Cavern Falls, Alberta

In Banff National Park, one of the best trails where you can see waterfalls is Johnston Canyon. I recorded six waterfalls that were big enough for me to call them distinct waterfalls. You can read previous posts about Stella Falls, Upper Johnston Canyon Falls, and “Upper” Upper Johnston Canyon Falls.

Cavern Falls in August 2014

The hike to see all of the falls is approximately 3.5 miles round-trip, and it’s set up so that it isn’t a difficult walk. There is a wood path built in the canyon that allows you to get places you could not get to otherwise. I visited in August 2014, and it was very busy as it is an easy hike. I distinctly remember people trying to push baby strollers down the pathway, and because it was very busy, it would create bottlenecks. The further you go along the trail, the less busy it gets, so it’s worth it to go the distance!

When I first hiked the trail, I didn’t realize some of the falls had specific names. Cavern Falls is one of them. I think it’s named Cavern Falls because you may be able to notice there is a cavern behind the water. I think Cavern Falls is off at an angle and may be more difficult to notice unless you’re looking for the falls.

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 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)
Height: 30′
Distance of Hike: 3.4 miles round trip (to see all falls)

Where in the World is Cavern Falls?

Silverton Falls, Alberta

Silverton Falls in late August 2014

I’m in Canada and visiting Banff and Yoho National Parks this weekend. It’s Labour Day weekend here in Canada, so it’s a popular weekend to visit the parks. I started by going to Johnston Canyon, which I’ll post about some other time, and it was insanely busy. 100+ cars were parked on the roads outside of the regular parking area, and I probably passed 200-300 people along my 1.5 mile (one way journey).

So it was a nice surprise to find another trail that was much calmer. If you visit Banff National Park during the summer, and you feel like you need a break from the crowd, Silverton Falls is the right place for you. I passed maybe 10 people the whole time. And while it’s not advertised very well, Silverton Falls is a very pretty waterfall. It’s a pretty short hike also, though on the second half of the hike, it does climb up switchbacks. At 150’+, it’s also a pretty impressive waterfall. The are two main drops, and one smaller drop at the top.

Now getting to the falls isn’t really difficult, but there’s one piece you need to pay attention to. The sharp left turn isn’t extremely obvious when you’re hiking in, but on the way back, it became much clearer. Check the directions below.

Directions:

  1. From Trans-Canada Highway 1, exit at the junction of AB-93 South/AB-1A.
  2. Turn right to head toward Alberta-1A, the Bow Valley Parkway.
  3. Take another right onto the Bow Valley Parkway heading east.
  4. After maybe 500 feet or so (a VERY short distance), you’ll see a sign for the Rock Bound Lake Trail. Turn left into this parking area for the trail.
  5. Start along the trail. I’ve seen directions that indicated it is an unsigned trail, but the trail is now marked for Silverton Falls. It’s only about 0.6 miles (0.9 km) one way.
  6. After a few hundred feet, you should see a sign indicating to take the right path to Silverton Falls. If you have any doubt, it’s easy just to stay close to the creek that’s to the right of the parking area.
  7. After maybe 0.3-0.4 miles, pay attention for a fork that veers sharply left. It’s a 90 degree turn. You’re going to want to take this turn.
  8. You’ll start climbing up switchbacks along this trail. It’s a short distance along these switchbacks, though they are steep. It could be very easy to slip along the trail, so exercise caution as you approach the falls.
  9. The falls just appear! Again, exercise caution. There might be a way to get close to the falls, but I really felt like it wasn’t the best idea. You can get a pretty good view of the falls from about halfway between the base and crest.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: ~150′
Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Silverton Falls?