Johnston Canyon Tours
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The jewel-blue water of Johnston Creek streams through the sheer-sided canyon, foaming white as it careens down waterfalls into pools below. A well-maintained trail—including a cliff-affixed walkway with incredible views—makes Johnston Canyon one of Banff National Park’s most accessible and beloved day hikes.
Coach tours from Banff and Calgary typically stop at Johnston Canyon and other beauty spots in the Canadian Rockies, such as Moraine Lake, Victoria Glacier, and Takakkaw Falls. While many travelers hike the trail independently in summer, in winter it’s better to go as part of a guided tour, as you’ll need special equipment to navigate the trail safely. Many multi-day excursions exploring Banff, Jasper, and Yoho national parks also visit the canyon.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The trail to Lower Falls is wide, paved, relatively easy, and accessible to wheelchairs.
- There are two viewing platforms at Upper Falls: one overlooking the bottom of the falls, and one at the top of the gorge looking out across the top of the falls.
- You’ll find restrooms at the parking lot, and a gift shop and restaurant in Johnston Canyon Resort (summer only).
How to Get There
Johnston Canyon is about a 30-minute drive from Banff along the Bow Valley Parkway. Buses run a seasonal route between Banff and Johnston Canyon. The trail starts behind Johnston Canyon Lodge.
When to Get There
The Johnston Canyon trail is one of the busiest in Banff. If you’re going in summer, prepare for crowds—the trail usually has fewer hikers before 9am and just before sunset. For a more serene experience, opt for a nighttime winter tour, when the frozen canyon is silent except for the sound of your footsteps on the snow.
Hiking at Johnston Canyon
Choose from several Johnston Canyon hikes. A round-trip walk to Lower Falls is about a mile (1.6 kilometers), with an elevation gain of around 164 feet (50 meters). The round-trip trek to Upper Falls is about 3 miles (5 kilometers)—the path gets steeper after Lower Falls. More experienced hikers might continue another 2 miles (3 kilometers) to the Ink Pots, shallow mineral springs bubbling to the surface in a high mountain meadow.
Address: Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta, Canada
5 Tours and Activities to Experience Johnston Canyon
Nature and Wildlife
Discover one of Banff National Park’s most popular hiking trails at night, without the fear of getting lost, during this small-group tour. Equipped with a headlight, explore Johnston Canyon with a guide leading the way, and marvel at shimmering frozen waterfalls and hike along a suspended catwalk. Then, take a break to warm up mid-route with hot chocolate and maple cookies.
Banff Old Town： The scenery of the mountains and rivers with the human history, and stroll through the caves and basins of the National Historic Site Fairmont Hotel Lunch： The high-quality ingredients, cooking method, exquisite display, and all the details, those can bring you to a delicate lunch. Bird’s Eye View of Banff： Take the 【Sulphur Mountain】Gondola for a panorama view of Banff at the altitude of 2900 ft. on the mountain.
Trek safely through Johnston Canyon in the winter, surrounded by frozen waterfalls and ice pillars, in the company of a guide. This half-day tour allows you to embark on an icy trek without worrying about safety issues or directions; your guide is with you the whole way. Listen to guided commentary on the canyon's formation and see fossils buried in the rocks, giving a window into the past. This moderately difficult hike includes cookies and hot chocolate to warm up with at the conclusion.
Nature and Wildlife
Classic 3-days guided tour exploring the popular sightseeing point in Rocky Mountain National Parks! ☆ Guaranteed 1-night stay at Banff Town and 1-night at Jasper Town ☆ Pick up from Calgary and Banff ☆ Closer to see the Columbia Icefield ☆ Professional local tour guide and driver
Attractions & Activities: ● Sulphur Mountain Gondola (Optional) ● Banff Town ● Johnston Canyon or Upgrade to Horseback Ride/Floating/Cruise ● Bow Falls ● Surprise Corner ● Hoodoos Experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies with a variety of 1-day tour. From the quaint mountainside town of Banff, to the must-visit natural attraction Johnston Canyon. Scope out the snow-dusted peaks, misty falls, and dramatic canyons around Banff as you explore this rugged slice of Alberta with an experienced guide. Snap photos of Johnston Canyon's limestone-carving creek, enjoy some leisure time in downtown Banff, Indulging with the sweeping views from Surprise Corner. You could also choose to upgrade to below fun activities, approx. 1 hour (please confirm with tour operator your choice after booking; admission fee will be applied; actvities are subject to availability and weather conditions), (#A) Bow River Floating (#B) Bow River Horseback Ride (#C) Banff Lake Minnewanka Cruise
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Johnston Canyon?
The best ways to experience Johnston Canyon are:
- Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk
- Classic Banff 1-Day Tour: Calgary, Banff, Sulphur Mountain, Johnston Canyon
- Johnston Canyon Icewalk from Banff
- Classic 3-Day Banff Sulphur Mountain Tour with Calgary & Banff Pick Up
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