Johnston Canyon Trail to Upper Falls

EASY 250 reviews
#8 of 127 trails in

Johnston Canyon Trail to Upper Falls is a 5.0 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Massive, Alberta, Canada that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5 km
ELEVATION GAIN
236 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wildlife

snow

With over one million visitors per year Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Banff National Park. The lower falls is very powerful and can be approached via footbridge and pedestrian tunnel, while the upper falls is highest and can be taken from a platform at the base or top of the falls.

hiking
2 days ago

Such an amazing trail for the whole family. My 9 year old did just fine. Agree with other reviews: go early to avoid crowds. We were there about 830, still fairly busy. People with toddlers: bring skinny strollers. The trail gets narrow and will not accommodate wide strollers.

3 days ago

Pros: beautiful views of the water the entire length of the path, with several waterfalls and lovely overlooks. The forest here was also magnificent, the moss on the trees makes it look unreal. Ice cream afterward at the stand on the way back was a great treat. Cons: crowded until lower falls, not too bad afterward. The "trail" is all paved / manmade, but the views were so nice that it was worth it. Better off in sneakers, though there are some steep areas and wet areas.

hiking
4 days ago

Got to the parking lot by 8:30 AM-only 5 cars in the lot! Beautiful hike, busy trail. Both parking lots were full when we left at 11:30.

walking
7 days ago

This trail is extremely busy up to the “Upper Falls”. Having a baby backpack-carrier was kind of a challenge because the walking path is so narrow and because most visitors have little to no trail etiquette. It was sad to see how much plastic bottles and coffee cups (from the bistro at the trail head) that were thrown by visitors who do not care about nature. Still, beautiful sights. If you love calm nature and you still want to do the trail, you might want to continue to the “ink pots” and avoid the annoying crowds.

8 days ago

Mega easy, really busy but good for family’s and small kids

walking
8 days ago

Beautiful gorge but very very busy. The trail is also quite narrow so there’s a fair amount of bumping into people and waiting for slower walkers. I’d highly recommend trying to get there first thing in the morning to try to avoid the crowd.

hiking
9 days ago

Very busy trail but beautiful!

13 days ago

Quick and easy. Beautiful views! We went on a Monday morning expecting it to be fairly empty, quite surprised to see it so busy on a weekday! But definitely worth it.

hiking
14 days ago

We visited Johnston Canyon yesterday, June 2. Great trail for a quick walk into the area to see the waterfalls and canyon. There were people of all ages enjoying the walk along the paved and well defined walkway and stairs - lots of families with young children and seniors. This would be great for people who want an easy half day outing while visiting the Banff area. I would highly recommend planning to go early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the mid day crowds (literally).

18 days ago

This paved trail is rated as easy, but it does involve an ascent into the canyon as you climb to the Upper Falls, which might prove a bit challenging for physically-impaired or older individuals. There are also some fairly narrow "boardwalks" along the trail. The waterfalls along the trail are pretty amazing and definitely a must-see.

19 days ago

Make sure you go very early. I started at about 6:30 am to avoid the tour buses of people. The parking lot was practically empty. It was very quite on the way up to upper falls. When I got back the parking lot was overflowing.

22 days ago

23 days ago

Beautiful!!

nature trips
25 days ago

early walk in the morning with friends so great, love the nature so much!

28 days ago

Nice views but a little touristy.

hiking
29 days ago

Incredible scenery!

29 days ago

Very busy. Not really a true hike since they are paved but still a very pretty walk with lots of great views.

hiking
1 month ago

The path is paved so I can't call it a hike.
However, for visiting friends or those not wanting something strenuous it is a nice walk to the falls.
However, if you want to skip the crowds, go up to the Ink Pots.

1 month ago

Great track

hiking
1 month ago

Our first hike while visiting Banff. Still decent amounts of ice on the trail in early May. Glad we went earlier around 10am as there were less people on the way up. Walkways got a little crowded on our way down as more people got there. ~2 hr round trip including plenty of time to take pictures.

hiking
1 month ago

Completed this back in early June. Very busy trail but beautiful hole as we followed the side path down to the lower falls right next to it.

hiking
1 month ago

We did the lower falls in April. Still lots of snow, crampons very useful! Pretty easy hike.
We did the upper falls in May. Still a bit of snow where the sun doesn’t hit, but nothing too major. The trail did get quite slick.
Planning on doing ink pots in June.

walking
1 month ago

A good quick walk to stretch your legs if you’ve been driving a lot or a must-stop if you’re visiting the Bow River Valley. Was really nice in the winter with some parts of the waterfalls frozen.

1 month ago

Quick traditional first warm up hike of the season. Beautiful easy walk to upper falls before too many tourists make this family friendly hike too crowded. Still some beautiful ice formations to see but melting fast. As of 4 days ago when we were out recommend ice cleats between Lower and upper falls as trail was pretty slick but shouldn’t need for long with the recent warm weather.

hiking
1 month ago

A lifetime of unforgettable images of God’s Creation will forever be engrained in my soul. The most beautiful hike. Fulfilled my desire to bathe in nature.

2 months ago

Hubby and I took our Australian Shepherd to the upper falls on Monday (April 2) the trail is very well done, perfect those wanting a nice leisurely walk. Not really a hike, and unfortunately far too many people on the trail, way too crowded!!

hiking
2 months ago

One of my favourite hikes. Have been 8 times now. To avoid even the spring crowds go early or around 5 pm. Ruins it when you have hundreds of people on the trail with you.
If hiking in the spring you will have difficulties if you go in runners or flip flops or any of the other summer shoes I have encountered people struggling with on the trail. Buy or rent crampons/cleats and enjoy the steady climb up the canyon :)

hiking
2 months ago

Fun winter hike! Absolutely beautiful.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful and easy walk in -30 weather

hiking
4 months ago

Did the trail to the Upper Falls on February 8th right after the snowfall. Beautiful hike. Used yaktrax’s to help steady myself on the trail. Probably didn’t need them. Highly recommend for beginners

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