As our Alberta tour guide, Kaitlyn took us to Johnston Canyon for a hike. The Johnston Canyon Trail is one of the most popular in Banff. The trail follows the Johnston Creek, which is a tributary of the Bow River in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. There is a large paved parking lot, from which the trail begins with short climb through the forest. From there, hikers walk on the iron catwalks which are attached to the canyon walls. After a kilometre, you reach the lower falls, where there is a bridge to use as a view-point as well as a tunnel through the bedrock to take one closer to the waterfall (I did not go through – spectators came out soaking wet).
The journey continued upward through the forest and more catwalks for another 1.7 kilometres. At 100 ft, we reached the upper falls – two impressive waterfalls. Surprisingly, there was still ice and snow on the rock walls even though the temperature that day was in the 20’s. The rapids in the creek were extremely fast, and it was difficult to see how deep the water was, though it was very clear.
Kaitlyn also recommends visiting Johnston Canyon in the winter – she says viewing the waterfalls when they are frozen is a totally new perspective – a very spectacular one. Be warned that proper footwear is necessary in the winter – the catwalks and trails get extremely slick.