As I’ve mentioned before in a post about Upper Johnston Canyon Falls, the hike in Johnston Canyon is one of the more popular hikes in Banff National Park. When I visited at the end of August 2014, the parking areas were completely full and people were parking on the road. The trail was very busy. People were trying to push their baby strollers down the trail, which was interesting, as the trail, while not difficult, wasn’t exactly built for strollers.
While some of the falls are named Johnston Canyon Falls, the falls in between have names. Stella Falls is the second of the three named falls you’ll encounter. The waterfall isn’t as exciting as the Lower and Upper Falls, but the scenery is stunning nonetheless. If you’re willing to do the 3.5 mile round-trip, it’s well worth it to see Stella Falls and five other falls.
- This isn’t a particularly difficult set of waterfalls to find, with one minor hitch. The trail head is along of the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). If you’re driving along the Transcanadian Highway 1, there are limited entrances/connections onto 1A. In order to find the falls, you can either enter onto 1A a few miles after leaving Banff. You will be heading west if you take this exit, and the trail head will be on your right after driving for a while. (You can also exit at the junction of Transcanadian Highway 1 and Alberta 93. Instead of heading south, though, head north for a short distance. Then turn right and drive for 6.4 km. The parking area will be on your left.)
- I mention a parking area, but if I remember correctly, that parking area was completely full. There were at least a hundred or so cars (possibly more) parked on the sides of 1A, so that’s where I parked. It added a little bit longer to the walk, but it wasn’t much.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate, though strollers are honestly too big for the trail)
Distance of Hike: 3.4 miles round trip (to see all falls)
Where in the World is Stella Falls?