Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots is a 11.7 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
11.7 km
ELEVATION GAIN
608 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

partially paved

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
8 hours ago

Easy hike, lovely views in the canyon - get here early as the trail gets busy!

20 hours ago

Took the fam here last year, was awesome, busy but awesome.

hiking
8 days ago

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.

10 days ago

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.

12 days ago

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.

hiking
12 days ago

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

24 days ago

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.

walking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Johnston Canyon is always incredible to see. This time I ventured past the upper falls to see the Ink Pots. The trail is in a forested area so there’s not too much to see until you are almost at the Ink Pots. You will know you are almost there when you emerge from the forested area. You will be rewarded with an incredible view of an open valley with a river and mountains in the distance. The Ink Pots are lovely, and I think they would have been truly incredible had it been a bright sunny day. It was cloudy and rained for a good portion of my hike in late September. There are a lot of uphill and downhill portions on this hike so it can be challenging. Definitely worth the effort in my opinion. There are benches at the Ink Pots where you can sit and enjoy the view with a snack or lunch.

hiking
1 month ago

We went a little after lunch hour,the hike up to the lower and upper falls was a little busy but once you start heading towards the ink pots there was less traffic.The 5.7km hike was worth it after seeing the view.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, but we found ourselves quite tired and didn’t make it to the ink pots...probably better to acclimate to the higher altitude before a hike. That said, the hike was more like a stroll, but with wonderful views. The most novice of hikers will enjoy this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

the ink pots were really cool, well worth the hike

1 month ago

Busy and tight some places but after upper falls to Ink Pots it clears out.

walking
1 month ago

A nice walk on a paved path through a lovely canyon. Don’t go looking for a hike, but the scenery is nice. It was a rainy day and still there were many people on the trail, don’t want to imagine it on a sunny day. The trail to ink pots is much better - packed dirt path and less people. These are definitely worth the walk, beautiful mountain backdrop and the ink pots are beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Rather boring thru unimpressive Johnston Canyon and the lower/upper falls. Paved path good for families and seniors. Lots of people dropped off by buses. We continued onto the Ink Pots via a rather steep hike (dirt trail); the crowds thin out. The Ink Pots are very interesting and worth the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Very easy paved path with railing for the majority of the route. Beautiful waterfall/river/canyon views but extremely crowded. 10-15 minute lines at each viewpoint so we turned back after the second waterfall before going further to the ink pots.

1 month ago

Loved this trail! The waterfall Is beautiful and the ink pots are a beautiful hue if turquoise and and a nice place for a picnic.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful easy hike. It could get pretty crowded so just make sure you get there early so you can actually enjoy it

2 months ago

Did this hike on a Friday (Sept 7) arriving at The main parking lot around 4pm to find ample parking. It wasn’t too crowded and we were one of the last people on Trail when we finished around 7:30pm. Arriving at ink pots was favorite of the hike with great views later in the day. There were some tough inclines but all enjoyable.

hiking
2 months ago

Too many people from parking lot 1 all the way up to upper falls but then a very pleasant trail with much less traffic up to the ink pots. Beautiful scenery. Enjoyed a snack next to the running water before making the return trip.

2 months ago

As many have commented, the portion of the trail to the upper falls is very, very popular and crowded. However, the canyon, creek, and falls are very pretty and worth dealing with the crowds. After the upper falls we still encountered many people but at least it seemed like a real hike. We enjoyed the views of the mountains at the ink pots, as well as the ink pots. We thought the trail rating of moderate is appropriate. Overall, this is a very nice hike despite the crowds

hiking
2 months ago

We arrived about 7:30 five days ago and it was wonderful as not many people were there. We felt
like we had the place to ourselves. It was so beautiful. We hiked on to the ink pots. So uphill. We didn’t enjoy as there weren’t really any views and it seem to go on forever. The ink pots were pretty and the Mountain View was pretty, but not really worth it. I guess we’re getting spoiled with the majestic beauty all around us out here!

2 months ago

They are not joking when they describe this trail as heavily used. On the Falls Trail at times it felt like we were dealing with the TSA lines at an airport. Both falls are beautiful. If you want an alpine experience I recommend hiking all the way to the Inkpots - the meadow and stream are beautiful but the Inkpots were a little disappointing. The lower trail is easier because it's paved but still a workout! Getting to the Inkpots involved some very steep terrain so be prepared.

2 months ago

A lot of people until Upper falls but the way is beautiful, you can go down in some places out of the path enabled. From Upper until Ink Pots is calm and a little long, forest and some view mountains. The end is a beautiful open landscape with natural pools that remanate water. I spent 3 hours.

2 months ago

Beautiful trail - just too crowded to the falls.

2 months ago

Started at about 10:30 and got super lucky finding a parking spot in the main lot. It was packed going up to the falls but once you turned to go to the ink pots, it was a great, less busy trail. The hills up are a good workout but the last part to the ink pots are downhill. Beautiful view that opens up with bubbling glacial water. Absolutely recommend.

hiking
2 months ago

Parked at 7:30 and there were 5 other cars there. We had the trail to ourselves on the way out. Johnston Canyon and the waterfalls were fun. Trail to Ink Pots is wide and mostly up hill. Ink Pots were so cool. On the way back, Johnston Canyon was PACKED with families so I’m glad we got to enjoy it on the way out.

2 months ago

loved it. gotta go really early. made all the difference.

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