Ink Pots Hiking Trail

Ink Pots Hiking Trail, Banff National Park: Address, Phone Number, Ink Pots Hiking Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Ink Pots Hiking Trail
4.5
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Top ways to experience Ink Pots Hiking Trail
The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Restaurants
129 within 5 kms
Attractions
38 within 5 kms
Popular mentions

4.5
117 reviews
Excellent
57
Very good
47
Average
11
Poor
2
Terrible
0

CWT
293 contributions
Good hike
Oct 2020
As per suggestions, we booked lunch at the Blackswift Bistro so that we could drive to the trailhead via Castle Junction. We got there at 9 and were the first ones there so we had the place to ourselves. The path is only 1 person wide at points so social distancing is not always possible. The path to the Upper Falls is paved and the views are beautiful. We continued on to the Ink Pots Beyond the falls, the path is a trail through the woods. It ascends for ¾ of the way and then descends to the Ink Pots. These were smaller than I expected but still interesting. There are panels explaining the pots. If you look closely, you can see the water bubbling up.
Written 19 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KellyNagle
426 contributions
Ink Pots via Moose Meadows - November
Nov 2019 • Couples
We took the quiet way to Ink Pots via Moose Meadows (parking lot about 1.5km past Johnston Canyon parking lot if coming from Banff.) We were first up on the trail at 11am (haha) and had lovely fresh snow to press our boots into. There were so many fresh deer and elk tracks our eyes were darting around the forest looking for the track layers and before long we came up on 2 giant elk, their fur an orangey brown velvet against the snowy grey air and dark spindly tree trunks. We stared at each other for a few moments then gave a holler for them to know we were heading that way. They trotted off and disappeared into the woods in seconds. Amazing to hide such a large creature so easily.

The trail was very easy to start then became a more sweaty incline as you approached the connection with the Johnston Canyon trail line. As we neared the destination, the grey sky turned blue and the sun lit up the frosty peaks for one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen.

You’ll get cold wandering around the ink pots because you are sweaty and the wind dances through the valley. Bring a dry shirt to change into if you’re having lunch there. There are a few benches.

The color of the ink pots is best viewed in summer. The low angle of the sun in winter penetrates and makes the pools look much darker than the brilliant blues and greens displayed in summer. The surrounding views are best viewed in a clear winter day.
Written 9 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

travel8285
Anacortes, WA14 contributions
Ink pots trail Banff National Park
Sep 2019 • Couples
Very easy hike. Good for children. Not for experienced hiker. Lots of red dirt and water. Interesting for children but not for adults. No pots. Pools of red water. A few antiques scattered mainly old machinery. Met some nice people on hike. Wasn’t crowded. Wouldn’t do again.
Written 26 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Robert H
Calgary, Canada149 contributions
Take the path less-travelled....
Aug 2019
Johnston Canyon is one of the Banff area's most beautiful hikes and perhaps its worst kept secret. For that reason during the summer the hike is usually foot to heel with other hikers. Beautiful waterfalls but packed. This results in the parking lot filling up early and then parking by the side of the road for 1-2 km's in both directions from the lot. Not ideal.

Less well-known is that if you want to hike to the Ink Pots, and are willing to skip the waterfalls, there is an alternate trail which is far far less utilized. Just drive past the Johnston Canyon parking lot for 2-3 km's and pull into the lot at Moose Meadows. There is only parking for 2 dozen cars but there on a very busy holiday weekend Sunday, we found the lot 2/3rd's full, compared to hundreds of cars at Johnston Canyon.

The hike to the Ink Pots is 5.9 km out and another 5.9 km back. The first third is in dense forest with a narrow trail. The trial then links up with a broader trail with some sun. Turn left and note how it looks for your return trip. A km further on it links with the Johnston Canyon trail but above the second falls, when 90% of the crowd has turned back.The hike is uphill for about 4.5 km from the trailhead and then downhill for the remainder. It obviously reverses for the trip back. Roughly 1:45 hours up and 1.30 back, with short stops. Pack water and at least a snack for the top. Wild Flower Bakery in Banff is really good for sandwiches if you want to pack a lunch. Remember, whatever you take up you need to pack out.

The Ink Pots are interesting and the beautiful turquoise you get from the minerals in glacier fed lakes. Nearby Johnston Creek is frigid, shallow and rapid, but wading feels good after the climb, if you're careful on slippery rocks. Up stream a couple of hundred yards there is a rudimentary bridge, so explore for a while. Fantastic views up and down stream and the wild flowers in the summer are beautiful. Dogs can use the trail as well, but on leash.

The Johnston Canyon falls are beautiful, but I enjoyed the Moose Mountain route much more, as we actually got our day in the wilderness. Enjoy.
Written 6 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter v
Sauk City, WI12 contributions
Cool hike!
Aug 2019
We did the Johnston Canyon (Upper Falls) hike and decided to keep going. The first part of Johnston Canyon is covered in tourists. But once you get beyond the falls, you start to lose a chunk of the crowds. I believe The Ink Pots were another 2400 km beyond the upper falls. We packed in lunch after after getting to the Ink Pots, we sat next to the stream and ate. The springs have a very rich and cool color to them. The water was frigid, but felt great on our feet after hiking so far! Worth the hike!
Written 5 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TexasFedFan
4 contributions
Beautiful waterfalls
Jun 2019
We hiked 8 miles round trip to the Ink Pots. The trail is well groomed, but not for the weak at heart. The waterfalls along the way were awesome. Be sure to arrive early, because the trail gets very crowded at the beginning.
Written 17 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter B
Calgary, Canada606 contributions
Very, very popular...and for good reason !
Jun 2019 • Friends
Accessible to most able bodied folk and close to Banff townsite so a great place to enjoy a unique Rocky Mountain walk (not a "trail" until you pass the Upper Falls and head up to the Ink Pots....semi-asphalt pathway sections, stairs, and metal boardwalk have been around for ages). Gear-wise, all you need are sturdy shoes (and always some water on a hot day!). Several pathway sections are narrow so on a busy day passage can be a little slow. Not a great place for strollers etc. In peak season, arrive very early or late afternoon as parking is limited and controlled by park staff.
Written 26 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

smurf2014
Duchess, Canada90 contributions
Chasing Waterfalls - stunning
Jun 2019 • Family
There is a reason why this is a busy and a top rated hike/walk. Simply beautiful - rushing water, gorgeous mountains, paved pathway and fairly easy. Last half is more of a hike and crowds definitely thin out. Must do - can't believe I waited so long - will return. Took shuttle from Banff as no RV parking up there. Simple and relaxing after our hike.
Written 24 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

IsidoreH90
Singapore, Singapore618 contributions
A hike worth the effort
Jun 2019 • Couples
Really great hike from Johnston Canyon. Took about 2-3 hours to get here. A great site for photos with number of pools, a river and a mountainous backdrop.

Really recommend to bring food and water for a picnic. There are benches to rest before the hike back to Johnston Canyon. Remember to take your trash with you.
Written 19 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nicola G
Llangollen, UK23 contributions
Busy, busy, busy walk - but worth it.
Dec 2018 • Family
OK - it's not natural - it's a very well-built walk-way that lets you see some great sights especially in the winter.

We hired crampons which worked really well, Saw plenty of trainer-footed fools sliding down it on their backside which amused us. We walked up late on, 1500h, and still encountered plenty of unfit, camera touting tourists coming down, but as we climbed higher it thinned out and we were practically last down in the dark which was magical. You don't need to use a torch, infact you're better off using the snow to see the route so as not to wreck your night vision. But, have one or use your mobile for an emergency.

It's a free trip, so do it, but leave early, or really late.
Written 5 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 106
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing