Jasper Tour – Maligne Canyon
After the SkyTram, the next part of our Jasper Tour was a 15 minute drive to Maligne Canyon (French for “Wicked”) . We spent just over an hour at Maligne Canyon, walking down the steep, narrow canyon and crossing 4 of the 6 bridges that span it. Then we retraced the drive to Maligne Lake that we had done earlier in the morning. We passed Medicine Lake, which looks like the remnant of a drained reservoir. I learned from our boat tour later that Medicine Lake fills in spring with glacial runoff from Maligne Lake. The water then runs underground and comes out at Maligne Canyon. By the fall, Medicine Lake is empty and the small stream that meanders through its silty flat base is still supplying Maligne Canyon.
Spirit Island Maligne Lake Cruise
Jasper Tour – Spirit Island
We reached Maligne Lake by mid afternoon. The Spirit Island stop on the Lake Maligne boat cruise was a highlight of our Rocky Mountain vacation. Spirit Island is at about the mid point of the lake. A box canyon tipped in snow and small glaciers frames the island. Spirit Island became famous when Peter Gales took a photo of it for Eastman Kodak. When the photo became part of the gigantic Kodak Colorama displays in New York in 1960, millions of people decided they wanted to see the real thing.
The boat has a dock beside Spirit Island, where there’s a short pathway providing numerous photo opportunities. No one can walk on the small island. It’s a sacred place for the Stoney Nakoda First Nations people. The Stoney’s maintain a spiritual marker on this island, even though the land is now legally part of Jasper National Park.
We finished up our Jasper Tour portion of our Canadian Rockies adventure with an early morning drive to Edmonton, where we returned the rental car and caught a flight home. We spent 6 full days in Jasper and Banff, but it took only two exceptional days to make the trip a perfect memory.