Maligne Lake is a ‘must visit’ if you’re visiting the town of Jasper and adventuring in Jasper National Park. We’ve been a few times now, and so I thought I’d pass on our tips today for what to do when you’re there.
First up there’s all sorts of water adventures as you might imagine. You can rent a canoe or kayaks to take a turn out on the water. However since this is a very large lake, you won’t get all that far on your own steam as far as views down the lake go.
There’s also tour boats you can take which go all the way down the lake. And of course they’ll take you by the famous view of Spirit Island!
One of our favorite things we did in the area was to hike up the Bald Hills. The hike itself isn’t known for it’s amazingness being pretty plain on the way up. But what you’re really after is the breathtaking views when you get to the top.
You can see the entirety of Maligne Lake along with the mountain range running along the length of it. This hike is also part of a backpacking route if that interests you as well. The roundtrip is around 13km with 700m of elevation gain, so it’s no slouch of a hike.
Depending on what your travel plans are, hiking the Bald Hills might be too much effort for just one awesome view. But if you have time for it, it is really stunning!
The drive up to Maligne Lake from Jasper takes about 1.5 hours depending on traffic. The good part is the whole drive is very scenic, and along the way you’ll come to Medicine Lake and the surrounding area. (Pictured in the previous 2 photos and the following 3.)
The views here are also quite stunning and it’s a great place to see wildlife early in the morning as well. There’s a fair bit of history in the area too, so if you can, take a moment to read some of the signs.
Things to do around Maligne Lake:
- Canoe, kayak, or take a boat tour to see the lake.
- Hike the Bald Hills for a stunning view of the enormous valley holding this beautiful lake.
- Hike the Maligne Canyon, (coming soon) during some part of your day. It’s quick, easy, and gorgeous.
- Take some time to stop and see Medicine Lake along the way.
- Safely enjoy the wildlife sightings you might see.
- If you have an extra 2 hours roundtrip, travel over to soak at Miette Hot Springs!
Speaking of wildlife, always view any wildlife from a safe distance. And by safe distance, I mean from your car where you are actually safe. Every time we’ve driven up to Maligne Lake, we’ve seen bears alongside the road. And every time there’s a tourist out trying to get close enough to get an iPad shot.
If you’ve never been around wildlife, just know that you cannot underestimate how dangerous they are when they feel threatened. This particular mama bear was just trying to eat berries with her cubs when a man got too close trying to get a photo. Luckily she huffed at him rather than charging, but they will attack when they feel threatened, especially when they have young with them.
When we saw this trio, there were so many cars jammed up on the road we couldn’t get passed. So I opened the sunroof and snapped off a quick shot from the safety of the car.
And finally a note about the weather! As you can see from this photo, the Canadian Rockies can be very cold even in July which is when this photo was taken. You’ll want to bring layers and be prepared for rain and snow in the higher elevations, even in the summer.
We didn’t want to accidentally get our hiking shoes or boots soaked, so we went out canoeing with our flip flops. And let’s just say we had really cold feet!
Even if you don’t have much time in this area, this lake is too gorgeous to miss. Pick even just 1 or 2 things to do and make a day of it, instead of trying to cram too much into 1 day like we did last time we visited!