Maligne Valley

This week I had planned to write an article about Jasper National Park and next week’s article was going to talk about Banff National Park, two large nature reserves in Canada.

However, I soon realized that would be a huge task. There are way too many beautiful lakes, waterfalls and viewpoints. Moreover, we only visited a few of them. And then there is a third problem: during my trips I never took notes because I didn’t know I would blog about my travels in nine months later.

So from now on I will be posting shorter articles about one area or feature.

The first one is Maligne Valley.

Maligne Valley is located south of the town of Jasper (Alberta). It was the Belgian Jesuit priest Pieter-Jan De Smet who first used the word “Maligne”, while talking about the fast-running Maligne River. Soon after, the name was used for the whole valley.



For visiting the gorgeous sites in the valley, you take a road five kilometres east of Jasper. Soon after, you’ll arrive at the first stop:

Maligne Canyon




The canyon is carved into the Palliser Formation by the swirling Maligne River. The result is a 2 meters wide and 50 metres deep canyon.

A self-guided trail runs along the canyon with signs explaining the geology of the canyon. Visitors can cross the canyon on four different bridges. Each bridge provides you with a different view. If you like hiking there is one short trail, about 2,1 kilometers long.

Medicine Lake




Next stop is Medicine Lake. Actually, it is not a lake, but a geological curiosity.

In Summer, the Maligne River, which flows underground, overflows because of the glacial meltwater and forms a lake. Sink-holes drain the water, but can’t keep up during Summer. In times of decreased water supply, in late Summer and Fall, the sinkholes can drain the water a lot faster and the area becomes a mudflat.

In fact, the Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site was established because of the drainage system of Medicine Lake.

The name “Medicine Lake” was given by the First Nations people because of the “magical powers” of the area.


Maligne Lake




The last stop on our visit was Maligne Lake. With a length of 22,5 km, Maligne lake is the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies. The Malign River feeds and drains this lake.

The First Nations people called it Beaver Lake.

There are two camp grounds and can stay for a maximum of two nights at each site. Hotels are only available in the town of Jasper. Make your reservations well in advance, between six months to a year. Hotel rooms are in high demand.

Make sure to arrive early in the morning at all three sites. Starting 9 a.m. the parking lots are quickly filled with tour buses and trailers.

For more information about the three sites, please follow these links:

Maligne Canyon

Medicine Lake

Maligne Lake

For more photos of Jasper National Park, please follow this link

Thank you for visiting!


Disclaimer: I own the copyright to all photos in this post.  Please contact me if you would like a copy.










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