Mistaya Canyon in Banff National Park is a spectacular canyon formed by the Mistaya River that has curved and cut its way through the rock for thousands of years. There are plenty of stunning photo opportunities at Mistaya Canyon with the river that features waterfalls and rapids and surrounded by beautiful forest plus the mountains that provide a beautiful scenic backdrop.
The Mistaya Canyon trail is an easy 10 minute walk about 1/3 mile (.5 km) from the parking area that uses an old logging road through the forest. The trail begins on the north end of the parking lot. It’s downhill the entire way until it reaches a bridge providing opportunities to view the river deep in the canyon, though you won’t be able to see much of the river in the canyon you will certainly be able to hear the roar of rushing water. Crossing the bridge provides the ability to walk upstream before the point where the river narrows where you will find the rapids.
There are no barriers present (except at the bridge) so you’ll want to be careful not to get too close to the edge and risk slipping, especially if you are visiting with children. Though Mistaya Canyon has become more popular in recent years you won’t find the crowds that you see in other spots, so consider packing a snack or lunch to enjoy during your visit.
Be prepared for the return trip which is a steady uphill walk, though not too demanding some may require a rest break or two.
Location and Parking:
Parking is available and easily accessed along the west side the Ice Fields Parkway (Hwy 93), it’s located about an hour north of the Lake Louise junction (71 km) or 6 km south of Saskatchewan Crossing.