Hiking through Johnston Canyon to the Ink Pots in Banff NP - Canada

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The first day of our second holiday in Canada the weather is a bit disappointing. It is dry, but the beautiful scenery of Banff National Park is buried under thick clouds. During the day the weather should clear so the owners of our B&B recommended us to hike in Johnston Canyon. However, they advise us to go immediately after breakfast to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park. It is a popular attraction in Banff National Park, and is often very busy.

After breakfast we drive from Canmore to Johnston Canyon. We park our car on a very large, empty parking lot. We pack our backpacks and go hiking. The first part of the hike through the Johnston Canyon is a good paved road. The Canyon is a very nice to walk even in cloudy weather. We walk to the small waterfalls to a small viewpoint in Johnston Canyon. There are still a not a lot of tourists so we have time to relax and to enjoy the views of the Canyon.

Soon we arrived at the end of the Johnston Canyon. There is a footpath to the Ink Pots which 3 kilometers further. We decide to walk the dirt road up to the Ink Pots. The trail is fairly steep, but it is not really annoying to walk. The road is certainly very good. Along the way we come across a student who asks us to bear our experiences during walks and what precautions we take to get any bears while hiking. We fill in a questionnaire for the student, have a chat and then walk on to the Ink Pots.

At Ink Pots we enjoy the bubbling water coming out of the ground and see some nice round paintings in water. In addition, there are a lot of benches at the Ink Pots, so we take our time to enjoy the area. The trail goes still further, but we decide that this is the end of our walk. We walk back through Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park to our car. On our way back one after another tourist asks us how far the Ink Pots are. The one we make happy, the other is be disappointed. With a GPS you can tell people exactly how far it still is, and that is not always the answer they want to hear. Back at the car, we are amazed by the amount of cars in the parking lot and along the road. So it was no joke of the owners of the B&B!

This walk through Johnston Canyon and the Ink Pots in Banff National Park is a popular walk. It is advisable to start early if you do not want to park along the road. The walk is very accessible and has lots of beautiful views over the Johnston Canyon and the Ink Pots.

Length: 12 km
Height difference: about 300 meters

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