When families visit Banff National Park and the city of Banff, they often dream of living in a tiny, secluded hut on a lake. It can be difficult to find accommodation that fits this dream. While most of the popular Banff lakes offer hotel-style accommodations and larger resorts, Banff still has some remote cabins.
This summer, Johnston Canyon, one of the most popular hiking trails in Banff, is the perfect time to visit Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows. A 5-hectare property with individual huts that line the ridge of the canyon.
Visit to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
An icon in Banff is Johnston Canyon. The hike / hike through the canyon offers sidewalks that lead you through the canyon above the rushing water to beautiful waterfalls. Visitors can choose to visit the lower or upper waterfalls or a few kilometers later to visit the ink pots.
Visitors who take the additional hike are rewarded with incredible individual mineral pools in different colors. The pools are fed by mineral springs and the colors differ due to the heavier and easier suspension of fine minerals in the water. Seeing the minerals gush out of the sand into the pools is an experience.
For a deeper look into the Ink Pots Hike Check out this post from Hike Bike Travel.
Where to stay near Johnston Canyon?
While accommodations in Banff are usually very close to Johnston Canyon. In 2020, Johnston Canyon can only be reached by bike or hiking. It is approximately 25 km from Entrance 1A, which is closest to Banff. You can always reach Johnston Canyon from Castle Mountain Junction by running or hiking for 6 km.
The benefit of this year at Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows is that you can drive to the resort via Castle Mountain Junction. While the road is closed, cars with confirmed bookings can enter the resort.
Benefits of staying at the Johnston Canyon Lodge and bungalows
We recently spent a weekend at Johnston Canyon Lodge and bungalows and the benefits of staying on site are numerous. The staff at this resort really care about success. We received excellent service from the cleaning team as well as from the kitchen staff.
We loved the layout of the cabins. Our cabin was facing Johnston Canyon. At night the sound of running water was incredibly soothing. While visiting the Johnston Canyon in summer meant dealing with a large number of people sharing the trails, we found the canyon almost empty.
The resort has a BBQ area and some play areas for children. Our cabin was also fully equipped with a kitchen and had two spacious bedrooms and a claw foot tub.
Although I was a little concerned that staying in the cabins would be too isolating, we found the opposite. The cabins are really a return to an easier time. We unplugged it and spent every night playing games and chatting under the stars.
The advantages of staying at the Johnston Canyon Lodge and the bungalows are currently unrestricted access to all local hikes, as we can easily cycle the blocked part of the 1A freeway.
On our first day in Johnston Canyon, we explored the canyon and ended the hike to the ink pots with minimal contact with others. We had lunch overlooking the Upper Waterfalls and indulged in the true beauty of Johnston Canyon. We had time to watch the protected birds nesting in the gorge and explored every nook and corner without worrying about beating the crowd or coming home for a certain amount of time. It was a unique experience in a normally crowded park and I will never forget it.
On the second day we took our bicycles and drove on the freshly paved Autobahn 1A. Other families and more serious road cyclists joined us. With plenty of room to overtake each other, this was also a delightful experience. While exploring by bike, we could see several grizzly bears and ride bikes alongside some very adorable mountain goats. All in all, cycling on the closed part of the 1A is a unique experience that should not be missed in 2020.
Know Before You Go: Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows
- The Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows has a shared BBQ area. They ask you not to set up individual travel BBQs at your own location even during this time.
- While bears don’t usually get into the canyon, the Johnston Canyon Resort is not a bear-free zone. The area surrounding the resort and 1A are areas of high bear activity. Bring bear spray to explore.
- To truly experience Johnston Canyon in complete solitude, take an early morning or evening stroll to the upper waterfalls. It is truly a unique experience to only hear nature.
- When you hike to the ink pots, pack and unpack what you take with you. The next trash cans are at the entrance to the hike.
Selected image source: Paul Zizka
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