Location Details: 

  • Directions: 10 minute drive northeast of Banff. Take Banff Ave east out of the town, past the intersection with the Trans-Canada Hwy (Hwy 1). Just past the highway overpass on the left is a dirt pulloff for the Cascade Mountain waterfall hike. Continuing past there take the second road to the right onto Minnewanka Loop Rd. Follow this until the road splits and take the right fork to Johnson Lake (look for the signs) 
  • Latitude / Longitude: 51.198309 / 115.4888

Johnson Lake Hiking Details:

  • Distance / Time: Average 45 minute
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Trail Type: Loop. Dirt trail.
  • Notes: Water and restrooms only at trailhead

Cascade Mountain Waterfall Hiking Details:

  • Distance / Time: Average 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Moderate
  • Trail Type: Out and back. Dirt trail
  • Notes: No facilities, not a formally maintained trail

Description: 

Johnson Lake is part of the Minnewanka Loop area northeast of Banff. It's very easy to get to, and a nice place to visit a large lake in close proximity to the town of Banff (Vermillion Lakes is another nice lake close to Banff, but not with a real hiking trail around it. Click here for that travel article,) Once at the parking area you have the option of just enjoying the lake on the large grassy area at the lake entrance, or taking a nice stroll around the lake itself. The hike is a nice way to see all perspectives of Johnson  Lake; the trail itself is easily traveled and a nice way to stretch your legs. On the far east side of the lake you'll be rewarded with a wonderful view of Cascade Mountain dominating the western skyline. The mountain itself is absolutely beautiful in its own right, towering rock walls shaped like a crown, and with Johnson Lake in the foreground only much more so.

Cascade Mountain waterfall is a tall slender falls dropping hundreds of feet down the eastern side of Cascade Mountain. You'll actually be able to see it from the road near the intersection of the Trans-Canada Hwy and Banff Ave. For the more adventuresome, park in the dirt pulloff and make the hike to the base of the falls. Since it's not a maintained trail, it's a bit primitive in places; be prepared for scree and loose rock here. That combined with a decent elevation gain once you hit the treeline makes this a moderately difficult hike to the base of the falls.

Pictures:

#1: Johnson Lake and Cascade Mountain

Lake Johnson and Cascade Mtn

#2: Johnson Lake and Cascade Mountain

Lake Johnson and Cascade Mtn

 

#3: Cascade Mountain Falls

 

 Cascade Mtn Falls

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