Located within Jasper National Park, Maligne Canyon offers up some interesting hiking trails year round with views into and from the 160 foot deep canyon.
You’ll want to stop at “Bridge 5” for the main hiking paths into and around the canyon.
My visit to Maligne Canyon was for a winter time ‘ice walk’ – during the winter months, when the river has frozen you can walk into the canyon and explore from below. This offers up some spectacular views of frozen water falls, ice climbing opportunities and a close up view of some interesting geological formations. Stopping to take some photos resulted in the hike being just short of three hours, so dress for the weather and be certain to have room on your camera’s memory card.
Also, several tour companies will gladly take your money ($55 and up per person) for a 2-3 hour guided tour here. Save your money and do it yourself – just be cautious, you are walking on a frozen river so watch for cracks, and holes in the ice. If you go to the canyon in the later morning/afternoon, you can likely hike “close to” a guided tour and have the benefit of eavesdropping in on the conversation and safety chats.
Once deeper into Maligne Canyon, you’ll start to see frozen water falls, still flowing water falls and the more interesting rock formations caused by the fast flowing river and corkscrew effect of rushing water.
Here is a brief video I shot on the Nikon D3200 as I listened in on this tour guide.
The River is quite interesting here, as it flows as a typical river from Maligne Lake for several kilometers – but then, disappears underground. As you travel through the canyon, you can also see several underground feeder locations as the water flows out of cracks in the rock and into the river.
The hike back out of the canyon offers up some beautiful views of the canyon as well as the Rocky Mountains in the distance.
Maligne Canyon is a great half day hiking excursion. Bring some snacks to enjoy along the way and plenty of water. Don’t forget to #treadlightly – it was disappointing to see trash that has been deposited along the trail.