We didn’t ACTUALLY get lost in Maligne Canyon as the trails for the Icewalk are well-marked but DID get lost in the stunning winter views in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.
Recently we spent a weekend in Jasper for an adventure at Pyramid Lake Resort and The Crimson Hotel. Both locations are great for easy access to activities throughout the National Park plus in town, and on our drive to Jasper and out to Maligne Canyon, we saw wildlife such as elk, wolf, fox, and owls, and in the spring to fall I expect to see some bear, as well. They are all wild, so please read up on tips for spending time in the wilderness if this is something new to you.
The Maligne Canyon Icewalk is a hike you must do when you visit Jasper in the winter — it’s also known to be the deepest canyon in the Rockies. The water is mostly frozen, so the winter hike along the floor of the canyon has a different feeling than walking along the trails in the summer and seeing the rushing turquoise water below, and the snow adds a blanket of quiet to the forest. Depending on the time of the year, the water may not be completely frozen so you can access only part of the icewalk’s hiking trails. If this is something high on your priority list, make sure to call before booking, to ensure the trails are open.
For those who prefer a bit tamer of a walk in the winter without climbing down into the canyon yet still have stunning views, you can walk the upper paths along the rim of the canyon and cross the first two bridges then walk back to the parking lot and Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. There’s a fence along the paths for safety and a map of the different walking paths and the intensity level clearly indicated on the map at the beginning near the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. There are six bridges to walk and stunning canyon views at each crossing with bridge two crossing the deepest section of the canyon and the third bridge will give you a spectacular view of a frozen waterfall. This is the route I walked before warming up beside the outdoor fire, then heading inside for a hot drink and dinner!
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
The modern rustic smokehouse, café, and gift shop are located at the trailhead of Maligne Canyon and main parking lot, you can’t miss it! I probably don’t need to share more than just this one photo to show how amazing the food is… from charcuterie boards to double-baked onion soup, to garlic parmesan fries… we did not go hungry! My favourite dishes include the mac and cheese and smoked/glazed baby back pork ribs with homemade barbecue sauce, all created by Chef Stuart Allen using locally-sourced ingredients. Delicious! ‘ll have to visit again and try the Canyon Poutine and of course, more ribs! [Menu]
Visiting Maligne Canyon in both summer and winter will give you a completely different experience each time. I’ll be heading back in the summer for a whole new experience, who’s with me?