Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots

MODERATE 1009 reviews
#2 of 174 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

trail running

walking

bird watching

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
muddy
rocky
5 hours ago

Great hike but was very bust from the parking lot to the upper Falls. Less ppl from the upper Falls to the ink pots as was beautiful there. Great place to have lunch with the river flowing a stones throw away.

hiking
muddy
22 hours ago

recorded Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots

hiking
1 day ago

Pretty scenery and waterfall but far too crowded for my liking. Should have known by the parking lot.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful! I would recommend it anytime! Even in the rain it was worth it! It’s an easy path and the ratio effort VS reward is great.

hiking
2 days ago

This is a great trail for families. It’s roughly paved all the way to the upper falls. Would recommend the trail all the way to the ink pots. The view is incredible! Path/bridges are a bit narrow at times but it’s definitely still accessible. Would recommend this hike!

Started around 9am on a weekday. No problem finding a parking spot. Definitely go all the way up to the inkpots!

hiking
3 days ago

super crowded but once you get passed the upper falls, you almost have the trail to yourself. the paint pots are cool and good views.

hiking
4 days ago

Johnson Canyon is beautiful! We arrived at 6:45 and the lot had a few cars. By the time we got out around 10am the lot was full. The Canyon is definitely 5 stars. The hike to the ink pots is a nice wide trail. Lots of long ups and downs and just a couple views. The Ink Pots are fascinating. The colors, swirling sands are worth seeing. It’s beside the river so you can visit that and it has beautiful views of mountain peaks. I’d give this section 4 stars simply due to the somewhat uneventful hike to get there and the fact that the ink pots are a pretty small area.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike! We got to the parking lot at by 6:30am and it was empty. by the time we got done at 10 it was overflowing. Just a tip - go early! The hike was perfect for the moderate rating. Some good inclines but nothing too strenuous. We didn't need poles. The Ink Pots were a great way to cap it off!

hiking
4 days ago

Very busy and underwhelming

hiking
4 days ago

My friend and I are total beginners and are extremely slow so it took us 2:45 to get to the ink pots and then 2:30 to go back down. We arrived at 9am on a rainy Monday morning. There were still plenty of parking spots and the trail to the upper falls was only a little busy, compared to the crazy zoo it usually is. It also cleared up a lot after the upper falls. On our way back down it was much busier at Johnston Canyon. It is mostly an uphill incline the whole way. The last leg before you get to the Ink Pots is downhill. The Ink Pots were very cool to see. Even with the clouds and rain, you could still see the colour variations. We had lunch along the river and were totally secluded for the hour. The trail was quite a bit muddier on the way down. Some people were doing this in their running shoes but I would recommend hiking boots. Overall it is an absolutely beautiful forest hike with a stunning mountain meadow at the end.

hiking
4 days ago

The inkpots are always really awesome to see, as are the rest of the falls, but it's always super busy during the snow free months even if you go early.

hiking
muddy
rocky
5 days ago

We took our family on this hike today. Our kids range in age from 9-20. We started the hike around 7:30 and there was hardly anyone else on the trail. Such a beautiful hike. The hike is well maintained most of the way up to the upper falls. After the upper falls it is a climb! It’s a good trail but it was pretty muddy and rocky. The valley that the ink pots sit in is gorgeous. My kids loved the ink pots and said it was way cooler in real life than the pictures they had seen. It took us about 2 hours to reach the ink pots, with a few stops and picture taking, and about an hour and a half to get back down. On the way back there were a lot more people headed up and it was really congested when we got back to the trails for the falls. You definitely want to start this one early to beat the crowds.

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Trail too laid out and many people until the upper falls. Fewer people than Ink Pots. We were disappointed with this hike.

hiking
6 days ago

Once you get past the crowds of the Falls, it’s a great hike. Start early so you can get a spot in the parking lot!

hiking
muddy
6 days ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
6 days ago

Beautiful and secluded! Took about 3 hours start to finish and enjoyed every bit (once we got away from the traffic of the Upper Falls!) Great payoff and even saw a fox on the trail.

hiking
7 days ago

We did this on our recent trip to Canada. The first part very busy and we caught up with even more people when we returned. The favoured part of this hike therefore when we left behind upper falls and reached the ink pots

hiking
7 days ago

Extremely busy on the lower parts. Enjoy the people watching or you'll get frustrated. Once you get past the first two falls it gets way more peaceful. Absolutely worth getting all the way to the ink pots for a break and great view.

hiking
bugs
7 days ago

Good hike.. with beautiful canyon trail path.. too long of a hike to ink pot..

hiking
muddy
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

Would do again and the view at the end is stunning but I don't think the colors of the ink pots really differ from each other

hiking
10 days ago

We got here early setting out before 8am. There were a few groups but not too busy on the lower/upper falls. This section is paved a lot of the way and moves steadily uphill with great views of the canyon and river. We barely saw anyone on our way to the inkpots, it was almost eerie as the path was through dense forest and the mist was still blocking the sun. This section is not particularly interesting and quite long, but I think the view of The Valley opening out with a backdrop of huge mountains behind the inkpots is worth it! We stopped for about half an hour here to have a snack and just absorb the views. Absolutely beautiful! Don’t rush after spending so long getting there. Even by the time we left there were a lot more people so it is worth coming early. Including all photo and snack stops we took under 4hrs at a leisurely pace.

hiking
11 days ago

Nice trail! Well maintained with some shade. We arrived at the parking lot at 630/645 and had the trail almost to ourselves on the way up. The way back was very crowded- highly recommend coming early.

hiking
11 days ago

Great at end of September when the skinny trail is not so crowded.

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