Waterfall and Lake Moraine | Banff

Friday, October 31, 2014

Since this was our first time in Banff, we wanted to see all the classic lakes and views. I would highly recommend all the places we went, starting with the Tunnel Mountain Hike in the last post, Moraine Lake and Johnston Canyon in this post, and Lake Louise and my favorite, the Lake Agnes hike in a coming post. I have no doubt that when we return, we'll have a slew of new hikes and lakes to see, but this is a good starting point.

We did a quick side trip to Johnston Canyon, which was a beautiful hike, or more like a walk, along a river. The rushing water has carved deeply into the rock around it over time. There are stunning foot bridges that hug the rocks and take you high above the river at points. When you get to the falls, you can go inside a cave that has a second opening to the falls. You are so close at that point, that you'll definitely feel the spray of the falls. So much so, that it's hard to take a photo because you'll instantly get water droplets on your lens. It's extremely loud and wet and awesome. Our photos don't do it justice. Also, it's worth mentioning that this is one of the most popular "hikes" in Banff so it's not very private, but it's pretty quick and worth a trip if you are passing by.

Moraine Lake was nuts. I think the most rewarding views are the ones you have to work for, at the top of a mountain, for example. At Moraine Lake, you can pretty much drive up to the view, but it's still nuts. I wish we had time to rent those colorful canoes and explore the lake more. We really enjoyed just being still on the dock and watching chipmunks race around on the piles of logs stacked up along the shore.

On the way to these spots, we took a scenic route along Bow Valley Parkway instead of staying on the main highway. This is where we saw our first elk in an open meadow with a stunning mountain backdrop. Scenic routes are the best.

Driving back to camp that night, we saw our second grizzly bear! Perfect way to conclude a really good day.

- Julia

Johnston Canyon Hike (source)

Time: 1 hour round trip (lower falls... what we did), 2 hours round trips (upper falls)
Distance: 2.2 km (1.4 miles) round trip to lower falls, 5.2 km (3.2 miles) one way to upper falls
Level of Difficulty: Easy/moderate
Elevation Gain: 30 meters (lower falls), 120 meters (upper falls)

Johnston Canyon Hike
Johnston Canyon Waterfall
First elk spotted along Bow Valley Parkway.
Moraine Lake


  1. Oh gosh I love the pictures! It looks really nice there. I love the animalpictures!

    I hope you had a wonderful trip!

  2. Wow it looks amazing. All the pictures are beautiful but especially loved the ones of the wildlife!


  3. Love all your pictures! Can't believe you saw such wildlife!


  4. It seems like you were the only ones in the area. Was that the case? I once had a beach on a remote island for myself for almost two hours before I spotted another visitor. Maybe that's how some people would feel around Lake Moraine. Anyway, gorgeous images as always!

  5. Wow this is beyond gorgeous. I need to get movin' and start seeing some places like this.
    Awesome photos and post! I love the ones next to the canoes. The color is fantastic against the fog.


  6. Absolutely breathtaking!!!
    Our Journey to Everywhere

  7. Wow, seriously this hike is so breathtaking! This makes me want to camp so bad. xx


  8. Beautiful pictures like always! <3

  9. Those pictures are insane. Absolutely beautiful area!

  10. Lake Moraine looks absolutely beautiful!!! LOVE! I'll have to see this place one day :)

  11. beautiful pictures!!!! i love your blog :-)

    by the way, will you also post something from your south-america trip?


  12. wow the color of that water is insane...
    Can't believe I've still never gone camping. This looks amazing.

    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  13. Love the kayak shot! I've been wondering all year what trip you'll use for your calendar...will there be a 2015 calender?! I've been following you since the beginning of your honeymoon trip, it is such a joy to look through your photos!


  14. Cannot believe how close you got to that bear! What a beautiful part of this country I call home :)

  15. Your pics are phenomenal! As was this trip - so jealous you got to go there :) Great blog guys, i'll be bookmarking you two.

  16. Absolutely stunning guys!!! I'm in awe every time I stop by your blog. Keep it coming!

  17. i love love love banff, especially johnston canyon. I'm heading there in the spring actually! gorgeous captures, every photo is on POINT!

  18. so inspiring!