Johnston Canyon - Explore Frozen Waterfalls on an Easy Hike

Fall in love with frozen waterfalls, deep gorge and rivers on a beautiful Frosty day!

Rating: Easy

Time: 3 hours

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular hikes in Banff. It is a great trail for all ages and fitness level. I hope my blog will inspire you to connect with nature, admire cascading waterfalls and get a good exercise. Lex Go!


Getting There

Coming from Banff, Johnston Canyon is about 25 KM west. Take the scenic route and exit to Bow Valley Parkway (1A) from Trans-Canada Highway. The drive is about 18 KM until you reach the parking lot. This trail is heavily trafficked so plan accordingly and be prepared as parking can be a challenge.

Johnston Canyon.JPG

AddressBow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB T1L 1K2


I recommend this hike for everyone! If you are looking for a fun day out with the family, have some friends visiting the city or just want to go an an easy stress free hike, Johnston Canyon is the perfect trail. It is an easy 6 KM hike with paved path, guard rails and gentle ascends.


I have been to this hike a few times both summer and winter and it is always gorgeous! You just have to be sure to come early as it can get very crowded especially during peak season. There are washroom in the parking lot area. Some Parks Canada ambassadors might also be present during the summer months with  info booth. In the summer, the ice cream shop at the beginning of the trail is open. A good treat after the hike!


We went to this trip in the winter as some of our  friends wanted to experience a winter hike. It took us about 30 minutes to reach lower falls including photo stops. The trail to the lower falls is paved and easy. The view of the canyon and the trees covered with snow was mesmerizing. Once we reached the lower falls we walked on the bridge to cross the river. On the other side you can access a tunnel that provides a closer view of the waterfalls. It is a small tunnel that holds about 7-10 people so we had to wait in line for our turn. The waterfalls were all frozen on top but you can hear the water falling underneath the ice.


We continued the hike  to the Uppers Falls for about 1 hour more. The path from  here gains more elevation as you walk through the forest beside the creek. There’s several scenic points where you can take pictures. We saw smaller waterfalls, the continuation of the river and the beautiful rock formation along the canyon. There are also benches where you can sit and rest. This is a very enjoyable trail.

Once you reach Upper falls, there is are two viewing points. There is a fenced walkway that leads you right to the bottom of the falls. I was in awe gazing from the bottom at  a 40-meter drop frozen waterfalls. You can also walk up on a steeper terrain to the next viewpoint.There is a fenced platform that is somewhat transparent over hanging on the canyon. In this point,you can see the waterfalls from the top. Some of my friends were afraid of heights and was hesitant to step on the platform.


This hike made us forget about the cold because every corner was captivating and we had an amazing time. I really encourage everyone to plan a day trip to Johnston Canyon either in the summer or the winter or both! They are open all year round!

Recommended Gears:

  • Winter Boots

  • Snow Cleats

  • Water/Snacks

  • Camera

  • Hiking Poles (Optional)