Hiking and Camping adventures

Easy hikes near Banff: Johnston Canyon and Ink Pots

Johnston Canyon and Ink Pots is an extremely popular trail as it is an easy hike for families and everyone with varying fitness levels. Additionally, the narrow walkway can get a little jammed up when it’s crowded. We were there in late-September, 2018 and it was a beautiful walk through the falls.

The area is a key nesting site for the endangered black swifts and there are many signs around the trail which prohibit access to caves or areas which are close to where the endangered black swifts nest.

Also, do check trail conditions as some carparks and road access may be closed. There are some more recent comments on getting there on Alltrails which may be worth checking out.

Once you are there, I highly recommend a pit stop at the bathroom beginning of the trail where you start. Especially if you are thinking of doing a longer hike to Ink Pots. There weren’t any bathrooms along the trail, at least not when we were there.

The walk at Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots was about 12km in all out-and-back.
Beautiful falls greeted us as we meandered our way along the canyon

We continued on from the upper falls to Ink Pots and some sections of the trail can be muddy depending on when you go. It was very muddy when we were there as it had been raining. It is cooler around the canyons so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket, if you tend to feel cold easily.

The muddy trail to Ink Pots
Ink Pots coloured pools

The area is called Ink Pots due to the different coloured pools with water bubbling up from the ground, which creates swirls in the sand. The pools get their colours from the minerals in the water. It can be rather meditative just watching the pools fill.

At the Ink Pots
The mysterious scene at Ink Pots