Jasper’s real jewels are off the beaten track. Get away from the Yellowhead Highway (16) and the Icefields Parkway (93) and head southeast from the town up the Maligne Valley. This area is unspoiled by the hordes of tourists who visit Banff, and receives a surprisingly small percentage of those visiting Jasper. You should give yourself a day to explore this part of Jasper National Park.
Jasper Maligne Attractions
Here are the natural attractions in Jasper National Park from the town to Maligne Lake (north to south):
- Lac Beauvert
- This kettle lake, formed by a melting block of ice from the glaciers, has the beautiful Jasper Park Lodge on its shores. Water from this lake now comes via a 17 kilometre long underground stream from Medicine Lake.
- Maligne River
- The Maligne River marks the dividing line between the Front Ranges and the Eastern Main Ranges, like the Bow River does in the lower part of Banff National Park.
- Maligne Canyon
- This canyon, cutting a 23 m (75 ft) channel through limestone was created by the Maligne River, is the deepest and longest limestone canyon in the Canadian Rockies. A self-guiding trail, crossing over 6 footbridges with spectacular views, leads to a teahouse.
- Medicine Lake
This lake, 27 km from Jasper, is on the Maligne River. It is unusual in that the spring runoff flows enters at the south end, but the lake has no surface outlet. The water drains via underground channels into the Maligne Canyon and Lac Beauvert, near Jasper. It takes the water 20 hours to make the 17 kilometre journey. By fall, Medicine Lake is nearly empty.
- Maligne Lake
This 22 km (14 miles)long lake is featured in all the photographs of Jasper and is the largest in the mountain parks. Maligne Lake is up to 96 m (315 ft) deep and offers boat rentals and boat cruises around the lake. You can also explore the many hiking trails in the area.
- Brazeau Icefield
- This icefield, on the east side of Mount Brazeau on the southern tip of Maligne Lake is accessible using a hiking trail from the end of the lake up to the icefield (you should take a boat to get to the base of the mountain).