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      JOHNSTON CANYON HIKE

 
From the "Canadian Rockies Guide" by
John Dodd and Gail Helgason


"This narrow, dark gap cut by rusing crystal waters is probably the most visited canyon in teh Canadian Rockies. yet relatively few venture beyond the first cascade--and that is a pity. The path features severn waterfalls, an optional walk through a wet tunnel and a close-up look a the Upper Falls, twice the size of the Lower Falls. For those with extra energy, the hike to the jade-green Inpots is a pleasant half-day option."

"Johnston Canyon is 25 kilometers north of Banff Townsite on the Bow Valley Parkway. The trail starts from the large parking area on the east side of Johnston Creek"

The wide asphalt trail starts up gently through lush, mossy forest beside vigorous Johnston Creek and enters the canyon. In this narrow canyon, cut into 350 million year old limestone, the world seems to consist only of rock and the sound of swirling water. In some places, the canyon walls are more than 30 meters (98 feet) high and less than 6 meters (20 feet across). Each year, rushing water wears away 2 millimeters (0.1 inch) of limestone, scouring the canyon's face into myriad shapes.
The elaborate trail in this section consists of a suspended walkway bolted onto the side of the cliff, partway up the canyon wall. Black swifts, found only in a few places in Alberta, nest in the canyon walls. Look for them in early morning or at dusk, especially by the lower falls. Watch also for American Dippers, or water ouzels, flying just above the water to feed, or bobbing up and down at the side of the stream.
Pass under an overhanging cliff of solid limestone to the Lower Falls, which swirl into a green pool against copper-coloured cliffs. Cross the small bridge to the other side of the canyon, and go through a tiny, dark rock passage where the creek once flowed for a misty, close-up of the falls.
The trail continues past pretty Twin Falls, keeping to the rightr for a close-up view of the impressive upper falls.
In winter, the canyon becomes a world of frozen waterfalls and pillars of blue ice. Guided interpretive walks, partly along the canyon bottom to the upper falls are offerd by White Mountain Adventures.

 
 Johnston Canyon Pictures
JOHNSTON CANYON 1
|  JOHNSTON CANYON 2 | JOHNSTON CANYON 3 |  JOHNSTON CANYON 4
| FROZEN WATERFALLS ANYONE?
 
Athabasca Falls     EDITH CAVELL VALLEY

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