Jasper National Park of Canada
Maligne Valley Travel Guide
Spirit Island and mountains, Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park© Parks Canada
Traveling east on Highway 16, turn right across the Moberly Bridge 5 km east of Jasper and follow the signs. The paved road up the Maligne Valley ends at Maligne Lake, 45 km south.
Maligne Valley Map
The Maligne road is open year-round. Expect temporary closures after heavy snowfalls in the winter.
Provide at least one hour's driving time from Jasper townsite. The complete tour can be accomplished in a day.
Watch for elk, sheep, bears and moose along the road, especially at dawn and dusk. Trails for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders intersect the road. Adjust speeds accordingly.
Weather at Maligne Lake can be more extreme than in Jasper townsite. Make sure you are well-prepared for cold and wet conditions.
A series of panels on the bridge near the last parking lot explain the sensitive ecosystems of the upper Maligne River, the habits of the colourful Harlequin Ducks that mate along it and the other wildlife species that depend on the area.
Roadside exhibits explain the unique geology of the Maligne Valley from the disappearing waters of Medicine Lake to the deep gorge of Maligne Canyon.
Opportunities to see moose, sheep, bears and caribou along the Maligne Road are excellent. Remember that watching wildlife, especially beside the road, comes with responsibility. For your protection and their survival, please:
- pull off the road completely or into provided roadside pull-offs;
- never feed or approach wildlife, this is unlawful in national parks;
- don't get out of your vehicle (use a telephoto lens to get the 'perfect picture');
- quickly continue along your way so that others may enjoy the opportunity also.
Maligne Lake is only one of the many outstanding natural features in the Maligne Valley. Plan to spend at least a day exploring this valley.
There is no road or trail access to Spirit Island. Commercial tour boats and private or rented, non-motorized craft are the only means of reaching the island.
When you stop at the Maligne Canyon, try to make time to walk the upper trail loop at least. You won't get the full effect of the canyon from the first bridge alone.
Take extra clothing; the difference in elevation can make it much cooler at the lake.
The park publication Maligne: Valley of the Wicked River is a great guide to bring along. It can be purchased in the Friends of Jasper National Park bookstore in the Jasper Information Centre.
- Athabasca Valley Lookout at kilometre 5.8
- Maligne Canyon at kilometre 7
- Medicine Lake at kilometre 20.7
- Maligne Lake at kilometre 45
- Hiking trail along the northeast shore of Maligne Lake and other longer hikes in the area, including the Bald Hills and Opal Hills trails.
Please don't throw coins in the Maligne Canyon. Coins often land on ledges, needlessly spoiling the natural beauty of the canyon.
Maligne Lake Travel and Wilderness Campgrounds