Johnston Canyon just outside of Banff, Alberta and it is is exactly what you picture when you hear the words walking in a winter wonderland.
We went on a brisk -20 day. Not the greatest idea, but we didn't have many days to pick from. In true Australian fashion no one was wearing the appropriate clothing. We would have looked quite the sight to all the people walking past us in their winter hiking gear, ice cleats and snow pants.
There are view points from both the upper and lower falls, both give you spectacular views. I suggest you go to both.
The walkways to get to both view points are narrow and you do need to make sure you are respectful to others and give them room to move.
My research on the area has suggested that this can be one very busy attraction in summer months as the large tour buses stop off here as well. In the warmer months try and go at the beginning or end of day to avoid the crowds. Apparently the tour buses don't usually have enough time to visit the upper falls, so they are usually slightly less busy.
Through more research I have also found that there seems to be a lot of tour companies
that will take you out there. I would recommend avoiding these unless they provide a great full day adventure that you cant refuse. The tours start at $70 per person and you could easily rent a car for the same amount for an entire day and check out all the beauties in the area.
The falls are located about 1/2 hour from Banff and maybe the same from Lake Louise, you could easily make this one of the stops on a planned cruise around the national park.
TIME NEEDED TO EXPLORE
Time to reach lower falls 20 minutes, 1.1 km one way,
Time to reach upper falls, 45 minutes, 2.6 km’s one way,
Return trip going to both lower and upper falls allow 2 to 2.5 hours.
If you are going to the falls in summer there is a cafe located at the entrance. Unfortunatley for us, its seasonal and wasn't open while we were there. Would have loved a little snack after finishing the walk.
Grid of photos below gives you an idea of what we were experiencing and the "winter wonderland" we were walking through.
Photo above of myself and Anj enjoying the views and taking some happy snaps.
Photo on the side - Sun peaking through the trees and shining down on a winters day
Not much is needed for the day. But below is a suggestion of some thing you could take along with you ..
* Hand Warmers: These were lifesavers. Without them there is no way we were doing the upper and lower falls.
* Toe Warmers: We didn't pack any for this trip, but I would suggest taking some.
* Snacks: Who doesn't love snacks! Leave some in the car for a bit of a snack when you return.
* Water: Again, unless you get really thirsty, id just leave some in the car for you to come back to.