Exploring Jasper: Maligne Canyon

Day 40 of the trip – Thursday, June 2nd – was our first full day to explore the Jasper area, and with mixed weather, Maligne Canyon was our first destination. Cathy and I had tried to go there last September, but access was blocked for some reason. In March 2014, though, I’d hiked up the canyon floor on the frozen creek, and it was amazing, so I was looking forward to getting back.

We had camped at Whistlers Campground just south of Jasper, and loved it. On Wednesday evening, we were visited by one of the elk we were warned about as we registered. Cow elk can be very dangerous when they have a little one with them. We were very surprised by how far she was allowing her calf to stray, though.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The calf elk came within about 50 yards of our campsite, but the cow came right to the edge of it. One of our idiot neighbours got charged by her when he pushed his luck to get a photo.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
Bella watching the elk. Tucker wasn’t as respectful and wouldn’t quit barking so got put in the motorhome.

Sheltie-husky cross, Bella relaxing in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The cow bedded down for the night in front of our site, but her baby was nowhere in sight. The green boxes behid her are electrical lockers – for $1 you can lock your electronic gizmons in one and charge them up.

Elk in Whistlers Campground, Jasper National Park
The huge campsites at Whistlers really let visitors enjoy their surroundings, and we were in no hurry to get moving. At 10:30, though, we reached the top parking lot at Maligne Canyon, where this sign shows the trails and bridges.

Map of Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Most people probably start their walk at the bottom of the parking lot where the canyon starts, but seeing the creek at the top of the parking lot puts the canyon into perspective. The creek there is just a normal Rockies creek.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Then it suddenly starts carving into fissures in the limestone.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Some wonderful formations can be seen.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Then the creek drops into the canyon some 25 meters (80 feet).

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The trail provides some excellent viewpoints, and 4 bidges across the canyon give even better views.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
A waterfall as the canyon gets deeper and deeper.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Wedged in the narrow top of the canyon is what’s known as a chockstone. Some day, it and the canyon walls will erode to the point that it will drop into the canyon.

Chockstone in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Looking up at the first bridge.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
I found myself wanting to get down to the canyon floor at many points, including this one. There’s no way down, though.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Another look at the spot above.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The view up the canyon from the third bridge, which a sign says is 10 meters (33 feet) above the canyon floor. It feels deeper. At many points, the opening at the top of the canyon is very narrow, perhaps 1 meter (3 feet).

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
By 11:15 we were down by the fourth bridge, where the canyon starts to get much shallower.

Maligne Canyon, Jas per National Park
Looking down from the fourth bridge. This was a particularly impressive spot to see from the ice, looking up.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
The next two photos are of a waterfall as the trail nears the canyon floor.

Small waterfall in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park

Small waterfall in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
This large pool is as far down the canyon as we went. Somewhere just below this pool is where I began the hike up on the ice.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
At 11:50 we were back at the first bridge, and it started to rain. By the time we reached the car, the rain was very heavy. Perfect timing.

Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Back in Jasper a few minutes later, the sun was out again, so we took Bella and Tucker for a town walk.

Welcome to Jasper, Alberta
Jasper the Bear used to be very visible on the main street, but now he’s tucked away in a tiny park pretty much out of sight.

Jasper the Bear in Jasper, Alberta
Back at the rig, some quiet time while the sky dropped some more moisture.


When the rain eased off, we decided to drive up to Pyramid Lake, which has some excellent hiking and photography. With this weather and flat light, neither worked for us.

Pyramid Lake, Jasper
Pyramid Lake Resort.


Back in Jasper, we took advantage of some sun to run the dogs at the leash-free park. Nobody else was there, but it had potential for future visits during our stay. The fence is very impressive, designed to keep out even the largest and most agressive wildlife.

Leash-fre dog park in Jasper, Alberta
Lac Beauvert was our next destination. Along the road, the forest area was all closed due to elk calving.

Closed area at Jasper due to elk calving
The light didn’t show off the colours that gave Lac Beauvert its name (“beautiful green lake”). That’s the gorgeous Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on the far shore.

Lac Beauvert, Jasper
Back at our campsite for dinner.

RV at Whistlers Campground in Jasper
Barbecued steak and a nice Okanagan wine – a fine way to end the day.

RV at Whistlers Campground in Jasper

For Friday’s adventure(s), we’d be looking at the aerial tramway, and Mount Edith Cavell.



Comments

Exploring Jasper: Maligne Canyon — 6 Comments

    • That canyon is such a beautiful area….we truly enjoyed walking that trail.

  1. HEY THERE
    thanks for the tips , we will be hitting the area in September 20’s .
    by the reservations the place should be full fall colors.
    see ya on the trail!!!
    Jake

  2. Great pictures, thanks.

    Will be there in September. Hope to see lots of fall colors.

  3. That area is something special – I felt your pain at not having good weather and good light on this leg of the trip.