Friday, June 7, 2024

June 7 – Johnson Canyon, Falls and Ink Pots

Today we did one of the toughest hikes that we have done in many years. Almost 12 km, about 1100 feet in elevation and according to Jennie’s pedometer 21000 steps.

The hike up Johnson canyon is the most popular hike in the park. We got there at about 9 am and the main parking lot was full and the second very large lot was about 1/4 full.

The canyon is narrow and deep. You have several options. It is 1.2 km to the lower falls, 2.4 km to the upper falls and 5.4 km to the Ink Pots.

It is a pretty constant steep climb the entire time.


Those big dips near the end were nice on the way in but a killer going back because we had had enough of climbing.

Because it is so popular the trail is very well maintained, up to the upper falls.. By far the majority of people do not go to the Ink Pots. 


In the canyon narrow spots the path is literally bolted to the wall.




There were some smaller falls on the way.


At the Lower Falls there is a walkway that give you a somewhat obstructed view of the falls.



To get closer you have to you have to go through that small tunnel that has a low ceiling. The viewing area on the other side can only hold about 4 people so everyone has to wait in line for their turn.

Here is a look at the viewing area from above.



Thankfully when we arrived there were only a few people ahead of us.




Here is the line of people waiting as we were going back in the afternoon. I assume that in the middle of summer it must be really insane.


Onwards and upwards towards the Upper Falls.


Another small falls.


Heading out to the lower viewing platform for the Upper Falls.


It didn't seem to go out far enough to give a completely unobstructed view.


The photosphere from here.

Then me doing a photosphere on the upper viewing platform for the Upper Falls.


Still a bit obstructed but there is a rainbow


And the photosphere.

Another nearby small falls.


Originally we were only going to this far and turn around but it was only 10:30. The description of the Ink Pots sounded interesting and hey it was only another 3 km.but what a 3 km it was.

Up to now the trails had been steep in places but smooth with that nice railing. Now it became rather rocky and rooty in places and just constantly steep. It was wearing on our soul to be climbing a steep section and round a corner up and up, to see it continue as far as you could see,


That final downhill was a nice rest but as I said it was a killer on the way back.

Most of the trail was in the forest with no views of much other than trees.

Then just at the end we broke into a wide mountain meadow.


I am not sure how to describe them but the Ink Pots are small pools of mineralized water that oozes up from the bottom so that pools have a nice blue green colour with rings on the bottom where the water is coming up. There are no gas bubbles and surprisingly the water is very cold.

Time for lunch with a great view.






Here is a close up of one spot. It almost looks like mud coming up but the new water is just shifting the mud around.




A photosphere.

The water flows into the nearby river.



And another photosphere from here.

After a long time resting our tired selves and staring at the pools and mountains we headed back.

After the uphill grind, we didn't dawdle on the LONG downhill. We were in “get me home” mode and it sure felt great to it in the car.

By now the sun was high enough to shine down in the canyon for some final shots.



Home and a nap.


  1. We did the Johnson Canyon hike with the boys back in the 90's. We went as far as the upper falls and decided against continuing to the ink pots. I always wondered what we had missed. Now we know, thanks to your persistence and great photos.

  2. 12 km and 1,100 feet in elevation! Well done you two! Love your lunch view - you earned it!!!!