The trails to the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon are an extremely popular day hike and quite possibly the busiest you’ll find in Banff National Park. It takes about half a day, and is perfect for families of all levels of fitness.
It’s broken up into three main hikes. You can hike the trails to Lower Johnston Falls (1.1 km or 0.5 miles), to Upper Johnston Falls (2.6 km or 1.5 miles), or continue on the trail to the Ink Pots which is roughly an additional 3km or 1.8miles. There are also a number of longer hikes that continue on from the upper falls that are suitable for backcountry camping.
Tips For Your Hike:
– Dress in layers, even in the summer months it can be chilly
– Pack water and snacks for your hike
– Use the restroom before you begin. There are only public restrooms at the entrance
– There is a cute little café and ice cream stand as you begin or end the hike. The maple walnut ice cream cone makes for an excellent end to the hike. 😉
Trail to Lower Johnston Falls
The 2.6km or 1.5-mile hike out to Lower Johnston Falls is relatively flat and easy. Throughout the majority of the hike there is a man-made catwalk for safety and easy access for walking along the sides of the canyon.
As you approach the lower falls, you’ll see a bridge where you can cross across the creek for closer views of the falls.
You’ll walk through a short cave for views of the falls. Be careful because it is quite slippery and your camera equipment will get misted.
Trails to Upper Johnston Falls
Hiking to the upper falls is a bit of a steeper climb than the lower falls. This hike consists more of forest and woods than the lower falls.
There are two viewing areas to see the upper falls. The first is the bottom of the falls where there is a catwalk for better viewing. Careful with your camera equipment as you’re likely to get wet here.
The second is the top of the falls. There are several lookout spots where you can look out at the falls as the water plunges down below.
Trail to the Ink Pots
Tip: It’s best to have sturdier footwear for this trail
The additional 3km or 1.8-mile hike to the ink pots was my favorite part of the entire hike! If you didn’t know (because I didn’t!) the Ink Pots are a group of crystal-clear, jade-green spring-fed pools of water. They’re beautiful and located in the meadows above the creek. To get to them, the trail is steeper and tougher, making it a more remote and secluded experience. There might be times when no one else is on the trail with you, but don’t worry about getting lost, the path is clearly laid out.
The trail will open up to a beautiful meadow, with the Ink Pots scattered throughout. The valley between the mountain ridges is stunning, and you can see where the creek runs through the valley.
If you have any questions or lovely comments, please leave them below – I would love to answer!