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Kayaking Majestic Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

BEAUTIFUL!!

I just wanted to scream those words. I was so blown away with the Maligne Lake scenery. It was much, much grander than I expected.

"Mid morning reflections on Maligne Lake"

Mid morning reflections on Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake is only 44 kilometres (27 miles) from the town of Jasper. It’s an incredibly popular spot to take a boat cruise – which I highly recommend doing – if you’re not inclined to canoe or kayak.

But John and I were keen to kayak the length of the 22 kilometre lake and camp at the Coronet Creek Campground. In fact at precisely 8 am, with two phones going, I nabbed the last campsite – on March 30th. Reservations can be made 90 days out, and since this is a very popular spot, I knew I had to be on the phone the second the line opened.

I booked our trip for the July 1st, Canada Day long weekend. Three days was the perfect length of time to do the trip.

These photographs will give you a good idea of just how wonderful our Maligne Lake kayaking trip turned out to be.

Packing our kayaks to start the trip"

We didn’t get on the water until 12:30

"Heading down the lake with grander and grander scenery"

Grand scenery the further down the lake you go

"Lunch at the Sampson picnic area"

Lunch at the Sampson picnic area

"Colourful canoes lined up along the shores at the Coronet Creek Campground"

Colourful canoes lined up along the shores at the Coronet Creek Campground

"The view from Coronet Creek Campground"

The view from Coronet Creek Campground – at the far end of Maligne Lake

"Beautiful light on the mountains as the sun set"

Beautiful light on the mountains as the sun set

Kayaking Majestic Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

Beautiful backdrop at the campsite at Teh far end of Maligne Lake

"Beautiful reflection of mountain peak in a pond"

Reflection of mountain peak in a pond – taken at about 9:45pm

"The camp deer"

This deer could be seen traversing the camp several times a day

"A Spruce Grouse"

We were incredibly lucky to see this male Spruce Grouse

"The female Spruce Grouse"

Also lucky to see the female Spruce Grouse – who is sitting on four squawky chicks

"A bench with a view of Maligne Lake"

A bench with a view

"One of the many glaciers we saw"

One of the many glaciers above Maligne Lake

"Wildflowers formed a carpet in places"

Wildflowers formed a carpet in places

"A tent too big for the tent pad"

Laughed when I saw this oversized tent – spilling over the edges of the tent pad

"A group made up of three generations"

A patriotic group made up of three generations – making some Jiffy Pop Popcorn

"Canoeists setting off from Coronet Creek Campground"

Canoeists setting off from Coronet Creek Campground

"The Maligne Lake cruise boat"

The Maligne Lake cruise boat

Kayaking Majestic Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

The sky did magical things to Maligne Lake

"Kayaking back to the start"

Kayaking back to our put-in

Really useful information if you want to kayak or canoe Maligne Lake

  • Book up to 90 days ahead of time. Weekdays are easier to get than weekends. Phone (780) 852-6177 (MST).
  • Canoes, kayaks or a boat powered with a tiny motor – 3 horsepower or less I believe.
  • You can camp for a maximum of two nights at each of the two campsites. Fisherman’s Bay (13 kilometres down from the launch) and Coronet Creek (21.3 kilometres down from the launch) are the two campsites. Wardens come around and check that you have a valid permit.
  • It costs $11.70 to make a reservation and $9.80 per person per night to camp.
  • Bear lockers are provided as are tent pads.
  • There is an open air – but private – toilet.
  • Bring a tarp.
  • Pack for every possible type of weather – from sun to snow.
  • You can have a fire in the fire ring. As the summer progresses firewood will be increasingly difficult to find. Consider loading up your kayak or canoe on the way down to the campsite.
  • There is an excellent 16 kilometre day hike from the Coronet Creek campsite. Read about it here.
  • Dogs are allowed on a leash – even at the campsites.
  • You can rent canoes and kayaks right on the lake though the prices are steep.

"Mountain reflections"

Have you been to Maligne Lake?

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Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Michael says:

    But it is BEAUTIFUL! So grand. That first photo certainly conveys why you felt like screaming it out loud. Canada is such a great place for outdoor enthusiasts

  • Steve says:

    Obviously I haven’t been to this lake, but it is drop-dead gorgeous, and I’m impressed that you kayaked the whole way. I’d definitely love to take that cruise you mentioned sometime just to get to see this beautiful area for myself.

  • Wow – what incredibly beauty – so cool, clear and serene with all temperatures showing in the colours. Love the goth birdy, too.

  • Jackie Smith says:

    Absolutely beautiful. A most tantalizing post.

  • Seriously, Leigh, this is the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen! How did you leave?

  • Laurel says:

    I’ve been to Jasper several times, but have never been on Maligne Lake. I know the boat rides are expensive, but I think that canoe or kayak would be a much better way to explore it anyway.

  • @Marcia It wasn’t easy leaving. At the far end of the lake there are no motorboats and it is incredibly peaceful.

  • @Laurel I think the boat rides are $55 per person (+tax). Kayaking or canoeing is definitely the way to go. In fact one couple who hugged the shore the whole way back came across a family of moose. We missed that as we took the shortest route across.

  • Ayelet - All Colores says:

    Love the photos! Kayaking or not, this place is added to my dream list.

  • You certainly don’t have to kayak to enjoy Maligne Lake – though kayaks can go to the far end of the lake where motorboats can’t go.

  • Well, I wish I could have been along on this trip. The McAdams family knows how to celebrate a holiday. Fun trip and fabulous photos.

  • fink says:

    argh! Now I regret not taking a peek down that road. Just finished the drive from Banff to Jasper and I want to go back and do it again and again. Your photos are wonderful.

  • Uriah Steeves says:

    This is an incredable trip, with the ease of launching right from your car and well maintained wilderness campgrounds, makes for a prefect experience. I took my wife to Coronett Creek for her first kayaking trip and she loved it. Scince then we have kayaked around northern BC, California and had just done Myrtle lake this past september with our five and three yr old girls. We have fallen in love with kayaking and it all goes back to our first trip to Magline Lake. For anyone who wants to do this trip just go! It changed my life. :)

  • Chakri says:

    Hi, I am just beginner in Kayaking. Done couple of kayaking trips last year. Can I be able to pull off kayaking in Maligne Lake without any issues?

    • Leigh says:

      @Chakri Commonsense goes a long way as does being prepared. You could aim for the family-friendly campsite on a first tour and see how comfortable you are. It’s in protected waters and only 3.5 kms from the launch. Start with easy and build up. Get out a few times before you go on a camping trip. Take a course to build your confidence.

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