Is this last account of my weekend in Jasper ever overdue! I wanted to tell you all about my experience playing around Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park.
Even though I had a seven hour drive home, I opted to hit up Maligne Canyon before hitting the road. All the research I read online suggested it and it was super close to the hotel I was in, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, so it was a must see.
I planned to go right down into the canyon to play and explore so you can imagine my shock when I reached the first bridge and saw the canyon must have been 200 metres deep! It was incredible!
My first thought was how if I was travelling with my grandma how she would be able to make it as far as the first bridge to look at the canyon because it’s paved from the parking lot to this point. After this bridge though the terrain changes.
Speaking of bridges- the Maligne Canyon trails consist of about six bridges, with the 5th and 6th being at a lower elevation. My word of advice is to park at the sixth or fifth bridge and go UP to the canyon so on the way back you’re going down.
Anyway, the trail takes you down along the canyon edges. It was still early enough in the seasons that the water at the bottom of the canyon was frozen.
A little ways after the second bridge I came to an “entry point” to the canyon. At this point it was no longer as high and at the time the canyon floor was really dry so off I went to see what the canyon had in store. I would have gone up into the deeper parts of the canyon if I had crampons but it was way too icy.
I had a blast! Being off the trail and in a canyon meant I felt completely isolated and at liberty to talk to myself and laugh and giggle as I hopped around and took pictures.
The canyon very quickly opened up to a river bed and I came upon a beautiful waterfall.
I walked along the rivers edge until it became pretty impassable and I headed back up to the nearby trail.
I came upon the fifth bridge which was beautiful and took a turn in the fork to head into the forest to see the sixth bridge.
The walk through the woods was gorgeous because they would open up and give me a peak of the river and mountains. I saw an underground spring bubbling up from the ground and heading towards the river which was so cool.
But as I looked at the time I started to get a little anxious to get to the bridge and head back up to my car since I really had to hit the road. When I finally got to the sixth bridge I was disappointed because it was just a regular road bridge on a gravel road, nothing scenic or overly special.
I turned around and started hoofing it back to the car. This where I realized I had been doing a slow descent the entire way without realizing it and I sure got in quite the workout huffing and puffing as I went up, up, up.
There is a teahouse in the parking lot of Maligne Canyon but it wasn’t open for the season yet which was disappointing. I definitely want to hit the canyon again and go up into the deep parts to explore.
I barely scratched the surface of all to do and see in Jasper and I really need to head back soon!
LEAVE NO TRACE
On a side note, Maligne Canyon is a popular tourist attraction and well maintained so it pissed me off when I picked up two empty coffee cups thrown on the trail. I understand that a lot of the people who visit the canyon aren’t hard core hikers, they come and stroll along and sip their coffees but really? Littering? Please respect nature everyone! We live in such an incredible place and we should do everything we possibly can to preserve it.
OTHER HIKING ESSENTIALS