I was intrigued by the words “interpretative walkway” in the itinerary description of  our first hike through Johnston Canyon, located within Banff National Park, as all trips provide so many opportunities to learn more and more.  Here is the definition:

interpretive trail (nature trail): Short to moderate lengthtrail (usually ¼ mile to 1 ½ miles long) with the primary function of providing an opportunity to walk and study interesting or unusual plants or natural features at user’s pleasure.

It was and I was thrilled.  Located about halfway between Banff and Lake Louise, along the Bow River Parkway,  Johnston Canyon is a very popular site due to its easy walkways taking  you through breathtaking views with constantly changing scenery of quiet forest of evergreen trees, ferns and mosses in contrast with the rushing waters of Johnston Creek changing colors, from crystal clear, to bright turquoise to milky white, depending on the sunlight and glacier flour (see previous post). Two waterfalls, the Lower and Upper provide additional impressive views.

There was only one hiccup.  Since this was the first of a number of stops before we got to our hotel for the night, we were on kind of a clock.  There was plenty of time to get to the Lower Falls and back – except I was constantly mesmerized by pretty much everything, necessitating many photo stops, until I suddenly realized I had lingered a bit too long, so I reversed my route to get back to the group.

No worries – I had gotten plenty of eye candy along the way., beginning with the gentle, quiet entry into  canyon:

Then the kaleidoscope of colors took over:

and roaring waters:

Oh and here are the falls, courtesy of Johnston Canyon website, since my too long lingering below the falls prevented me from getting there:

Not bad for a first excursion – and there is more to come!




  1. Beautiful Johnston Canyon, a popular spot! My buddy and I have hiked it a few times when we used to float our wooden boat down the Bow River nearby, in search of fish, mostly graylings and Kokanee! Great area! Enjoy! Parker Knox- welcome to our beautiful homeland!

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