The drive from Alberta to British Columbia promises an abundance of sigh-inducing scenery and majestic mountain views as you pass through the Rocky Mountains and enter the BC Rockies. Highlights en route are the spectacular waterfalls and Ink Pots in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, located on the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise.
The trailhead for the popular trail to the waterfalls is located immediately behind Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows. The scenic trail is well groomed and winds its way through Johnston Canyon towards seven sets of waterfalls. An easy 20-minute stroll brings you to the Lower Falls (1.2 km), or the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon can be reached in 45 minutes (2.7 km).
Cliff-mounting staircases and steel catwalks attached to the canyon walls will get you there safely, and well-placed lookouts along the way assure visitors of beautiful views of Johnston Canyon and Johnston Creek. Explore limestone caves and cross Johnston Canyon Creek on a narrow plank catwalk.
The more adventurous can continue farther to the Ink Pots, a total hike of 5.8 km (9 miles) one way. Above Upper Falls, the trail climbs out of the canyon to join the trail from Moose Meadows. Seven cold mineral springs bubble to the surface in the open meadows beside Johnston Canyon Creek. These springs are unique in that they have a constant temperature of 4 degrees Celcius and their basins are composed of quicksand.
Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows provides a restaurant, ice-cream stand and gift shop at the base of the trail. Get an early-morning start to avoid the crowds, and don’t forget the camera.