Canyons/Waterfalls, Jasper National Park
A really neat walk to take. There are two ways to do it - the actual trailhead called "Maligne Canyon" is up the road a little ways...you start at the top of the canyon and work your way down. Alternatively, you can park at fifth or sixth bridge and head up. When we went, the fifth bridge was under repair, so the trail was abruptly closed (we started at the top of the canyon.) It turned out to be OK though - it was an amazing walk down the canyon. We got an early jump on the day - the parking lot is pretty good sized and by the time we were done, it was starting to fill in (along with the buses.) Starting at the top means heading downhill first - the trail follows along the river that cuts through the canyon. You cross the canyon via bridges four times (Bridges 1-4). Eventually, you'll get closer to the river, then head up again for some beautiful vistas. On the way back, there are some maps that show alternate routes for a slight change of scenery (We took trail 7 down, but came back on what I think was 7f.)
Visit Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park in the summer and you'll see a raging torrent of a river thrashing its way down the deepest canyon in the Canadian Rockies. A must do for any hiker visiting Jasper for the first time. But as thrilling as it is in summer, the canyon should also be visited in the off-season and not just to avoid hoards of tourists.
The canyon, which is pronounced 'Mal-een', is also the most peculiar canyon I've seen anywhere, well deserving of the name 'Maligne'(French for evil or wicked). During the off-season (mid-fall through late-spring) you'll see all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Like alternating sections of running water and dry river bed, water flowing upstream and waterfalls that are swallowed by the earth. You'll also see the whole canyon from bottom to top or put another way, from better to best.
Maligne Canyon is located in Jasper National Park along Maligne Lake Road. You will see the signs along the road for the turn off and parking lot. This is more of a short walk then a hike but it can be extended if you start at the lowest sixth bridge downstream of the canyon. For this you follow the Maligne Lake road approximately 2km (1.2mi) until you reach the Sixth Bridge parking lot. The hike form here is approximately 7km return. Another possible way is to keep driving further up the road to the fifth bridge parking lot that is a 4.7km (3mi) return hike. Most tourists will drive to the top fo the canyon and take a short walk to the Maligne Canyon lookouts. This is a leisure walk along the river where it plunges into the canyon, you can see how the river has corroded the rocky walls and how deep it has gone down already. Very interesting to see and a beautiful place to visit! There is also a restaurant and art gallery/gift shop at Maligne Canyon.
If you want to get out for a short easy hike start at the bottom sixth bridge parking lot. From this point elevation gain is approximately 110m (330ft), allow 3 hours return. The trailhead is located across the bridge at the sixth bridge parking lot. Cross this bridge over the Maligne River then turn right onto the Maligne Canyon trail. The trail runs upstream along the Maligne River towards the Canyon. Between the sixth and fifth bridge you will see several interesting underground streams bubble up and join the main river. When you arrive at the fifth bridge stay on your left, keep going straight ahead up the canyon trail. From this point the sharp canyon walls start to form and the trail now has a steel guard rail. Keep working your way up the canyon and cross the lookout bridges 4, 3, 2 and 1. Do not venture of the trail or over the guard rails as a fall into the canyon would be fatal. Maligne Canyon is one of the deepest river canyons found in the Canadian Rockies. The majority of the river runs 32km (20mi) underground from Medicine Lake to the Athabasca River. Depending on the rivers flow rate sections of the canyon and the river bed can become completely dry. The upper trail and it's 4 bridges offer outstanding views of crystal clear pools that have eroded into the rock, several waterfalls, canyon walls and the canyon bottom. Maligne Canyon's deepest point is approximately 55m (165ft). In spots the canyons top opening is only 2m (6ft) across. During the winter months most of the canyon is a frozen wonderland. Trailheads to Opal Hills, Bald Hills, Mount Edith Cavell, Sulphur Skyline, Whistlers Mountain, Horse Shoe Lake and Athabasca Falls are also located in this area. Also be aware that you are in bear country.
Technically this is in Banff NP , but its much closer to Jasper's Columbia icefields than any attraction in Banff so I'll include it here. There is a roadside stop to view from afar or a hiking trail for a closer view
At about ten kilometers east of Jasper is Maligne Canyon. Here the Maligne River through the years a fifty-meter deep gorge carved into the limestone that in some places no more than two meters wide. From several interconnected walkways, we can see the gap.
Maligne Canyon is just a short drive from the Jasper townsite. Once there you can hike a self-guided interpretive trail over 6 bridges to see this spectacular gorge. It plunges down over 50 feet and is very incredible to see. When I was here the water was still frozen, and I have never seen anything like a frozen waterfall before. It's gorgeous, and I would love to see it in the summer sometime.
There are plaques all along the trail describing the science and history behind this gorge.
There is a gift shop and restaurant as well.
UPDATE - April 2009 - I have just visited Maligne Canyon for the second time in the month of April. I did the hike twice on two seperate days. The first day I stuck to the trail and went much further than I did in 2007. The canyon is absolutely gorgeous, the river going from absolutely solid ice to still water to a gently flowing stream. The second day I ventured onto the ice. There are barriers along the trail, but there are places where you can onto the ice. It was a completely different experience. It felt like I was in a different world, walking on ice with frozen waterfalls around me, the world high above. There are several "Ice Walk tours" available from $50+, but you can save the money and do it yourself. Just be careful not to slip!
Located on the Icefields Parkway with a road side turnout to the right when you head towards the glacier. You also get a great view of Mount KItchener and often wildlife shows up also .We went totally crazy and took tons for pics of the falls.:)
See waterfalls and walk around in an old abandoned canyon. I liked the potholes carved out in the canyon walls where water once was. There is a little cove at the end of the trail where there is a large collection of mini totem poles made out of rocks. It seems to get more pieces each time I revisit this area.
Maligne Canyon is the perfect place to go if you're looking for a short yet splendid hiking trail. Swirling, churning water has worn this canyon to a depth of over 50 m. An interpretive trail winds its way from the picnic area across six bridges. The TeaHouse restaurant is open from March to early November.
The Maligne Canyon is well worth seeing and can be visited for a couple hours as it is quite close to the Jasper townsite. I did not have high expectation for it as I have already seen a few other canyons in the park, but I think this one is quite interesting. There are six bridges across the canyon, giving you the opportunity to walk over it and peek into its deep gorge, which is over 50 meters deep at one point. There is a hiking trail along the canyon, allowing you to hike from the first bridge to the sixth bridge. The first bridges are quite close to each other, and are the most interesting. However, if you want to hike to the last bridge, it is going to take a while.
this canyon is really nice but its not a short walk - ull have to walk from the parking place till the end and back (or find a ride from the parking place at that end to the place u left ur car)
the trail is very nice, and easy to walk and ull see on the way lots of rapids and waterfalls and even a nice weeping rock
Maligne Canyon is located 11 km east of Jasper along the Maligne Lake road.
It is a canyon like many others, but in its sort it is actually quite nice. A trail follows the rims of the narrow canyon and bridges span the canyon at several places. All in all a nice stop when visiting Jasper NP.
This is a picturesque waterfall located 96kms south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. Stop in for a look if you are visiting the Icefields Visitor Centre, it is nearby.
You can also hike here from Wilcox Pass Camp Ground, that's an 11km hike.
These tiny falls are a precursor to the mighty falls that lie ahead. These falls look quirky and playful as they splay in all directions over the cliff. Almost whimsical, although it would be wrong to anthropomorphize a waterfall.
A great dayhike is along the Maligne River which turns into the Maligne Canyon. From the Sixth Bridge to the Maligne Canyon visitor center and back is a four mile hike. The first half of the hike is a pleasant meandering forest walk. The Maligne River is visible at times, but nothing too dramatic.
A mile upstream you cross the fifth bridge and start trudging uphill. At this point things start to really get interesting as you will see on the following set of tips.