Maligne Lake of Jasper

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Written by Rick Wilson posted on Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Jasper National Park, Alberta

The sights of the Rockies are like my children and like any parent, I have my favourite. Lake Louise during spring has always been top of the list… until I saw Maligne Lake for the first time. I knew a few facts about it. I knew that it was the most famous photograph of the Canadian Rockies and I knew that over 8 million people voted the river’s boat tour as the best in Canada but nothing can prepare you for the extraordinary beauty that hits you upon arrival.

The natural beauty of Maligne Lake.

The natural beauty of Maligne Lake.

Though it was first spotted by Henry McLeod, a Canadian Pacific Railway surveyor in 1875, this lake is always remembered for the parks first tourist Mary Schaffer who explored the park and was a female ahead of her time. Stretching 22km north to south, Maligne Lake is surrounded by a circle of rocky peaks that can not be photographed badly. One of the main reasons people visit here is for Spirit Island. This is a tiny little island that held a spiritual place for the first Nations people. It is this island which is used for so many photos and postcards of the Rockies.

Though you can tour the island on the aforementioned boat tours, there is a much better alternative. Rent a few kayaks, get some waterproof packs and camping gear and hit the lake yourself. There are two lakeside campgrounds where you can sit by a fire and relax the arms after a day of paddling. This is a particular favourite amongst newly married couples with an adventurous (trying to kill new spouse) streak! It really is one of the most unique ways to see one of the greatest sights not just in Jasper or the Rockies but in all of Canada.

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