Off the Beaten Path: Mistaya Canyon – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Some may say that this gem of a place isn’t really off the beaten path because it is just off of one of the most famous highways in North America, the Icefield Parkway, in the northern portion of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

You could easily lose your “self” while staring into the rushing water coupled with the mesmerizing sound effects.

Mistaya Canyon is one of most spectacular natural wonders that I have ever experienced. It is not heavily advertised and I didn’t even have it on my list of must-see places as I drove through Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks in the Canadian Rockies. I just happened to stumble upon it along my drive through the park. And because it’s not heavily advertised, it wasn’t very crowded either when other parts of the parks were overrun with tourists and visitors.

…because it’s not heavily advertised, it wasn’t very crowded…

I was there in July at the height of busy season and found a parking space easily. There were only a moderate number of people there which was wonderful, and I felt that there was enough space to be completely alone in, when I wanted to enjoy the solitude as well.


There is a short and somewhat steepish walk down to the canyon from the parking lot, which has plenty of parking for RVs. The walk is about 10 – 15 minutes along a groomed path. When you arrive you at the canyon you’ll be able to view the raging waters that continue to carve their way through the rock in the canyon from the bridge. But the best experiences I had were when I ventured onto the rocks and down alongside the river. The different vantage points makes for a more complete experience from different perspectives. When I was there I saw a few people wading in the calmer parts of the river cooling their feet off in the cold glacier water.

I stayed there for at least an hour taking in the sound of the roaring water and the various scenic perspectives from the rocks. You could easily lose your “self” while staring into the rushing water coupled with the mesmerizing sound effects. I could have stayed there all day long, but alas I had to move on. I will return one day.


* All text and images are copyrighted and protected by copyright laws. Use or reproduction of any kind are prohibited. All rights reserved. © 2019 Carolyn Quan / The Happy Little Bird / Dream World Media LLC. 

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