BEAUTIFUL!! I just wanted to scream those words. I was so blown away with the Maligne Lake scenery in Jasper National Park. It was much, much grander than I expected. And kayaking Maligne Lake is one of the best ways to experience the grandeur, especially once you get past Spirit Island.
Maligne Lake is only 44 km (27 miles) from the town of Jasper. It’s an incredibly popular spot to take the Maligne Lake boat cruise(including Spirit Island) – which I highly recommend doing, but only if you’re not inclined to canoe or kayak. Kayaking Maligne Lake is an exceptional experience and one that gets you into a part of Jasper National Park few people see. As a day trip from Coronet Creek Campground, you can hike the Henry MacLeod Trail– and you probably won’t see another soul.
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Kayaking Maligne Lake for its full 22 km length was our plan so we could camp at the Coronet Creek Campground. At precisely 8 AM, with two phones going, I nabbed the last campsite on the day I booked.
Weekdays are easier to book than weekends. Phone (780) 852-6177 (MST) or book a backcountry reservation in Jasper National Park starting on March 20, 2023 at 8 AM MST.
It costs $11.50 to make a reservation and $12.75 per person per night to camp.
You can camp for a maximum of two nights at each of the three campsites. Wardens come around and check that you have a valid permit.
Hidden Cove is the first one you reach, 3.5 km from the Maligne Lake launch site. It’s got four sites in a sheltered cove and the distance is perfect for families.
Fisherman’s Bay is next, 13 km down from the launch site, just past the Samson Narrows and only one kilometre from Spirit Island. It has 8 campsites. Reportedly it’s a great place for fishing – but be sure to get a permit.
Coronet Creek is 21.3 km down from the put in. It’s a beautiful spot with 8 campsites.
If you didn’t get the campsite reservation you were looking for, don’t give up. Be the first to know when there is a campsite cancellation for your desired trip dates by visiting Schnerp.
Location map of Maligne Lake
The best time for kayaking Maligne Lake
We kayaked Maligne Lake over the July long weekend. Bugs were never a issue but often from early July until mid-August the bugs can be a royal pain and detract from the trip. Of course if it’s windy that’s not a problem – except for paddling.
September can be a great time to paddle – but you have to keep an eye on storms. It varies a lot from year to year.