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Beautiful backdrop at the campsite at the far end of Maligne Lake

Kayaking Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

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BEAUTIFUL!! I just wanted to scream those words. I was so blown away with the Maligne Lake scenery. 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. Book campsites for July or August when the weather is usually good and the temperatures are warmer but know that it can literally snow at any time.

Maligne Lake is only 44 km (27 miles) from the town of Jasper. It’s an incredibly popular spot to take a boat cruise – 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.

The early morning beauty of Maligne Lake
The early morning beauty of Maligne Lake

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Getting campsites on Maligne Lake

John and I were keen to kayak the length of the 22 kilometre lake so we could camp at the Coronet Creek Campground. In fact at precisely 8 AM, with two phones going, I nabbed the last campsite.

When reservations open, either get on the phone or online so you get the dates and campsites you want. I booked our trip for the July 1st, the Canada Day long weekend. Three days was the perfect length of time to do the trip.

Weekdays are easier to get than weekends. Phone (780) 852-6177 (MST) or book a backcountry reservation in Jasper National Park starting on February 2, 2022 at 8 AM MST.

You can camp for a maximum of two nights at each of the three campsites. Hidden Cove is the first one you reach – and it’s perfect for families. Fisherman’s Bay (13 km down from the launch) and Coronet Creek (21.3 km down from the launch) are the other two campsites. Wardens come around and check that you have a valid permit.

It costs $11.50 to make a reservation and $10.50 per person per night to camp. And you must have a valid National Park’s Pass.

Location map of Maligne Lake

                                                               

Photographs will give you an  idea of  how wonderful it is to kayak Maligne Lake 

Our launch spot - we didn't get on the water to start kayaking Maligne Lake until 12:30 PM
Our launch spot – we didn’t get on the water to start kayaking Maligne Lake until 12:30 PM
Grand scenery the further down the lake you go
Grand scenery the further down the lake you go
Lunch at the Sampson picnic area - a break from kayaking Maligne Lake
Lunch at the Sampson picnic area – a break from kayaking Maligne Lake
Colourful canoes lined up along the shores at the Coronet Creek Campground
Colourful canoes lined up along the shores at the Coronet Creek Campground
The view from Coronet Creek Campground - at the far end of Maligne Lake
The view from Coronet Creek Campground – at the far end of Maligne Lake
Kayaking Majestic Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
Beautiful backdrop at the campsite at the far end of Maligne Lake
This deer could be seen traversing the camp several times a day
This deer could be seen traversing the camp several times a day
We were incredibly lucky to see this male spruce grouse
We were incredibly lucky to see this male spruce grouse
Also lucky to see the female spruce grouse - who is sitting on four squawky chicks
Also lucky to see the female spruce grouse – who is sitting on four squawky chicks
A bench with a view
A bench with a view
Wildflowers formed a carpet in places
Wildflowers formed a carpet in places
"A tent too big for the tent pad"
Laughed when I saw this oversized tent – spilling over the edges of the tent pad
Nice to be able to have a fire at the Coronet Creek Campground
Nice to be able to have a fire at the Coronet Creek Campground
Canoeists setting off from Coronet Creek Campground
Canoeists setting off from Coronet Creek Campground
Kayaking Majestic Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
The sky did magical things to Maligne Lake
Kayaking back to our launch spot on Maligne Lake
Kayaking Maligne Lake back to our launch spot

Kayaking Maligne Lake useful information

Canoes, kayaks or a boat powered with a tiny motor – 3 horsepower or less I believe are allowed.

Bear lockers are provided as are tent pads at each campsite.

There is an open air – but private – toilet.

Bring a tarp and pack for every possible type of weather – from sun to snow.

You can have a fire in the fire ring. As the summer progresses firewood will be increasingly difficult to find. Consider loading up your kayak or canoe on the way down to the campsite.

Dogs are allowed on a leash – even at the campsites.

You can rent canoes and kayaks right on the lake though the prices are steep.

You can use a boat with a 3 HP motor
You can use a boat with a 3 HP motor

Where to stay the night before

It’s a good idea to spend the night before in Jasper so you can get an early start on the morning you want to paddle. You can certainly book a campground in Jasper – but do that well in advance.

Your other option is one of the many hotels on the strip. In summer, they tend to book up quickly.

Suggestions include The Crimson Jasper, Pine Bungalows and Tekarra Lodge.

Some gear to take on the trip

There are a couple of items I’d suggest for your kayaking trip.

Pick up a map of topographic map of Maligne Lake.

Take some Tenacious Tape – in case you rip something like your tent or jacket. 

A camp pillow makes a big difference to how well you sleep.

Don’t forget to take a water filter or tablets for water purification

Further reading on paddling in western Canada

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park multi-day paddling trip

 

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