Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Hiking - Johnston Canyon Trail

[1-Trailhead sign]

Johnston Canyon Trail is in Banff National Park, Alberta. From the town of Banff take the Trans Canada Highway west to the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A) turnoff and continue west for 18 km (11 miles) to the Johnston Canyon Lodge. Just past the lodge is a trail sign at the northern end of the parking lot.

The Lower Falls are 1.1km (0.7 mi) from the parking area on a good path with an elevation gain of 30m.

[2 - click to enlarge]

It is a good idea to bring along another layer of clothing as Johnston Canyon is shaded and moist. The early part of the hike can be a little chilly.

[3 - Peering down from a catwalk. Click to enlarge]

It is a good idea to bring a water bottle and a snack while keeping your walking pace slow.

Stay on the marked trails and pack any garbage out.

[4- click to enlarge]

[5 - Catwalk]

The catwalks I remember from childhood have changed from wood poled bridges to steel, and the newer catwalks are closer to the water surface.

The walls of the canyon are more than 30m (100ft) high.

[6 - First Lower Falls]

The Upper Falls is another mile with an elevation gain of 120m. It is recommeneded that the hiker wear proper hiking boots for this part of the trail as the grade becomes steeper.


[8 - click to enlarge]


[10- Fourth Falls]

[11 - Fifth Falls - click to enlarge]

[12 - click to enlarge]

[13 - click to enlarge]

[14 - Gray Jay - click to enlarge]

There are many species of wild birds to be seen on this hike, so bring your bird book.

[15- Near the Sixth Falls - click to enlarge]

[16 - Sixth Falls - click to enlarge]

[17 - Upper Falls - click to enlarge]

[18 -Above Upper Falls]

Once the Upper Falls are reached it is another 3 km (1.8 mi) to the inkpots which are well worth the extra walk. Elevation gain to the inkpots is 215m (705 ft).

[19 - Near the Ink Pots - click to enlarge]

[20- Mount Ishbel from the ink pots - click to enlarge]

[21 - Ink pots]

The inkpots are six green pools filled with springwater. Take care not to step into them as they contain quicksand.

[22 - Ink pots]

[23 - Johnston Creek - click to enlarge]

From here the hiker can continue north to join the Sawback Trail via Moose Meadow.

Source: ParksCanada

Photo Credits: [1]-Ivan Lien CC=nc-nd-flickr, [2][3][4][7]-Robert aka Bob CC=nc-sa-flickr, [5]-Dave Ketchup CC=nc-sa-flickr, [6][10][11][12][15][16]-nicodeemus CC=nc-nd-flickr, [9]-Einahpets32 CC=nc-nd-flickr, [14]-casmium CC=nc-nd-flickr, [17][20]-12th CC=nc-nd-flickr, [8][13][18][21]-meganpru CC=nc-flickr, [22]-Steph & Adam CC=flickr, [19][23-Paul Hudson CC=nc-flickr.


Phoenix C. said...

What exhilarating scenery, Barbara! I love the steep sides above the water. It would be a wonderful area to paint.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
What a stunning canyon. The white silky ribbon of river emptying into those tourquoize emerald pools stir my soul. I could spend all day by pools like that - and have! Though knowing what amazing high country lies above the gorge would make it a tough, but pleasurable choice. Thank you for another incredible virtual walk. I am heading out alone sometime next week to spend a few days up high and clear my head. I shall think of you.

Teresa said...

Thank you for posting these pictures of this gorgeous, gorgeous scenery. It is a marvelous close to my day. I loved all the waterfalls and the snow-capped mountains.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ink pots? Love the falls. Wow. So gorgeous and peaceful.

Barbara Martin said...

Phoenix, the place is full of different landscapes that would cetainly pique any painter's creativity.

Robb, this trail would be a good warm-up for serious hikers. Most of the trail I have etched into my memory from the yearly treks to the upper falls and finally the ink pots when I was an older teen. My brothers, the ever venturous threesome, always roamed further afield.

This was the place that had an unfortunate accident in the mid-1950s on a day I was there with my family. A girl my age fell into the canyon above the lower falls. Her mother, a professional diver, dove in after her, and managed miraculously to arrive safe at the bottom. Her daughter was found dead.

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, I find that posting these hikes raises my spirits whenever I'm down on life. They inspire there's always another day.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, the colours in the ink pot spring pools are a result of light reflecting from the sediment.

This is a wonderful hike as the waterfalls progress in size and grandeur, combined with the ever present roar of the water.

Frank Baron said...

Stunning photos of some of the Creator's best work! That jay is darned cute too.

I was in Banff, briefly, nearly 40 years ago. I'd nearly forgotten how beautiful it is. Thanks very much for the reminder. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

I didn't know about this trail. One more place to check out. Thanks.

Barbara Martin said...

Frank, Banff is probably my favourite place on this planet. I post these hikes to recall the nature, a peace to the soul and the nostalgia.

Leah, this trail was a yearly favourite during early childhood trips in the 50s, where we would pitch a tent at the campgrounds and spend a couple of days there. Bliss and home-cooked meals at the camp kitchens which came complete with picnic tables, benches and two cast iron cookstoves to a shelter. One year we and another family were rained in at a picnic stop on the old highway 93 before it was widened with paved shoulders. My parents put up a clothesline with blankets hung over for a bit of privacy while the woodstove provided warmth throughout the night.

Hilary said...

I've never been west, but these photos and many of the beauties which Leah posts sure feel like a tug on the sleeve. Just beautiful!

Barbara Martin said...

Hilary, take Frank on a holiday and you both can enjoy the scenery.

om said...

Beautiful landscapes and a great trip.

Unknown said...

the upper falls were magnificent

Unknown said...

it is truely a breath taking walk in both ways :)
( i mean the scenery is breath taking and the super long walk also takes your breath away[makes you rlly tired])