Nov-Apr
Season
8:30am, 1:30pm
Departure Time
4 Hours
Duration
8+
Age
Active
Activity

Water cascades into this narrow canyon in the heat of summer, but in the winter the thundering falls freeze solid to create natural ice sculptures.

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in Banff National Park and has a network of steel catwalks built into the canyon walls that allows you to walk right along this cathedral of ice with airy views into the gorge below.

As you do, you’ll get to wander through a natural cave to gaze down at the flowering waters of the lower falls. Continue onto the awe-inducing upper falls — a glittering tower of ice that rise 30 metres above your head. These gigantic pillars of ice are the tour highlight and ice climbers can often be seen scaling the frozen columns.

This popular guided icewalk will lead you past the lower falls and on to the breathtaking upper icefalls. You will also travel through prime wildlife habitat to reach the falls and learn the clues to how Johnston Canyon was formed.

Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 135m (443 feet)
Guide Quote

Gina's Pick

"It’s amazing in the morning when no one else is there." - Gina , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

The best parts of the tour for most people include the following:

1

Bow Valley Parkway

Travel through prime wildlife habitat on the way to the trailhead.
2

Catwalks

Walk along the steel catwalks built into the canyon walls which allows a spectacular view down the canyon walls to the ice and river below.
3

Lower Falls

Walk through a natural cave feature for a unique view of the lower falls.
4

Upper Falls

Gigantic pillars of ice are the tour highlight and ice climbers can often be seen scaling the frozen columns. There will be a small refreshment break so you can enjoy the scenery and take photos.
Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 135m (443 feet)
Guide Quote

Gina's Pick

"It’s amazing in the morning when no one else is there." - Gina , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

The tour is 4 hours long which includes 2 – 2.5 hours for the icewalk. The 8:30am tour returns to Banff at 12:30pm, and the 1:30pm tour returns to Banff at 5:30pm.
This half day tour includes transport to popular Johnston Canyon for a guided hike to see the frozen waterfalls. Guests will hike along snow and the steel walkways called ‘catwalks’ built into the canyon walls that give an airy view of the gorge below, and past the lower falls and to the breathtaking upper falls.

We provide ice cleats that will be attached to your boots that will prevent you from slipping on the ice. We have hiking poles if you would like to use them for extra stability as well, and we can also provide winter boots if requested at the time of booking (please include your US shoe size).

We pick up from most hotels in Banff, and you can select your preferred pick-up location during the booking process. For drop offs, our guide will ask you on the way back where you would like to be dropped off either in town or at your hotel.
This tour does not walk on the ice (as it is fragile, dangerous and you can punch through to the icy flowing water). You will be following the steel catwalks that are built into the canyon wall and allow a spectacular view down the canyon walls to the ice and river below. The steel catwalks are above the canyon, and vary in height from ground level up to about 10m (30 ft).
The Icewalk is 5.4km (3.4 miles) and has an elevation of 135 metres (443 feet), with a total walking time of 2 – 2.5 hours. This icewalk is considered easy/moderate but it is the most difficult winter walk that we offer as the main elevation gain is done is short climbs (in some cases steep enough for steps), rather than being dispersed over the entire distance. Moderate fitness is recommended to ensure that you enjoy the tour.

We provide ice cleats that will be attached to your boots that will prevent you from slipping on the ice, and we have hiking poles for extra stability if you would like to use them as well.

The day and evening tours are different lengths of time, distance and elevation. The day tour is a 4 hour tour that includes both the lower and upper falls with 2 – 2.5 hours of walking and is a little more strenuous due to the increased distance (5.4km) and elevation gain of 135 metres (443 feet).

The Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk is a 2.5 hour tour that visits the lower falls with 1.5 – 2 hours of walking 2.2 km with an elevation gain of 65 metres (213 feet) and includes a souvenir headlamp (yours to keep after the tour!) to light your way under the stars.

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in Banff National Park, and has a network of steel catwalks built into the canyon walls that allows you to walk right along the frozen waterfalls (rather than directly on the ice). There are two Johnston Canyon Icewalk options, the daytime icewalk is a 4 hour tour that includes both the lower and upper falls with 2 – 2.5 hours of walking and is a little more strenuous due to the increased distance (5.4km) and elevation gain of 135 metres (443 feet). The evening icewalk is a 2.5 hour tour that visits the lower falls with 1.5 – 2 hours of walking 2.2 km with an elevation gain of 65 metres (213 feet) and includes a souvenir headlamp to light your way under the stars. On both Johnston Canyon Icewalks the walk is mainly up above the creek bed on a series of trails and catwalks.

The Grotto Canyon Icewalk allows you to walk directly on a frozen creek bed at the bottom of Grotto Canyon past unusual rock formations, ancient Native rock art, and icefalls. The Icewalk is 4.2km (2.6 miles) and has an elevation of 100 metres (328 feet), with a total walking time of 2 – 2.5 hours. This icewalk is generally considered easy, with a few small inclines.

You will be outside for around two hours and so we suggest warm clothes, including hats, gloves and warm boots. Ski gear (such as ski pants and jacket) is recommended. Wearing other sorts of clothing such as jeans will be very cold. For your shoes, we would suggest hiking boots or snow boots. We can provide winter boots if requested at the time of booking (please include your US shoe size).
It does get icy during the winter season which is why we provide ice cleats during the tour to give you extra grip while you are doing your icewalk. We cancel our tour at around -30 degrees Celsius or -22 Fahrenheit, and would offer to reschedule or refund your tour if this occurred.
There is a 48 hour cancellation policy, which allows you to change/cancel or refund your booking up to 48 hours outside your booked tour (up to 7 days for group bookings).
Tips are not expected, but are certainly appreciated. If you think your guide did a wonderful job and would like to indicate that with a tip, it will be graciously accepted.

Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 135m (443 feet)
Guide Quote

Gina's Pick

"It’s amazing in the morning when no one else is there." - Gina , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

  • The minimum age for this tour is 8 years.
  • Please note that this tour requires a minimum of 4 participants, please call the day prior to confirm the tour.
Included
  • Small group size (up to 12 guests per guide)
  • Use of hiking poles
  • Professional certified guide
  • Light snack & refreshment
  • Ice cleats
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Walking Distance
  • 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Elevation Gain
  • 135m (443 feet)
Guide Quote

Gina's Pick

"It’s amazing in the morning when no one else is there." - Gina , Hiking Guide, Discover Banff Tours

Johnston Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours
Johnston Canyon Icewalk with Discover Banff Tours
Johnston Canyon Icewalk
Johnston Canyon Icewalk