Should I visit Maligne Lake?

Spirit Island becomes an island in the spring when the ice and snow melt raises the level of Maligne Lake. Photo by answerfinder CC-BY

Spirit Island becomes an island in the spring when the ice and snow melt raises the level of Maligne Lake. Photo by answerfinder CC-BY

The beautiful Maligne Lake is to be found in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and contains the iconic landmark of ‘Spirit Island’. The lake should certainly be on any visitors’ itinerary when touring the area.

Maligne Lake is situated in Japser National Park, Alberta, and lies 48km from Jasper. The drive to the lake itself offers outstanding scenery and the chance to spot wildlife. There is also a walking route known as the Skyline Trail for those who have more time and energy.

You arrive at the southern end of the 22.5 km lake at the Maligne Lake Boathouse Lodge and Restaurant. From there you can hire canoes, go hiking, white-water rafting, or, as most of the visitors do, take the scenic cruise.

The scenic cruise is taken on boats which take approximately 60 passengers. The cruise takes about an hour. The boats are enclosed, but there is an open viewing platform at the stern. You receive a commentary from the crew as you proceed down the lake stopping at Spirit Island for a photo opportunity. Beyond there, for environmental reasons, only canoes are permitted.

Spirit Island became famous after a photograph of it won a Kodak competition in the 1930s and it was painted as a mural in Grand Central Station in New York.

The scenery around the lake is stunning with views of the Maligne Mountains, its glaciers, and, if you are lucky, a chance to spot some wildlife such as bears, moose or wolves.

If you intend going on the scenic cruise, in my opinion the best time is to arrive early morning and take the first boat out. If the weather good, then the lake will be calm and serene, and the surrounding mountains will be reflected in the lake. It takes your breath away. Another reason for arriving early is that you will miss the crowds which tend to arrive later in the day by coach.

Overall a trip to Maligne Lake will provide wonderful memories to last a lifetime. For more information visit the Maligne Lake website:

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