Maligne Canyon is easy to get to from Jasper and it is popular because of its wilderness appeal. Because of the softness of the rock, the canyon is both steep and smooth-looking and it is a picturesque sight.
The canyon is a result of the Maligne River “eating away” at the limestone valley it cuts through on its way from picture-perfect Maligne Lake to Medicine Lake lower down. Sometimes the water never gets there, adding to the mystery of the place.
There’s no need for a guide at Maligne Canyon, the trail is clearly marked and paved. As you walk along the top of the canyon, you’ll notice it becomes deeper. In places, trees can be seen teetering on the canyon’s edge as it continues to be eroded. The water at this point passes through so many caves and tunnels that it is nearly impossible to keep track of. In fall the water stops flowing into Lake Medicine, which has puzzled people for centuries.
Further down, the trail takes you to a succession of bridges spanning the river. Each of these provides a great spot to watch the water flow by far below. At the third bridge, take photos of waterfalls and the steep canyon below you. Most tourists turn back here, but it is definitely worth your while continuing until the end. The natural beauty on the way is even more pristine than in the first section of the trail. If you can’t walk that far, drive to the fifth, and final, bridge along the Maligne Road.
Don’t leave without visiting the Maligne Canyon art gallery. See the extensive collection of Native American and Inuit art and enjoy its restaurant. Take time to admire the displays of sculptures and paintings by Norval Morrisseau, who has been dubbed “A Picasso in the North Country.”
If you wish to take home a souvenir, visit the gift shop. You can buy anything from cheap souvenirs to artwork worth many thousands of dollars.
Maligne Canyon is located in Jasper National Park near the town of Jasper. In winter the facilities close.