Johnston Canyon

It’s funny going back to places that you used to visit when you were little.  Usually, everything seems so small in comparison to the place that exists in your memory of your visits as a child.  A childhood house always feels like it was bigger and, comparatively to your size, it really was.  I remember coming here, to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, when I was young.  I’m not sure which relatives used to take me here, but I remember the canyon clearly.   The walls were jagged and steep.  The rushing water cut the legs from the canyon walls leaving overhanging ledges studded with green spruce trees.  I remember looking up at the sheer cliff walls and at the rushing waterfalls in awe of the size and power that existed in this amazing spot.  So when I returned, I was worried that maybe it wouldn’t feel as big and as magical as it did when I was young.  Much to my surprise, and relief, it didn’t.  Johnston Canyon still felt as incredible as it did the first time I visited it years ago.  Here are some Johnston Canyon photos essay from my latest visit.

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

The start of the Johnston canyon trail…

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

The water carries limestone that cuts away at the soft rock and eventually forms a narrow canyon

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

After a 20 minute hike through the canyon you will arrive at the lower falls

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

The force of the water is impressive as it is squeezed through a narrow gap

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

A rainbow shines through over a small section of the waterfall’s blue water

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

The canyon’s water are about as crystal clear as any in the world. But when they settle a bright blue is exposed as powdered limestone reflects the sun’s rays.

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

After the lower falls the hike continues uphill for 40 more minutes in order to reach the upper falls.

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

From high above the lower falls you can get a great perspective of the water

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

On the way to the upper falls of Johnston Canyon there are a lot of great falls

Johnston canyon, Banff, Canada

And finally you arrive at the base of the upper falls, well worth the hike.


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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2 Comments

  1. We visited this canyon last month on our road trip. Had never heard of it before but noticed about 200 cars in the parking lot and along the highway. We thought, “what the heck, let’s check it out”. Pretty cool place! You’re descriptions are bang on – the water is so clear and aqua blue.

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  2. Beautiful post on Johnston Canyon! This region of western Canada is so stunning.

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