The beautiful Johnston Canyon can be found along the Icefields Parkway, just about an 30 minutes drive from Banff. While you can make some truly long and arduous hikes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Johnston Canyon is for the masses. The simple, short and asphalted pathway won’t break you any sweat at all, but luckily the splendour of the canyon makes more than up on that.
If you look at the cover photo and the images below you get a sense of the type of path I’m talking about. Don’t bother with the tree in the middle image, unless you’re feeling adventurous. 😉
Walking to the end of Johnston Canyon and back will cost you some two hours of your time and in return you get a nice walk through one of the most beautiful canyons of Canada. An easy catch!
Below in the canyon runs the Bow River. After thousands of years of erosion the Bow River carved a truly stunning way through the rocks. Not only deep, but also with lots of waterfalls, tunnels and pools. At the end of the canyon (some two miles) you’ll reach the Upper Falls. On the platform you can get a stunning view of the falls. Be prepared to wait in line though. The platform is small and everyone carries a camera nowadays. 😉 But it’s really worth it, as you can see in our pictures.
If your legs need some more stretching you can walk even further to the Ink Pots in the Johnston Valley above the canyon. Those are six blue-green spring-fed pools in a lovely meadow. The extra two mile trail to the Johnston Valley is not hardened though and in some spots quite steep. So be prepared.
Because there’s all but one road through the Rockies (Icefields Parkway) you can’t miss Johnston Canyon. And even so, there are lots of signposts guiding you in the right direction. Being a bit of a tourist spot, there’s ample parking facility. Even on busy days. You’ll probably curse the hundreds of tourists ruining your view of the beautiful Johnston Canyon, as I did. But you’ll be equally glad to have seen this wonder of nature!