Maligne Canyon in the summer © Parks Canada/R. Bray
Waterfalls, fossils, potholes, underground stream outlets, the nests of ravens and rare black swifts, unexpectedly lush plant life and the startling effects of frost action - these are just some of the wonders of Maligne Canyon. Swirling, churning water has worn the canyon, only two metres across at some points, to a depth of more than 50 metres.
Maligne Canyon is carved into the Palliser Formation, a layer of limestone deposited in a shallow tropical sea by lime-secreting plankton about 365-million years ago. Some geologists speculate that parts of the canyon were originally deep caves that have since been uncovered by glacial scraping and water erosion.
Parks Canada has developed a self-guided interpretative trail along the canyon with signs describing the geological history of the area. There are four bridges across the gorge, each with its own special view. A short hiking loop tours the upper reaches of the canyon, while a longer trail follows the gorge and exits at a fifth and sixth bridge lower down.
Please resist the temptation to throw coins into the canyon - this needlessly spoils the natural beauty of the area.
Caution - For your own safety, do not cross the railings.