Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Johnston Canyon in Winter

During the summer season Johnston Canyon is one of the most sought after destinations in the Banff National Park. Hundreds of tourists visit the falls daily. And for a good reason as the falls and the canyon are spectacular

During the winter the trails and catwalks are still open and offer a hike of a totally different kind.

Instead of gushing rapids of turbulent turquoise glacier water, beautiful and intricate ice sculptures shine in the soft low winter light.

Still not a place for those seeking solitude, but one can easily find a parking spot and doesn't have to squeeze in between other hikers along the catwalks.

The trails are semi-maintained and easy to hike. It is recommended to have some kind of traction device with you though, for these icy winter days. We use the Yaktrax which are available in the Banff  Visitor Center.

After only 1.1 km the Lower Falls come into view..

... here an even closer view.

Light and shadow, canyon and ice are providing hundreds of shades of white, from the almost pure white, to tan to all sort of blue hues.

A smaller waterfall along the trail....frozen for the time being...

After 2.7 km and a few more of these catwalks

the basin of the Upper Falls opens up.
During the summer months standing on the overlook of the Upper Falls leaves you wet and dripping, this time of the year the falls are still trickling but otherwise rather approachable.

Please feel free to click on the images to enlarge them. The frozen water resembles dripping stalactites and are an rather amazing sight close up.

On the weekend we hiked the Canyon, the perfect combination of weather and temperature seemed to appeal to ice climbers, too. It's breath taking to watch them if not a bit scary. But all the ones we saw that day seemed to know what they were doing.

Ice climbing in a T-shirt....only in Canada, eh?