Maligne Lake is one of the most famous destinations in the Canadian Rockies and is the largest lake located inside Jasper National Park. This beautiful destination draws visitors from around the world to enjoy the towering mountains, glaciers and crystal blue water. While we didn’t see Maligne Lake in its full glory – the mountains and glaciers were covered in clouds and the ground had a thick layer of fresh snow – we still had an incredible day exploring the lake. We got to see Maligne Lake transformed into a winter wonderland, and loved the look of the canoes and boats covered in snow.
The journey to and from the lake was what made this destination special for us, as we got to take in the views of Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon and saw a herd of Big-Horned Sheep walking along the middle of the road. We visited here in that awkward in-between season; there was snow, but the lake hadn’t frozen over yet. The mountains would have looked beautiful if the sun had broken through, but we just didn’t have the best of luck this day.
If you want to know what this place should look like, google search “Spirit Island in Jasper” (one of the most Instagram worthy places in the Rockies) and just look at the mountains and the crystal clear lake. Even without the views of the mountains or glaciers, it was still an incredible place to visit. We went for a short walk along the edge of the lake along the Mary Schaffer Loop Trail, trying our best to enjoy the snow.
One of the most popular ways to explore the lake is by boat (either by canoe or tour boat) We chose not to go out for a lake tour because we knew the views would be less than perfect, and it gives us a reason to come back and visit another time. There are several great day hikes in the area, as well as a multi-day 44km hike called the Skyline Trail, which goes from Maligne Lake to just outside of Jasper.
The lake is fed and drained by the Maligne River, and on the road up to the lake, you can also stop for great views of Maligne Canyon and Medicine Lake. On the way back to Jasper we visited Maligne Canyon, which over thousands of years has carved a 50-meter deep canyon into the landscape.
Honestly, we enjoyed the lake so much, even without the views of Glaciers and Mountains. The running theme for many days on our trip was “wow, this would be so great to come back to in the summer” and we’ve already started looking into ways to return to the rockies sooner than later, especially to experience Maligne Lake as it was meant to be.