Exploring Johnston Canyon


One of the excursions we were most excited about during our trip was Johnston Canyon, a trail ascending and descending through a deep canyon carved into colorful rock, filled with waterfalls, running through a beautiful shaded forest.

It was still early when we pulled into the parking lot for Johnston Canyon, and as we learned while we were there, even in July, early means cold in the Canadian Rockies.  Luke and I bundled up in our packable puffy coats, got Patronus ready, and headed out for another day of fun and exploration.

While much of the hike was on paved trails, there were also sections that were on catwalks skirting the sides of the canyon, overlooking the rushing waters below.

It was by no means an easy decision, but Luke and I decided to forego our coffee until after the hike.  It was cold and we were tired, but we had read that the trail tends to get pretty packed midday, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t lolligag too much.

The first point of interest on the hike was the lower falls, which was 1.1 km in.

This was Patronus’ favorite part of the hike, partially because a lot of the people in this area wanted to stop to pet him, and partially because there was a little cave off to the side that you could crawl into to get a close up view of the waterfall, complete with cold mist.  Patronus loooooves cold water and he was all about the cold misty spray of the falls!

After taking a moment to enjoy the falls, plus let Patronus cool off and get some pets, we continued up the trail towards the upper falls.  This part of the route traversed a shaded forest of pines and wildflowers which ran along the canyon and could be described as nothing short of magical.

The sun began to peek out and warm up the Earth below once we finally reached the upper falls, creating a beautiful rainbow.

Johnston Canyon, Upper Falls.

There were also caves!

And wildflowers!

I wanted to hike the extra 3 km from the upper falls to the ink pots, but Luke was getting tired and ready for lunch and I didn’t want him to start getting crabby so we headed through the shaded forest, down the canyon, and back to the start.

On our walk back, Patronus befriended an adorable and very eager to play Golden Retriever puppy.

Once we arrived back to the start of the trail, Luke and I each got a latte from the coffee shop while Patronus enjoyed a giant bowl of water and a few of his favorite peanut butter treats.

Lower Falls Distance:  1.1 km
Upper Falls Distance:  2.6 km
Ink Pots:  5.6 km
Difficulty:  Easy (But Inclines!)
Highlights:  Waterfalls, Canyon, Inkpots
Map:  All Trails

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