Maligne Lake & Spirit Island – Canada

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Surrounded by the snow peaked valley of the gods this lake was fed by glacial melt water from the 3 glaciers you can see from spirit island. This stunning turquoise lake is accessible by car or shuttle buses from jasper and should be on everyones bucket list.

Maligne Lake from the Cafe
Maligne Lake from the Cafe

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Getting to Maligne Lake

We were travelling from Edmonton towards Mt Robson with a rental car that we had for our road trip. We had planned to stop at the lake and see what was there to do and either take out a canoe or head on a boat cruise.

Top Tips:

  • We had the gypsy app installed on our phones which educated and directed us during our journey. It was like having a private tour guide without the inconvenience of keeping to their schedule.
  • Don’t forget to get your Parcs Pass otherwise you will not have access to the national park.

Eery Medicine Lake

As we turned off from the main route to Mt Robson and Jasper we soon came to Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake is beautiful but there was also something a little eery about this area. The trees were all scorched from a Forrest fire a year or two before and had not yet regrown. The rain started as we were sat taking in the view, despite the grey clouds and ‘eeriness’ it couldn’t ruin the view or our excitement. It had a dark turquoise colour and although the visibility was limited by the rain and incoming fog it still gave a lovely view. We just hoped it would clear enough for us to view Maligne lake in all it’s glory.

Maligne Lake

Spirit Island and the wild flora
Spirit Island and the wild flora

When we arrived at Maligne Lake, there was a cafe, a small canoe boat house and a booking booth for the boat tours. The weather had cleared up but the temperature had dropped due, I’m assuming from the exposure of the lake and the snow still on some of the peaks.

We had a soup, sandwich and hot chocolate whilst waiting for our booked boat tour to spirit island. I want to be honest here the cafe is very expensive and this is where we started to see the prices that others had warned us about when visiting the area. The quality of the sandwich and soup, wasn’t anything special to rave about and quite basic. It certainly wasn’t bad and there were some meals on offer which looked really nice. My advice if you have the money spare, get one of the meals or save yourself the money by bringing a flask and some lunch with you, then eat on one of the benches by the lake (away from the cafe decking).

Maligne Lake Boat Cruise

Spirit Island surrounded by the Valley of the Gods
Spirit Island surrounded by the Valley of the Gods

Maligne lake is so beautiful and the further down the lake you go by boat or canoe you slowly start to see the colour of the water change to bright turquoise. We opted to for the cruise due to the temperature and being a little tired.

As you get to the south side of the lake you reach the valley of the gods and arrive at Spirit Island. On the way out the skippers tell stories about the local exploration, environment and the significance of Spirit Island (which I wont spoil but you will find yourself in awe and immersed in the stories they tell). When you get off the cruise at spirit island, there is a short trail to allow you to get a better view of the valley and the island.

The Valley of the Gods

The Valley of the Gods which are the mountains you see surrounding the south end of the lake is named so as it is believed if the gods were to have a meeting, they would meet here and sit at each mountain.


The Boat cruise is approx $80 – make sure you book ahead, we watched a few people who had turned up get turned away. Click here to book with a great deal (Update: Get Your Guide now provide a great flexible cancellation policy in light of recent events).

I should point out that all of these pictures were taken on an overcast day (by me) and are not edited in any way (because i’m lazy and honestly I’d rather show the pictures as they are). This just demonstrated the natural beauty of this lake.

Other Things To Do Here

  • There is also a great tour that combines the Maligne cruise with waterfall and wildlife tour. We did just the boat cruise but I think we will plan to do the waterfall and wildlife as well next time.
  • You can hike around the lake but you must be aware of the wildlife, take bear spray and ideally be with a group and a guide.
  • We also like the idea of canoeing if the temperature is milder on our next visit.

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Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

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