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The Final Information to Johnston Canyon (for 2023)

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Compiled by the Highway Journey Alberta group

Final up to date on October 23, 2023

No matter time of yr we go to Banff Nationwide Park, a visit to Johnston Canyon occurs. It’s a extremely particular place to take a hike. The canyon is majestic to wander via alongside the elevated path platforms as Johnson Creek winds its manner via. And to be rewarded with waterfalls on the finish of the path is the icing on the cake. It’s one of the crucial widespread issues to do in Banff Nationwide Park for good motive and why we maintain going again yr after yr.

Johnston Canyon in Winter
Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score Paul Zizka

Your Information to Johnston Canyon

The way to Get to Right here

Johnston Canyon is present in Banff Nationwide Park and is definitely one of the crucial widespread spots within the park. The doorway to the canyon, together with the Johnston Canyon Trailhead, is off of the Bow Valley Parkway about 25 kilometres north of Banff en path to Lake Louise. It’s well-marked, so that you shouldn’t miss it for those who’re driving or biking to Johnston Canyon.

That being mentioned, there may be at the moment a three-year pilot program (from 2022 to 2024) the place sections of the Bow Valley Parkway are closed to vehicles to scale back automobile visitors and encourage biking. To achieve Johnston Canyon, you can too take the Trans Canada Freeway to exit AB-93N (Fortress Junction) and switch proper onto the Bow Valley Parkway. You’ll discover it, roughly six kilometres south of Fortress Junction.

In the event you don’t have your personal automobile, Roam Transit presents buses to Johnston Canyon from Banff. There are additionally a number of tour corporations that supply transportation right here.


Fortunately, there may be free parking at Johnston Canyon, and also you’ll discover an enormous parking zone (P1) on the principal trailhead. A smaller parking zone (P2) is obtainable close to the Johnston Canyon Campground.

Word that the parking zone fills up shortly – particularly within the busy summer time months – so we suggest getting there as early as attainable or taking a Roam Transit bus to keep away from parking altogether.

What Can You See

Johnston Canyon is a ravishing spot to discover in Banff Nationwide Park. With elevated pathways alongside the canyon partitions, lush forest and greenery, and quite a few waterfalls alongside Johnston Creek (Higher Falls and Decrease Falls being probably the most well-known), it has so many issues to see.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score ROAM Artistic

It’s the proper spot to benefit from the pure fantastic thing about Banff Nationwide Park, spend a while outdoor, and get in some mild climbing, too!

Decrease Falls

The best falls to entry (see under for data on the path), the Johnston Canyon Decrease Falls is among the most picturesque scenes in Banff Nationwide Park. With attractive turquoise water, mighty falls, and inexperienced foliage surrounding you, take within the views from the bridges and viewing platforms alongside the best way.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score Paul Zizka

Whereas there’s an excellent view from the bridge over Johnston Creek, you can too enter a small tunnel close by for a good nearer have a look at the Decrease Falls. Simply be ready to get moist from the waterfall’s spray!

Higher Falls

The Johnston Canyon Higher Falls are farther from the Decrease Falls, requiring extra strolling time (see under for extra data on the hike to Higher Falls).

Picture by way of Banff Lake Louise Tourism credit score ROAM Artistic

When you attain the Higher Falls, there are two viewing platforms; the decrease platform is smaller and tends to get fairly crowded, whereas the higher platform has more room. You additionally get a novel view of the Higher Falls from above from the higher platform.

Ink Pots

If in case you have the time to hike to the Johnston Canyon Ink Pots, we extremely suggest it. These small mineral springs change color barely all year long, however you’re positive to fall in love with their vibrant blues and greens immediately.

Johnston Canyon Ink Pots

The encompassing meadows make for a ravishing view, so take the chance to remain some time, have a picnic, and luxuriate in your time outdoor. Word that the springs will not be for swimming, however you may cool off within the close by Johnston Creek.

Greatest Johnston Canyon Hikes

“Hike Johnston Canyon” is on many individuals’s bucket lists, and for good motive: the canyon is completely gorgeous! Fortunately, Johnston Canyon has a number of the simpler and extra accessible trails in Banff Nationwide Park; we’ve even included the paths on our record of the greatest hikes in Banff.

Johnston Canyon Trail

Every Johnston Canyon hike under has the identical trailhead and begins with a stroll via the forest earlier than you attain the canyon itself, and as these are all out-and-back trails that start on the identical level, you may select how far you go and whenever you flip round. All the Johnston Canyon trails are open year-round, so take into account climbing or snowshoeing them in winter!

Canine are welcome to hitch you when climbing Johnston Canyon, however they have to be leashed. Keep in mind: that is nonetheless thought of bear nation, so take each precaution crucial.

Decrease Falls Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Decrease Falls hike is the simplest of the climbing trails listed right here, with an elevation achieve of 143 metres and a size of two.3 kilometres. That is the proper hike for those who’re quick on time, because it usually solely takes about an hour.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score ROAM Artistic

The path is totally paved, however be warned: it turns into jam-packed because the day goes on in peak season, so it’s greatest to go to as early as attainable.

Higher Falls Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Higher Falls hike is a simple to reasonable hike with an elevation achieve of 270 metres. Many sections of the hike are paved, together with bridges you cross, so it’s manageable for most individuals, regardless of their climbing expertise. This out-and-back hike takes you to Higher Falls and again for a complete of 5.3 kilometres; plan for at the very least two hours to finish the hike and benefit from the attractive views.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score ROAM Artistic

This explicit Johnston Canyon path is extraordinarily widespread with vacationers. We extremely suggest visiting as early within the morning as attainable to keep away from crowds.

Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots Climbing Path is a reasonable hike with an elevation achieve of 579 metres. This out-and-back path is roughly 11 kilometres and can take round 4 hours to finish.

When you get to the Higher Falls, proceed on the path to the Ink Pots. Fortunately, many of the crowds skinny out when you hike previous Higher Falls, so this part is the quietest of the Johnston Canyon hikes.

Johnston Canyon Ink Pots Trail

One factor to notice: when you begin your manner again from the Ink Pots, ensure you retrace your footsteps. One other climbing path – Moose Meadows – intersects the Ink Pots path, however that descent will lead you to a different parking zone.

Visiting in Winter

Whereas we love visiting Johnston Canyon within the winter as it’s simply as stunning because the in the summertime! Seeing the frozen waterfalls is an impressive sight, and since there aren’t as many vacationers within the canyon in winter, you’ll usually have moments to your self on the paths.

Johnston Canyon Snow Covered

Simply be sure to put on correct footwear, as the world may be very slippery with ice (we suggest carrying grips or spikes together with your boots).

Johnston Canyon Ice Climber

Many individuals snowshoe alongside the paths through the winter, in order that’s additionally an choice! And for those who’re feeling additional adventurous, some tour corporations in Banff will take you mountaineering up the falls once they’re frozen over.

The place to Keep

Tenting in Johnston Canyon

Positioned on the Bow Valley Parkway, the Johnston Canyon campground is instantly throughout from the primary climbing trailhead. It additionally has a Roam Transit cease for simple entry to the remainder of Banff Nationwide Park. It’s normally open from mid-Might via mid-September and is obtainable for tents and small RVs (as much as 27 toes). Whereas there are 132 websites, reservations are extremely advisable. Some facilities embody consuming water, flush bogs, showers, cooking and picnic shelters, and hearth pits.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score Parks Canada

Tenting in Johnston Canyon is a unbelievable solution to spend as a lot time right here as attainable whereas being near each Banff and Lake Louise.


Listed as one among our favorite cabins in Banff, the Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows is a historic resort that gives a wide range of cabin leases, from rustic one-room cabins to fashionable two-bedroom suites.

Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows
Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows – picture by way of

All cabins and bungalows include fireplaces and personal balconies or patios, and so they’re additionally pet-friendly.

Banff Townsite

In the event you’d somewhat lodging within the Banff townsite to have a number of extra facilities (together with easy accessibility to outlets and eating places), there are a lot of locations to remain in Banff.

Banff Townsite
Downtown Banff

From luxurious resorts to budget-friendly hostels, Banff and the encircling space have all of it… and Johnston Canyon is just a brief drive or bus trip away!

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