The Upper Falls of Johnston Canyon

A fter entering Johnston Canyon and partaking in the beautiful scenery of the lower falls, I then headed towards the upper falls — for which there are two viewing spots: an upper area and a lower area.

The Upper Falls of Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

There is a green metal platform on which to view the upper part of the upper falls of Johnston Canyon…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and the falls were a sight to behold — even that little trickle of a waterfall seen on the left of the main upper falls.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The upper falls were clearly more powerful than the lower falls, as indicated by both its appearance and the sound of its roar as the water crashed onto the rocks below…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and then a rainbow appeared as the sun came out while taking this time exposure photograph.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

To see a rainbow, all you need is enough water droplets in the air in front of you — in this case, generated by the spray of the mist from the waterfall — and the sun behind you…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and voilà! A rainbow appears — and, in this photograph, complements the light blue of what are apparently fragments of what was once a glacier.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The rock formations are stunning, in my opinion.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

This is one of my favorite photographs of the upper falls of Johnston Canyon. If only the rainbow was higher up in the photograph…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I then looked to my right and noticed an interesting formation in the wall of the canyon high above Johnston Creek…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…which looks like a cave of some sort — except that entering it would be quite difficult with the steep slope and the constant dripping of water.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Back to the section of Johnston Creek just above the upper falls with the roaring rapids rushing past…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and as quickly as the sun shone amidst a bright azure sky down on the canyon, the clouds formed an overcast blanket over the area.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

In addition to the green metal platform, a trail which leads to the inkpots 3.1 kilometers away runs adjacent to Johnston Creek — affording additional views beyond the upper falls…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…so I was able to get closer views of the racing rapids.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

To see trees growing out of solid rock — even above the aforementioned hole in the upper wall of the canyon — simply amazes me.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I went down to the green metal platform at the lower part of the upper falls and saw this view of the hole in the canyon wall before I reached the end of the platform…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…because anyone who ventures to the end of that platform will be soaked by the spray of the mist from the upper falls.

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I snapped this photograph as quickly as I could; and water droplets were already forming on the lens…

Johnston Canyon Upper Falls Banff Canada

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…but I had to take one more photograph of the glacial ice with the upper falls before leaving the green metal platform.

Summary

I did not continue on the trail to the inkpots of Johnston Canyon primarily because I had seen similar geothermal features in both Yellowstone National Park in the United States and Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in Rotorua, New Zealand — fortunately, I went to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland first before I visited Yellowstone National Park, as otherwise I would have been disappointed — so there was no real incentive for me to continue on that trail.

Rather, it was time to leave Johnston Canyon and head on over to Silverton Falls…

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “The Upper Falls of Johnston Canyon”

  1. C Stone says:

    If you had to pick between the Upper Falls or Lower Falls which would you do?
    Or do you go on the same trail from the Lower & then to the Upper?
    Thanks!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is a tough question to answer, C Stone, as they are both different experiences.

      The main trail takes you right to the lower falls; and then the same trail takes you to the two observation areas of the upper falls.

      The lower falls is the closest to the entrance; so if you are pressed for time, this is an obvious choice. If you want to visit the upper falls, give yourself approximately 30 minutes or so to reach the upper falls; perhaps another 30 minutes to enjoy viewing them from both observation areas; and then another 30 minutes to return to the lower falls area on your way out.

      Keep in mind that there are some scenic views of inside the canyon between the lower falls and the upper falls as shown in the photographs in this article. You will miss them if you only go to the lower falls.

      If you can, please ensure that you visit both the upper falls and lower falls of Johnston Canyon. You will not regret this decision.

      1. C Stone says:

        Thank you so much!

        We’ll definitely try to get to both!

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          The pleasure was all mine, C Stone.

          Thank you for reading — and please let me know what you thought of Johnston Canyon.

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