Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
A short, popular hike on well maintained trails.
Need to Know
The trail is located within Banff National Park, so purchasing a Park Pass is mandatory. This is an extremely popular hike and parking may be limited, especially on weekends May–September. The smaller parking lot at the Johnston Canyon Lodge fills up quickly and has easy access to a cafe and bistro. The eastern parking lot is much bigger and is adjacent to the restrooms. This trail is wheelchair accessible but there are many tight sections that only allow one person through at a time, so it would be wise to go early or late in the day after the crowds have cleared.
Starting from the eastern parking lot, the trail bridges the river and connects to the lodge parking lot, beginning an easy climb through the forest towards the river that the trail will closely follow for much of the hike. There is plenty of shade, as the majority of the trail is forested. In many areas, the trail overhangs the river on catwalks following the cliffsides, giving picturesque views of the canyon, the river, and smaller waterfalls and rapids. There are a few section where the cliffs overhang the catwalks or cause them to narrow, so please be respectful to returning hikers and take turns navigating these sections.
Near the waterfall, the trail forks with one path leading towards the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls
and the other continuing to the Lower Falls. The intersection is clearly signed. Continuing to the Lower Falls brings you to a viewpoint to take in the falls, and a bridge crossing over the river. Once you cross the bridge, you can enter a tunnel in the cliff face which will take you directly in front of the falls. The tunnel is low and narrow, allowing only one crouching person at a time, and the rocks may be slippery with spray, so proceed with caution.
You may then head back to the parking lot, or continue upwards towards Johnston Canyon Upper Falls
and the Ink Pots.
Flora & Fauna
While many animals call Banff their home, bears included, the location and popularity of this trail means it's extremely unlikely to encounter any mammal larger than a chipmunk on this hike.
Shared By: Ordinary Fruit