Johnston Canyon is located in Banff National Park, Alberta and it is only a short driving distance from Banff. Johnston Creek is a tributary of the Bow River in the Canadian Rockies originated north of Castle Mountain in a glacial valley south of Badger Pass.
The Johnston Canyon Trail is a very popular destination for hikers. The trail is about 6 kilometres (3.6 miles) long. There are catwalks anchored to the side of the canyon in parts of the trail which offer good vantage points for the river below.
The Lower Falls is about 10 metres high with a deeply carved pothole below. You can get right up close to the falls through a small tunnel to experience the sight and sound of water plunging into the pothole and feel the mist on your face (hopefully not your lens).
As you push forward to the Upper Falls, the terrain becomes more rugged. The Upper Falls is much more dramatic at a height of 30 metres. Beyond the Upper Falls are the Ink Pots which is about 3.5 kilometres away. The ink pots are six greenish blue pools of spring water that remains at a constant -1˚C year round.
To hike the trail in the winter or spring, you will need proper gear and footwear. As I found out the hard way, negotiating the icy paths can be treacherous especially on steep climbs. However, to be able to avoid the hordes of tourists in the summer months is the big payoff.