offers good elevation gain. I agree with many that this trail is not "easy" and should be "moderate". We started at 715am and encountered very few people. The way out was a bit more of a mess with very crowded walk ways, dogs, strollers and double lane walkers!

Load More