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The Final Information to Johnston Canyon (for 2023)

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Compiled by the Street Journey Alberta crew

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 very particular place to take a hike. The canyon is majestic to wander by alongside the elevated path platforms as Johnson Creek winds its manner by. And to be rewarded with waterfalls on the finish of the path is the icing on the cake. It’s probably the most standard issues to do in Banff Nationwide Park for good purpose and why we hold going again yr after yr.

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

Your Information to Johnston Canyon

How you can Get to Right here

Johnston Canyon is present in Banff Nationwide Park and is well probably the most standard 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 if you happen to’re driving or biking to Johnston Canyon.

That being stated, 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 cut back automobile site visitors and encourage biking. To succeed in Johnston Canyon, you too can take the Trans Canada Freeway to exit AB-93N (Citadel Junction) and switch proper onto the Bow Valley Parkway. You’ll discover it, roughly six kilometres south of Citadel Junction.

When you wouldn’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 car parking zone (P1) on the foremost trailhead. A smaller car parking zone (P2) is on the market close to the Johnston Canyon Campground.

Observe that the car parking zone fills up rapidly – particularly within the busy summer season months – so we advocate getting there as early as doable or taking a Roam Transit bus to keep away from parking altogether.

What Can You See

Johnston Canyon is a good looking 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 essentially the most well-known), it has so many issues to see.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score ROAM Artistic

It’s the right spot to benefit from the pure fantastic thing about Banff Nationwide Park, spend a while outside, and get in some gentle mountain climbing, too!

Decrease Falls

The simplest falls to entry (see under for info on the path), the Johnston Canyon Decrease Falls is among the most picturesque scenes in Banff Nationwide Park. With beautiful 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 important view from the bridge over Johnston Creek, you too can enter a small tunnel close by for a fair nearer take 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 info 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 singular view of the Higher Falls from above from the higher platform.

Ink Pots

In case you have the time to hike to the Johnston Canyon Ink Pots, we extremely advocate 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 PotsJohnston Canyon Ink Pots

The encompassing meadows make for a good looking view, so take the chance to remain some time, have a picnic, and luxuriate in your time outside. Observe that the springs are usually not for swimming, however you’ll be able to 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 purpose: the canyon is totally gorgeous! Fortunately, Johnston Canyon has a few of the simpler and extra accessible trails in Banff Nationwide Park; we’ve even included the paths on our listing of the finest hikes in Banff.

Johnston Canyon TrailJohnston Canyon Trail

Every Johnston Canyon hike under has the identical trailhead and begins with a stroll by the forest earlier than you attain the canyon itself, and as these are all out-and-back trails that start on the similar level, you’ll be able to select how far you go and if you flip round. All the Johnston Canyon trails are open year-round, so think about mountain climbing or snowshoeing them in winter!

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

Decrease Falls Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Decrease Falls hike is the simplest of the mountain climbing trails listed right here, with an elevation achieve of 143 metres and a size of two.3 kilometres. That is the right hike if you happen to’re brief on time, because it typically 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 finest to go to as early as doable.

Higher Falls Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Higher Falls hike is a straightforward to average 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 mountain climbing expertise. This out-and-back hike takes you to Higher Falls and again for a complete of 5.3 kilometres; plan for no less than two hours to finish the hike and benefit from the beautiful views.

Picture by way of Journey Alberta credit score ROAM Artistic

This specific Johnston Canyon path is extraordinarily standard with vacationers. We extremely advocate visiting as early within the morning as doable to keep away from crowds.

Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots Climbing Path

The Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots Climbing Path is a average 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, a lot 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 TrailJohnston Canyon Ink Pots Trail

One factor to notice: when you begin your manner again from the Ink Pots, be sure you retrace your footsteps. One other mountain climbing path – Moose Meadows – intersects the Ink Pots path, however that descent will lead you to a different car 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 CoveredJohnston Canyon Snow Covered

Simply make sure that to put on correct footwear, as the realm may be very slippery with ice (we advocate sporting grips or spikes together with your boots).

Johnston Canyon Ice ClimberJohnston Canyon Ice Climber

Many individuals snowshoe alongside the paths in the course of the winter, in order that’s additionally an choice! And if you happen to’re feeling additional adventurous, some tour corporations in Banff will take you mountain climbing up the falls after 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 mountain 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-Could by mid-September and is on the market for tents and small RVs (as much as 27 ft). Whereas there are 132 websites, reservations are extremely beneficial. Some facilities embrace ingesting 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 incredible technique to spend as a lot time right here as doable whereas being near each Banff and Lake Louise.


Listed as one in every of our favorite cabins in Banff, the Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows is a historic resort that provides quite a lot of cabin leases, from rustic one-room cabins to trendy two-bedroom suites.

Johnston Canyon Lodge and BungalowsJohnston 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

When you’d relatively lodging within the Banff townsite to have just a few extra facilities (together with quick access to retailers and eating places), there are lots of locations to remain in Banff.

Banff TownsiteBanff Townsite
Downtown Banff

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

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