May 19, 2012
On your way out of Banff, AB towards Lake Louise you'll want to take a quick detour on route 1A. 17 Kilometers down this side road you will find a sign for Johnson Canyon. Keep an eye you around this time of year as the area is well populated with many forms of wildlife including Caribou, Mountain Goat and many small rodents.
This time when I would go to park near the canyon I would have extreme difficulties, as half a kilometer in both direction of the driveway was parked up on the side of the road. The parking lot for this novice hiking trail is relatively small, and on important long weekends, looks to fill up fast. On this day I would find a spot close to the driveway, however for future reference I would urge people to avoid this attraction altogether on peak weekends.
The walk to the lower falls is only 0.7Km and might take you a 30 minute brisk walk. This portion of the trail is well travelled by many people, as this is the part of the trail that is for novice hikers. The walkway and catwalks are paved and well maintained, and my visit this time I witnessed families, older retired people and even baby strollers going up this part of the trail.
What surprised me was that after just leaving Bow Falls in Banff, I managed to run into more people at Johnson Canyon, than I did in the heart of the town. The campground in the area was still closed for the season, so the only explanation is that this area is extremely well known to many residents of Alberta. I would also assume that this is a very popular attraction for Calgary day-trippers.
The walk can be very calming had it not been for the crowded overpopulation of (what I often label as) "city goers" - The type of people that also think it entertaining to feed the wildlife, while photographing for their facebook status'. **Please, if there is any decency out there, DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS**
The catwalks over and alongside the river can make for some soft and peaceful relaxation. However on this day none was capable of being had.
A smaller waterfall on the journey along the 0.7Km hike.