Johnston Canyon: Exploring the Breathtaking Waterfalls and Canyons of Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon is a breathtaking hiking destination located in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Known for its stunning waterfalls, beautiful rock formations, and crystal-clear streams, Johnston Canyon is a must-see destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

History and Development

Johnston Canyon has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s when it was first discovered by early explorers and mountaineers. Over the years, the area has been protected and preserved as part of Banff National Park, with hiking trails and visitor facilities developed to allow visitors to experience the area’s natural beauty while minimizing their impact on the fragile ecosystem.

Trail Description

The Johnston Canyon trail is a 6.7 km (4.2 mile) round-trip hike that follows the Johnston Creek as it winds through the scenic canyon. The trail is well-maintained and relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

The first section of the trail follows a series of catwalks and bridges suspended over the canyon, providing breathtaking views of the rushing water below. As hikers continue up the canyon, they will pass several stunning waterfalls, including the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls, which are particularly impressive.

Beyond the Upper Falls, the trail continues up the canyon to the Ink Pots, a series of colorful mineral springs that bubble up from the ground. The Ink Pots are a unique and fascinating natural phenomenon that provides a glimpse into the geological forces that shaped the Canadian Rockies.

Tips for Hiking Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is a popular hiking destination, and the trail can get busy during peak season. Here are some tips to help make your hike a success:

  • Plan ahead: Johnston Canyon is accessible year-round, but the trail can be icy and treacherous in the winter months. It’s important to check trail conditions before heading out and to come prepared with appropriate gear, including ice cleats or crampons.
  • Arrive early: The trailhead can get busy, so it’s best to arrive early in the day to secure a parking spot and avoid the crowds.
  • Dress appropriately: The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for a range of temperatures and conditions. Dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks: The hike is relatively easy, but it can take several hours, so it’s important to stay hydrated and energized.
  • Stay on the trail: The trail is well-marked, so it’s important to stay on the trail to avoid getting lost and to protect the delicate ecosystem.


Johnston Canyon is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Banff National Park. With its stunning waterfalls, beautiful rock formations, and crystal-clear streams, Johnston Canyon offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a novice adventurer, Johnston Canyon is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

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