Western Canada: Johnston Canyon

Continued from Oh, Yoho

At popular Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, we parked and took the 1/2 mile woodland path and catwalk alongside rushing, mineral-green Johnston Creek to its lower set of waterfalls.  

The Canyon is a big tourist draw in any season, giving us a taste of what high season might be like at every park attraction.  

However, it’s full of people because it’s absolutely worth a visit, as it has the most easily accessible falls in Banff National Park; it requires no one to helicopter in to rescue you.  

As the creekside walk begins, you pass the Johnston Canyon Resort, which has pretty cabins with porches overlooking the creek.  To us, it looked like a great place to stay, since early in the morning and late in the day crowds would presumably be thin to non-existent, and otherwise you’d probably be out exploring the park(s).  

Along the catwalk, we loved the cool air, the jade-pale water, the tall, skinny pines clinging to clusters of manganese (an ingredient in many fertilizers) in the crags of sheer rocks.  The same scurrying squirrels you see up at Lake Louise run riot here, friendly and food-savvy.

At the lower falls, having passed at least 100 people, we crossed a small bridge over a small gorge and into a small, damp, natural tunnel in the rock; this tunnel popped us out onto platform beside the roaring water.  

Prepare to get spritzed, and if you can snag a moment alone, this is a great spot to give a kiss like you really mean it.

Continued in The Town of Banff

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