Hike to the Johnston Canyon Cave

Details

Distance

3.4 miles

Elevation Gain

700 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

Johnston Canyon is one of Alberta’s many gems. Located in Banff national park, this stunning waterfall hike is a quick 3.4 miles roundtrip.

It’s amazing how much varied scenery you see over the course of the very short 1.7 mile hike. Follow the catwalks through the canyon as the stunning turquoise water flows below. If you’re feeling up for a longer hike, you can continue along the trail to the Ink Pots (makes for a great winter hike!), which is an additional 3.6 miles. To avoid the crowds, it is highly recommended to start this hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

To get to Johnston Canyon, simply follow the Bow Valley Parkway west to Johnston Canyon for about 11 miles. You’ll find the parking lot on the east side where you’ll then follow the footbridge to the trailhead. The trail begins immediately past the lodge with a gradual ascent.

Shortly, you’ll come to Lower Falls that has several very unique vantage points. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a few areas along the trail where some off-trail exploring will take you to some amazing spots. The Johnston Canyon cave is one of the most photographed locations in Alberta. Pay attention between Lower and Upper Falls and you’ll see an easy to follow trail that leads you to this incredible spot. Shortly after the cave, you’ll reach Upper Falls which features an impressive 30 meter drop.

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Known for

Hiking
Scenic
Waterfall

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Reviews

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Secluded And Beautiful!

A great quiet place to get away from the tourist crowds of Johnston canyon. Highly recommended in the winter!

Worth It!

Did this hike as an afterthought on our final day in Alberta -- we were tired but glad we decided to go. It's short and sweet and the famous "secret spot" off the trail is a must have Instagram shot!

Incredible Adventure

Completed the hike to lower and upper falls at around 7am. Had the place to ourselves and it was absolutely amazing. Weaving through the canyon walls on suspension bridges provides excellent views of the canyon, river and various falls. Managed to find the Johnston canyon cave but it took some serious looking! Not easy to spot but lies near the entrance of upper falls on the right. We left the canyon at around 9am and hoards of people were coming in so I recommend getting there early!

1321 total saves

4.4/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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