Lake Johnson a few kilometres out of Banff was, according to guide books, well worth a visit. A short drive out of town, it has a good walking trail round the lake. As it is at a reasonably low elevation it is usually snow free from April onwards though that wasn’t a consideration for us on a sultry August day.
With Banff being rather hot and smoky we were looking forward to the chance to walk in slightly clearer surroundings. 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) in total, the walk was relatively straightforward, a little uphill in parts though not particularly strenuous. For much of the trail you can enjoy lovely views back across the lake to Cascade Mountain.
The path also passes through spruce forests, crosses over a few mountain streams and winds through several glades where an abundance of juicy looking red berries were growing. We weren’t sure whether they were edible for humans but they would certainly appeal to the local bears. We knew that around late summer the bears are particularly keen to eat as much as possible to sustain them through the long barren winter months. Hence we went a little gingerly through the clearings full of ripe berry bushes (which our friend described as a “bear smorgasbord”) not wanting to come between any hungry bears and their afternoon snack!
No sightings however and we wended our way back unscathed to the picnic and recreation area at the entrance to the lake. Evidently this was a very popular spot with the locals – many families were enjoying picnics (we were a little surprised given the abundance of bear warnings round the place) or kayaking and swimming in the cooling waters of the lake.
Information panels gave us more insight into the eco system and environment in this part of the world.
Although there were quite a few visitors to the lake, for much for our walk along the trail we felt we had the place to ourselves. The lake was pristine and we had some respite from the smoky air caused by the drift from the wildfires further north. A peaceful and serene place, Lake Johnson is a lovely spot for a gentle hike.
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