Now I’ve done this hike 3 separate times. Once in winter, twice in the summer. It is always crazy busy, this is a hike you would recommend to the kitchen sink and you’ll see exactly what I mean if you ever visit Johnston Canyon in the peak of summer. Bus tours, group tours and individuals flock to this hike like bees to a hive. It is fairly easy, about 30 minutes to the lower falls and 1 hour to the upper falls.
I don’t even know how to rate this hike, I feel like it’s a must see in the town of Banff. It’s probably wormed it’s way onto every top 10 list when in the Bow Valley area. The lower falls are through a small but short tunnel and you will be splashed standing at the front. The upper falls has 2 view points, from the bottom of the falls and from the top. I’ve been lucky enough to have the rare moment at the bottom all to myself, twice.
In the winter, I strongly recommend cramp-ons. I know you can rent them in town, or buy them and resell them before you leave. These are essential to maintaining the trail as well as avoiding the multiple butt bruises you will receive if you choose to go without. The amount of people taking the trail will wear away any and all snow leaving a beautiful icy runway. I spent more time sliding down on my behind then actually walking, heading to and away from the falls. I’m not even being bias when I say I love the falls in the winter 10 times more. Yes, the significantly less amount of people makes a huge impact on my decision but there is something to be said about standing under a massive frozen waterfall.
If you know a local in the area, find out where the cave is as it trumps all else in the area. A hidden gem at a tourist trap. The next waterfall I’m dreaming about is Bridal Veil Falls in Chilliwack, BC. I’m hoping to pop by quickly when I’m on my way home for a family wedding this weekend.