Johnston Canyon Campground is a large campground in the heart of Banff that makes the perfect base for exploring the mountains, lakes and canyons on this amazing Canadian National Park.
We opted to avoid the more crowded town on Banff and camp during our recent visit to Banff and will share the details on our time at Johnston Canyon Campground.
Location and Accessibility
Located approximately 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of the town of Banff along the scenic Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), the campground is easily to get to by car. The ride from Banff is very pretty and takes about 30 minutes.
For those coming from Lake Louise, it’s a convenient 30-minute drive to the east. The proximity to the stunning Johnston Canyon itself is a highlight, as this natural wonder is just a short walk away from the campground.
Johnston Canyon Campground is located right new to the Johnston Canyon and Ink Pots hike and the historic Bow Valley Parkway, are also within easy reach, making Johnston Canyon Campground an ideal basecamp for exploring the wonders of Banff National Park.
The campground offers a variety of campsite options, from standard tent sites to RV-friendly spots with electrical hookups. For those who prefer added comfort, Parks Canada offers equipped camping options, providing all the essentials for a hassle-free stay. Additionally, the campground features accessible amenities, including clean restrooms and coin-operated showers, ensuring a convenient experience for all visitors. Whether you’re a family with children, a solo traveler, or an outdoor enthusiast with special requirements, Johnston Canyon Campground strives to accommodate every camper’s needs amidst the stunning wilderness of Banff National Park.
Johnston Canyon Campground Facilities
Johnston Canyon Campground has a well-designed layout with a mix of campsites to cater to various preferences. The campground is divided into two loops: A and B, each with its own unique charm.
Loop A offers a more intimate and secluded atmosphere, while Loop B features larger, open sites suitable for both tents and RVs. Campers can choose from a range of site options, including unserviced sites for those who prefer a more rustic experience and powered sites with 15-amp electrical hookups for RVs.
Additionally, Parks Canada offers several equipped campsites with a pre-set tent, sleeping pads, and cookware.
Each campsite is relatively big with fire pits, picnic tables, and tent pads.
The tent pads are level and well-maintained, ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep. RV sites in Loop B come with electrical hookups to power your devices and appliances.
There are bathrooms, trash and other amentities were clean and well located with an excellent dish washinging station.
Reservations and Fees
You should plan to book your campsite in advance as Johnston Canyon fills up, especially during the busy summer months. You can see more details on reserving a campsite on Parks Canada.
Things to do Near Johnston Canyon Campground
- Explore Johnston Canyon: Start with the obvious – hike through Johnston Canyon itself. The trail is well-maintained and offers breathtaking views of waterfalls, turquoise pools, and lush forests. Don’t miss Lower and Upper Johnston Falls.
- Ink Pots: Continue your hike past the Upper Falls to reach the Ink Pots. These colorful mineral springs are a unique natural phenomenon and provide an excellent spot for a picnic.
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site: Learn about the history of Canada’s national parks at this nearby site. It’s where the idea for the creation of national parks in Canada originated. There are informative exhibits, guided tours, and natural thermal mineral springs to see.
- Bow Valley Parkway: Take a scenic drive along the Bow Valley Parkway, which runs parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway. It’s a quieter route with plenty of viewpoints, wildlife spotting opportunities, and hiking trails.
- Lake Louise: Just a short drive from Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise is one of the most iconic destinations in the Canadian Rockies. You can hike around the lake, rent a canoe, or visit the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
- Moraine Lake: Another nearby gem is Moraine Lake, known for its stunning turquoise waters and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Hike the Rockpile Trail for panoramic views.
- Banff Town: Drive to the town of Banff for shopping, dining, and exploring. Don’t miss Banff Avenue, the Banff Park Museum, and the Banff Gondola for even more incredible views.
- Sulfur Mountain: Take the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulfur Mountain for panoramic views of the Bow Valley, the town of Banff, and the surrounding peaks.
- Lake Minnewanka: Enjoy a boat tour or rent a kayak on Lake Minnewanka. There are also hiking trails in the area, like the Aylmer Pass Trail.
- Johnston Canyon Resort: If you want to stay near Johnston Canyon, consider booking a cabin or room at the Johnston Canyon Resort. It’s a cozy and convenient accommodation option.
- Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the Bow Valley Parkway. You might spot elk, deer, bears, and various bird species.
- Stargazing: On clear nights, the dark skies around Johnston Canyon provide excellent opportunities for stargazing. Bring your telescope or simply lay out a blanket and gaze at the stars.
Nearby Supplies and Restaurants
The best place to get groceries or go out to dinner is back in the town of Banff. There are plenty of options right in town or in the outskirts. The area right near the campground are remote and there aren’t many places to get supplies.
Our Experience at Johnston Canyon Campground
We spent 3 night at Johnston Canyon campground. We stayed in one of the tent sites and found the site large, private and comfortable. We had 2 tents and there were many level areas within the campsite and our sites are far enough apart that our neighbords did not keep us up even through they were up late at their campfire.