With something for just about everyone, Johnston Canyon is not a place you will soon forget. Easy enough for a hike with the kids and extreme enough for some great ice climbing, it offers something for everyone year-round. Two impressive waterfalls greet you along this hike, Lower Johnston Canyon Falls and Upper Johnston Canyon Falls.
A nice catwalk has been built along the canyon walls to make it easily accessible, but this manmade addition does not take away from the beauty of the canyon in my opinion.
The first main attraction other than the canyon itself is the Lower Falls which is located just under a mile along this beautiful hike. The falls are approximately 60 feet in height and can be quite the view during the winter time when they are partiallly frozen. There is a viewing spot right in front of the falls that is located through a small cave-like tunnel that amazingly is a natural feature.
If you choose to continue on for about another mile, you will reach the near 100ft Upper Falls. These falls are absolutely amazing when visited in the colder months while they are still frozen. They also offer some great WI-4 ice-climbing. (I do not hardly know anything about ice-climbing so this page is mainly to describe the canyon and attractions. If anyone has some good information to add regarding the ice-climbing than please PM me, I will be glad to integrate it into the text.)
Johnston Canyon is located about 15 miles or 25 minutes west of the town of Banff or 22 miles east of Lake Louise just off the Bow Valley Parkway in the Province of Alberta.
There is no trail fees as far as I know. I was there in March of 2004 and no fees were required.
The trail is open year round as long as it is accessible.
Johnston Canyon Campground is open from June 4th to September 20th.
Johnston Canyon Campground is open from June 4th until September 20th, has showers and is $24 a night.
For more information please visit the National Parks Campgrounds Page
To make reservations please call 1-877-737-3783 or visit www.pccamping.ca
If hiking this canyon during winter months, crampons would be very helpful. My wife and I did this hike without crampons and it made it a little more interesting, although do-able in March. A sweater is a good addtion even in the warmer months since this canyon is almost 5000ft in altitude.
If anyone has more information regarding this canyon, especially about the ice climbing, please PM me and I will try to integrate it into the text.