Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park: Address, Phone Number, Johnston Canyon Reviews: 4.5/5

Johnston Canyon
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Scenic wooded canyon with trails for hiking and biking.
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2,505 reviews
Very good

Paul T
Rowde, UK224 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
This was one of the things we wanted to do before we flew to Canada for skiing. Discover Banff Tours said they would pick us up at 15:15hrs outside the hotel, and true to their word they did. A tall younger chap with full beard and curling moustache got out of the minibus and introduced himself as Andrew who would be our guide for the afternoon.

When we got into the vehicle he explained he had to pickup other clients and then he would make proper introductions, explain what would happen and what we would see; he then went through the health and safety aspects of the tour.
We arrived at Johnston Canyon at 15:30hrs and we de-bussed and Andrew handed out spikes for everyone to attach to their boots.

He also had telescopic walking sticks for those that wanted them. We set out at a very leisurely pace along the canyon path along side. It is worth while putting the spikes on as the amount of people coming back and sliding all over the place who did not have any proved the point.

On the way to the canyon Andrew had told us how he had come originally from Cambridge in the UK to be a Snowboard instructor but had found it was not that well paid. He had taken up guiding, but had had to learn Geology and other sciences and skills to be able to take us around the canyon. Andrew was very knowledgable and very keen to share his knowledge of the canyon and it’s make up. At various stages he would stop and point out things and how they were formed and time scale.

At the upper falls he broke out a flask of got chocolate and Maple cream cookies for everyone to enjoy while we all did our photos.
There is only one word to describe what we saw ‘Spectacular’ we are so glad we took time off skiing to come and see it.

Andrew got us back to the minibus and back to our hotel and was a very helpful and friendly guy and guide.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew R
11 contributions
May 2022
I have done the Johnston Canyon hike before, but only the first few km and not all the way to the ink pots. My first and most important advice is GO EARLY!! We arrived about 8:00 AM and got the an optimal parking spot. There were maybe only 5 other cars here. Because of this, the first part of the hike was very enjoyable as there was no one else on the boardwalks. We did not have to wait to view the waterfalls, we got a ton of pictures, and it was nice to leisurely walk and enjoy. The remainder hike to the inkpots was also very quiet. The trail did get pretty snowy near the end which we did not anticipate, but we are more leisure hikers when we are visiting. Nonetheless, the views at the end is worth it and were very cool (different than what I expected, but in a good way). On our way back it was very very busy and there were line ups at the waterfall lookouts and it was crowded on the boardwalks (this was around 12). The parking lot was full. It was not as enjoyable on the way back as such. Hence why I would recommend going early. The whole thing to the inkpots and back took us about 4.5 hours and was 10.5 kms. We are not seasoned hikers and we probably could of shaved 30 - 45 mins off of that but we stopped to take a lot of pictures.
Written May 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

East Sussex, UK100 contributions
Sep 2019
We arrived early at Johnston Canyon as its very popular, which means the car park fills up quickly. It was a grey damp day, but it didn’t matter in the canyon, the pretty waterfalls, clear water and green moss make beautiful photographs. Being older folk, we puffed a bit going up, stopping for a breather every now and again, to the upper falls and back took us 2.5 to 3 hours. Don’t miss this place if you’re in the Banff area.
Written April 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Samuel K
Manitoba, Canada177 contributions
Mar 2022 • Family
My family and I enjoyed hiking Johnston Canyon. The views were amazing. It was still icy out when we went, so I recommend using ice cleats, which we thankfully had with us. We also hiked up to the Ink Pots after Johnston Canyon.
Written April 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Winnipeg, Canada1,598 contributions
Sep 2020 • Couples
Right from the parking lot and to the upper falls, this trail was just beautiful at every turn. From the babbling brooks, to the rapids as you get closer to the falls, and the the actual falls themselves, the walk and slight climbs are worth it! I think my favourite is the viewing platform to the lower falls because you just feel the power of it right in front of you.

Highway 1A is closed from Castle Junction so do yourself a favour and book a reservation breakfast or brunch at Blackswift Bistro so the Parks Canada staff will let you through, otherwise, it is quite the walk to Johnston Canyon from the barricade! The bistro has a good breakfast menu!
Written October 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gold Coast, Australia303 contributions
Sep 2020 • Family
This is a lovely location and worth a visit. The walk along the canyon was incredible and not too difficult. I would love to do it again in winter.

It was certainly busier than we expected and we didn’t allow enough time. Our operator allowed us 1.5hrs but we probably needed 2-3 to really enjoy it.

The onsite restaurant was disappointing in relation to staff service (quite rude).

Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Eric F
Fort Myers, FL139 contributions
Nov 2019
I completed this hike in November and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The river was partially frozen so there was clear ice on it. The waterfall and caves were really cool and I enjoyed seeing them. The trail had quite a few people, but I understand why so many would want to hike this trail. Being inside of a small canyon with a waterfall is a nice little feeling and this trail helps contrast Banff's vast landscapes by serving as a small but stunningly beautiful hike.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sao Carlos, SP412 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
Scenic hike through the icy canyon. We did the trail during the winter. Try to wear appropriate clothing for the season. In winter wear suitable shoes. Preferably wear spiked shoes as the path can sometimes be slippery. Notice how the stream has cut limestone for thousands of years creating the canyon, waterfalls and magnificent landscapes. The trail to the Upper fall is 3.2 km (2 miles) and a 200 m climb. The ride is very safe, with walkways and handrails all the way. Once inside Banff National Park, there is no charge for the tour.

Caminhada cênica pelo cânion gelado. Nós fizemos a trilha durante o inverno. Use roupas apropriadas para a estação. No inverno use calçados adequados. Preferencialmente use calçados com cravos, pois o caminho pode ser por vezes escorregadio. Observe como o riacho cortou a rocha calcária por milhares de anos criando o cânion, cachoeiras e paisagens magníficas. A trilha até a Upper fall tem 3,2 km (2 milhas) e uma subida de 200 m. O passeio é muito seguro, com passarelas e corrimão em todo percurso. Uma vez dentro do Banff National Park, não há custo para o passeio.
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mississauga, Canada1,502 contributions
Sep 2020
If arriving by car highway 1A is closed and only a reservation at the Canyon Lodge or Blackswift restaurant will allow you passage. By foot or bike, no problem. The canyon is relatively easy walking and the lower falls were quite spectacular. The cave like viewpoint has the amplified roar of the falls, so powerful. The trail is handily constructed cliff side for parts of the trail, but it does take away from the natural beauty of the canyon.
Written September 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gail S
Sydney, Australia124 contributions
Mar 2020
This is an absolute must do if you are visiting Banff.
What I will warn is that no where does it explain the level of fitness required to do this walk. All the brochures say easy and suitable for all levels of fitness and age...well I have to say I struggled with it. I am in my 60’s and I do have a level of fitness in that I can easily walk 5kms and I swim 1km almost every day but this walk was NOT easy.
There is some steep up hill parts albeit short and even the coming down requires use of muscles so that you do not slip. So just a warning to consider.
Having said that I did make it and it was very worth while the view from the top falls is AMAZING and we even saw ice climbers in action.
If you don’t think you can make it to the top falls, the bottom falls gives you a really good taste of Johnston Canyon and it is easier to get to.
We went on a tour but you could easily do it yourself as a lot of people do and then you can take it at your own place and turn around when you like as it is one trail there and back, you cannot get lost.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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