Canadian Rockies: Johnston Canyon, Lake Minnewanka + Johnson Lake

by | Oct 20, 2017 | International Travel, Travel

A few of the hikes we wanted to do involved beating many of the other park patrons to a parking lot, so we found ourselves up with the sun to drive to Johnston Canyon on Sunday morning. After a scenic 45 minute drive, we had no trouble finding parking at 8am.

early morning sun on the mountains

Even with the relatively early start the trail was fairly crowded as this is a popular hike that isn’t very difficult. The views were nice but the juxtaposition of all the steel supports for the walkway through the canyon took some of the naturalness away from the experience.

In addition to the Lower and Upper Falls, there were two other small waterfalls that were also good photograph material.

Leandra @ Johnston Canyon   Lower Falls @ Johnston Canyon

waterfall @ Johnston Canyon

Upper Falls @ Johnston Canyon  Johnston Canyon

Heading back south, we stopped at this viewpoint of the Bow River…

Bow River views

Our next stop was Lake Minnewanka for a hike to Stewart Canyon. The main parking lot was stuffed, so we crossed a bridge and found a spot in the small lot off the side of the road and walked about a half mile back to the camping area and trailhead. The people watching on the beach was more entertaining than the canyon, alas.

Lake Minnewanka

Eric noticed a small lake on the map just south so we ventured down to Johnson Lake. Busy! The small beach was packed and kids were fishing with string and sticks. We took a quick hike to far side of lake for some photos.

Johnson Lake trail

Cascade River

At this point we were feeling a bit peckish, so we stopped in Canmore at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co for lunch. The bagels were solid and Eric couldn’t resist going back in for a dessert bar that was fudgy and rich.

someone went back for dessert!  bagels for lunch

Continuing south(east), we explored the Spray Lake Reservoir area. Unfortunately Grassi Lakes was closed due to bear activity (we saw MANY warning signs around Canmore about bears) and because it was so dry, the uneven gravel road was very dusty. It made for difficult driving and if you were following another car, visibility was poor, so we gave up about 16km in and turned around.

Goat Pond

Smith Dorrien Trail views

Grassi Lake

A bit further up Hwy 1, we attempted to find Upper and Lower Spray Falls. We followed the hiking instructions exactly and while we found the pull-off and trail, Eric hiked along the river but only found one waterfall. He also managed to scrape his ankle too, making this trip equal to every other Canada hiking trip we have done. (Reminder to bring more band-aids next time!). At least it was pretty…

Spray Falls

For dinner we went to Tavern 1883 in Canmore. It is a small place and busy but we only had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. Many of their menu items were prepared sous vide, so I had to try the wild boar burger, and Eric had the fish & chips. We each ordered a beer and I wound up swapping my plain ale for Eric’s Apricot Ale.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)</br />Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)