A Walk through Johnston Canyon in Photos

I’m finding writing about being home in Canada quite difficult.  I guess the fact that I’ve seen it all before, and I’ve spent so much time guiding in the area makes it all a little bit more difficult to write in the same way as I do with fresh eyes in a new location.  Sure it’s exciting and beautiful, and I find myself constantly reminiscing, but it’s hard to put it all on paper.  The same isn’t true for photography; the photos have been easy to create.

The beauty of being home and shooting photography is twofold.  For one, the last time I was in this area I didn’t really shoot that many photos, so even though I’ve seen it all, it’s all new image locations.  Of course, even if you shoot the same place over and over, you never get the same light and same exact scene.  And secondly, the fact that I know the region like the back of my hand makes it easy to find amazing places to shoot!  As soon as I got to Banff National Park, I headed to one of my favourite places in Alberta to photograph: Johnston Canyon.  These are some photos from the hike through Johnston Canyon and there is some info in the captions to lead you through the photos as well.  Enjoy!

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

The Johnston Canyon Hike takes people along a series of boardwalks above a narrow creek which is rich blue from the limestone rock sediment in the water.

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

If you’re in the Banff area, get out and hike Johnston canyon. The hike is best done in the morning before the crowds get there. It’s also the best time for photography as you won’t fight as much with harsh light!

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

Though you can keep hiking up to a place called the ink pots, I turned around and shot some more of the smaller falls on the trail.

Upper falls, Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

The upper falls are taller than the lower, but somehow less dramatic. Still, incredibly beautiful.

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

From the lower falls, it’s another mile or so to the upper falls.

Lower Falls, Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

The best views of the falls are from the bridge, though you can actually get right under some rock and next to the lower falls.

This is the lower falls at Johnston Canyon.  The majority of tourists just wander here.  The hike is about 25 minutes round trip.

This is the lower falls at Johnston Canyon. The majority of tourists just wander here. The hike is about 25 minutes round trip.

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

Though there are two major waterfalls on the trail, there are plenty of small ones like this

Johnston Canyon, Banff, Canada

Gotta love that light blue water. There are few places more stunning!

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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6 Comments

  1. These pictures are amazing as usual. Your posts inspire to me to get out and re-visit places as well as explore new ones! Keep them coming!

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  2. Johnston Canyon is on my list now. I’m looking forward to exploring Banff this winter.

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    • It’s especially awesome in Winter, Mike. Lots of ice falls and stuff. Johnston Canyon is a great hike year round.

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  3. Some very nice photos of some wondrous places, sometimes local knowledge can help you find the gems others miss out on and this really comes through in photography.

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  4. We’re planning a trip to West Canada and surely hope to see this beautiful canyon. Superb photo’s. Thanks.

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    • Yes! Johnston Canyon is a must-see. Try to get there in the morning though, it can get busy mid-day!

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