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Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

Intermediate
 4.5 (2)

If you only go to Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, you're missing out on the less-crowded and more interesting half here.


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Map Key

0.9

Miles

1.4

KM

Point to Point

5,063' 1,543 m

High

4,874' 1,485 m

Low

264' 80 m

Up

91' 28 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Family Friendly More challenging than Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, but the trail is just as safe and well maintained.

Need to Know

This trail is located in Banff National Park so purchasing a Park Pass is mandatory. It is only accessed through Johnston Canyon Lower Falls and provides access for the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Overlook and the Ink Pots. While the Lower Falls are wheelchair accessible, and both trails are very well maintained, the Upper Falls trail is not wheelchair accessible.

Description

The trail begins at the signed intersection shortly before the end of Johnston Canyon Lower Falls. Just like the Lower Falls, this trail is forested, with a smooth path that gradually leads upwards, and many cliffside catwalks over the river. However, the trail is noticeably less crowded, with more variance in its elevation changes. There are benches scattered throughout the trail at key locations and after steep climbs.

Just like with the Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, the path splits right before the waterfall, with one path going upward to the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Overlook and the Ink Pots Trail, and the other heading to the waterfall viewing platform. The intersection is clearly signed. The metal catwalk hangs over the gorge with the large waterfall only coming into clear view when you reach the very end.

From here you can backtrack shortly and take the very steep but very short climb up to the Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Overlook, giving you a perspective of the falls from the top of the waterfall and access to the Ink Pots. There is also an area to rest and enjoy a small but beautiful waterfall. Otherwise, you may hike back down the Upper and Lower trails to the parking lots.

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 trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ordinary Fruit

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#6946

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#38

in Alberta

#6,946

Overall
2 Views Last Month
164 Since May 13, 2019
Intermediate

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Photos

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls
May 13, 2019 near Banff, AB
Johnston Canyon Upper Falls
May 13, 2019 near Banff, AB

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Check-Ins

Feb 21, 2020
Caitlin M
Beautiful in winter. Snow drifts clung to the rock cliffs along with huge icicles. The upper falls were so frozen that there were a few ice climbers.
Oct 6, 2019
Katie Meier
Sep 27, 2019
Stephen Ramundo
Aug 30, 2019
Diane Pastor
Aug 6, 2019
Etienne Tourigny
Jul 18, 2019
Sarah F
Jun 15, 2019
Diana A
May 11, 2019
Ordinary Fruit