The Ink Pots

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  • Above the falls, the trail is quite pretty!- The Ink Pots
  • Looking up the walkway on the way to the falls.- The Ink Pots
  • The view down Johnston Creek.- The Ink Pots
  • The first view of the Ink Pots after a descent from the forest.- The Ink Pots
  • A smaller waterfall above the main falls.- The Ink Pots
  • A view out into the center of the Johnston Creek valley.- The Ink Pots
  • The brilliant colors of the pools are hard to believe!- The Ink Pots
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Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views in the basin. Unique formation.
Cons: 
Congestion through Johnston Canyon.
Region:
Banff + Yoho, AB
Congestion: 
Moderate
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Permits required at some State Park, National Forest, and National Park Service trailheads
Total Distance: 
11.59 km (7.20 mi)
Trailhead Elev.: 
1,430 m (4,692 ft)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,645 m (5,397 ft)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
No

Current Local Weather

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Today

Light snow (under 1 in.) in the morning and afternoon.
32°F
21°

Thu

Flurries in the morning.
25°F

Fri

Light snow overnight.
26°F

Sat

Light snow in the morning.
27°F

Sun

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
26°F

Mon

Partly cloudy starting in the evening.
24°F

Tue

Partly cloudy until evening.
27°F
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Ink Pots are a wild spectacle of intense blue and green pools of water in a spectacular basin. They are well worth the hike out and back! Named after a well of pen ink, these small pools are cold water springs that are tinted vibrant shades by the minerals in the water. The pools are 4 degrees Celsius year round.

Beginning at the Johnston Canyon Resort, follow the trail up to the falls. The path will alternate between a dirt trail and elevated walkways. These can be very crowded in the summer, and patience is often required as some people block the path with photography gear.

After 2.7 kilometers of slow uphill meandering you will arrive at the falls. Make sure to break for a minute, as the view is breathtaking. Check out both the upper and lower viewing platform to see the falls in their full beauty. 

Continue on the path past the falls keeping right at the junction for the Ink Pots. Follow the trail as it narrows, keeping straight. The trail is very well maintained and is impossible to lose. 

After 5.3 kilometers into the hike the route begins to descend and you'll leave the forest. Continue following the trail to the basin, where you'll find the Ink Pots strewn between frequently-walked paths. If you are underwhelmed by the unique springs, hopefully the views from Johnston Creek will cheer you up.

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Adventures

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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