Paint Pots

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
2.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
38 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of Paint Pots hike in Kootenay National Park, the Canadian Rockies

The Paint Pots hike in Kootenay National Park is a great hike to do with your kids. Located a 40-minute drive from the town of Banff, this is a picturesque walk for those who want great views without all the effort. The yellow pools are an interesting site to see and were culturally significant to the aboriginals in the area.

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Route Description for Paint Pots

The Paint Pots hike in Kootenay National Park is a popular trail in summer, so it’s best to try to get there early in the day. This allows you to avoid the crowds, and also allows you to combine the Paint Pots hike with another hike in Kootenay National Park. You can also do this as an end-of-day hike, and enjoy the pretty light and cool evening air.14

The Paint Pots hike begins at the Paint Pots trailhead, just off of Highway 93S, also known as the Banff - Windemere Hwy. The trail is well signed and the first half down to the bridge over the Kootenay River is very wide, and we think it is stroller friendly.

As you descend to the bridge over the Kootenay River, you can enjoy stunning views, and this is a great place to get a family photo. Children also enjoy going down by the shore to throw stones in the river, but we would not recommend allowing kids to wade in the river, as it could be fast-moving and it is most definitely very cold.

Once over the bridge the trail to Paint Pots changes, and you start walking on orange ground. In early summer, the contrast of green grass and orange ground is striking.

Early settlers mined the area early in the 1900’s, and some of the equipment is still here. Continue along the path and ascend a short slope that borders a small orange river and come to some small, multi-colored pools. The paint pots.

Take your time exploring the area and taking in the colorful clay soil, turned into painting pots by an underwater spring. Once you are ready to leave, turn around and head back to your car along the same route.

Find other great hikes in Kootenay National Park:

Insider Hints for Paint Pots

  • Combine the Paint Pots hike with a hike to Marble Canyon.
  • A great day trip from Banff is to drive from Banff to Radium, with stops along the way such as the Paint Pots hike. Once in Radium, you can enjoy a dip in to Radium Hot Springs or if it’s a hot day drive the 15 minutes to Invermere, where the public Kinsmen Beach is very nice for families.

Getting to the Paint Pots Trailhead

From Banff get on the Trans Canada Hwy/AB - 1W for about 30.0 km to Castle Junction, and then take the exit for the 93S signed for Radium Hot Springs. Follow the 93S for about 20.0 km until you reach the Paint Pots Trailhead on your right.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June to September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Paint Pots Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Paint Pots Reviews

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