Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots

MODERATE 1354 reviews
#3 of 203 trails in

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

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

bird watching

running

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
1 day ago

Beautiful hike - get there early during season because it gets VERY busy. We went early, enjoying the boardwalk style trail along the canyon, and continued to Ink Pots. I read some reviews that said Ink Pots weren't worth it. I COMPLETELY disagree. I loved it. Such a cool thing to see, and the valley is gorgeous.

wonderful hike, keep going to ink pots and even further into the forest. well worth it for the spectacular views and mountains!!

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful view at the ink pots. Only heavy traffic first 1.5 miles near the falls and then it clears out. Highly recommend!

hiking
2 days ago

Too many people

hiking
3 days ago

Busy beginning but most people don’t keep going after reaching upper falls. Beautiful hike, the views at the end are worth it.

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

The first part is beautiful but so so busy! Full of tourists. Once past the upper falls it is more peaceful and quite. When I went the trail was super muddy but it did ran the day before. The whole hike had beautiful views.

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

The ink pots are pretty cool to see, but Johnson Canyon is very overrated. It looks nothing like the brochures say - it's basically a long narrow pathway all the way to upper falls. It's also very crowded from the trailhead till upper falls. So I would suggest hiking to the Ink Pots but starting from Moose Meadows.

Really nice to do. I took 3 hours to make the round trip but I was rather fast. At this moment detour to predict to access the canyon.

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful but very busy - definitely go all the way to the end!

hiking
5 days ago

A nice trail except for the crazy number of people on the paved part. More challenging and quieter once you’re past the upper falls.

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

First half pretty busy with people but most don’t go all the way. Goin the full way to ink pots was incredible especially now as there is fall foliage.

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome hike!! Inkpot definitely is worth it!

Early morning is best - too many people later!

hiking
6 days ago

Definitely crowded. But it is pretty.

hiking
6 days ago

We did this walk yesterday. The parking was insane and the people on the track made it very hard to navigate. Otherwise a really nice walk, especially after a good amount of rain the waterfalls were amazing. Easy walk to do for good views :)

hiking
7 days ago

Ink pots are beautiful! Lower and upper falls crammed full of tourists. Go early or late.

recorded Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots

hiking
7 days ago

Wonderful hike. Forget the waterfalls. Tourists all over the place. Ink Pots are awesome.

hiking
8 days ago

I'd give the front half of the trail a 2 because of all the people but the back half a 4. I'm glad we slogged through the tourists to make it to the inkpots and the meadow - it's a beautiful slice of Banff and there are beautiful views for days.

hiking
8 days ago

some steep parts but they're short with breaks in between. very crowded at the beginning in the canyon but thins out after the waterfalls. the last couple of miles had much fewer people. the ink pots are very interesting and definitely pretty but not as gorgeous as some of the lakes if that's what you're looking for

hiking
rocky
9 days ago

This hike was wonderful. The water views all along up to the falls are absolutely gorgeous. I started at noon, so it was very crowded up to the falls, but so worth it! Once I continued on to the inkpots it was much quieter & the trail was more natural. The mountain views from inkpots are spectacular. It was the perfect spot to stop & eat before heading back. The way back was much less crowded & was able to enjoy the falls once again without having to wait in a cue. So glad I choose this route for my first hiking day in Banff.

hiking
10 days ago

The walk through the canyon is really easy, and you can choose to continue on to the ink pots when you get to the end of the canyon walk if you want. That part is a little more difficult but the ink pots and the valley at the end is beautiful and definitely worth it. It’s a good hike for a rainy or foggy day since there’s not much elevation gain (the clouds won’t impact your view).

We got to the lot at 7am on a Tuesday early sept and there was only one car there. We were about 2 miles in before we saw another person, but overall really quiet and great hike. Took us about 4 hours to the foot bridge past the ink pots including stopping for lunch. About 8 miles.

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful! We loved every moment of it.

hiking
12 days ago

There is good scenery without having to work too hard. This was a fairly easy and very touristy trail especially in the first half. I found that the ease made it lack the excitement I look for in a hike. It was more of a scenic leisurely stroll with some variation of incline throughout. There are many waterfalls along the way and a nice mountain range at the ink pots!

hiking
12 days ago

Arrived at 2pm and were able to park in the lot. VERY crowded on lower falls, but then crowds dissipated. Steep between upper falls and Inkpots, but the inkpots are so worth it. Finished in just under 3 hours, having spent 20 min at the top. Very nice picnic spot.

hiking
13 days ago

This trail is divided into two parts: the first section has beautifully scenic views of the verdant canyon and the surrounding resplendent forest, of which you can catch glimpses of through the seas of humanity — mostly tourists dropped off by busses huffing their way up the paved trail, setting up tripods in the middle of the path, and carelessly allowing their water bottles to fall to the canyon floor. The second half resembles a forest service road up the valley which eventually emerges into a scenic valley surrounded by glaciated peaks, and cut by the turquoise stream which later flows on to form Johnston Canyon. Expect lots of people and great views.

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike to the falls but the ink pots were really underwhelming for the amount of hiking you do. The views of the mountains and valleys were nice but there are definitely other worthwhile hikes. I’d recommend to just go to the upper falls and turn back.

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful hike but GO EARLY!!!!! We arrived to the car park around 6:45 and there were about 5 other parties. We were the only ones our entire hike up but HOLY COW going down was a different story. It was packed! The ink pots were cool but the VIEW at the ink pots made that part of the hike worth it. Arrive early otherwise you’ll be dealing with crowds.

hiking
17 days ago

We did this at 4:30 in the afternoon and had no problem finding parking. It was very touristy but the views were cool. I’m glad we did it in the evening cause it wasn’t busy at all but had we done it in the middle of the day I would have just turned around with the crowds. It was also a bummer that that second falls in closed. But the ink pots were really cool!

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