Lower Johnston Canyon Falls, Alberta

There are a number of waterfalls in Johnston Canyon, and I’m close to writing about all the falls. This is the “lowest” of the falls, which means it is the furthest downstream. There are three middle waterfalls that are named: Tunnel Falls, Stella Falls, and Cavern Falls. Then there are two falls the furthest upstream: Upper Johnston Canyon Falls and the falls I’ve designated as “Upper” Upper Johnston Canyon Falls.

Lower Johnston Canyon Falls in August 2014

As you might be able to figure out, Johnston Canyon is pretty awesome if you want to see waterfalls. And they’re really beautiful. The hike to view solely Lower Johnston Canyon Falls is 0.6 miles one-way. If you want to continue on to see the other falls, it is 1.7 miles one-way. The hike to the falls is pretty cool. There is a boardwalk that is built next to the canyon and at many points, you’re walking over or very close to the river.

It was very busy the day I visited. There was no parking available in the designated parking area and so I had to park on the main road somewhat distant from the trailhead. The hike is worth it, even to the lower falls. The one thing I will remember distinctly is families trying to push strollers down the boardwalk. It is a great hike for kids that can walk, but the boardwalk is just not big enough for strollers!

Directions:

  1. 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.)
  2. I mention a parking area, but as I said, 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: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Distance of Hike: 1.2 miles round trip

Where in the World is Lower Johnston Canyon Falls?

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