Tips for visiting Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park

We headed to Maligne Lake to start our day in Jasper National Park with a Maligne Lake Cruise. Below we share our experience and what to expect when you take the cruise!

Maligne Lake Cruise

Maligne Lake Cruise Tickets

Cruise boarding for the Maligne Lake Cruise

It is recommended that you purchase tickets well ahead of your planned time in Jasper. Tickets do sell out and if you want to get the day and time you prefer the sooner you can do it the better!

Click here to book your Maligne Lake Cruise.

Maligne Lake Cruise Launch

When you reach the lake they have a Waffle Hut (open seasonally), a restaurant and coffee shop and a gift shop. Plus a nice outdoor seating area for the restaurant or picnic tables if you brought your own lunch.

You can also rent canoes and kayaks here or just hang out down by the lake or go on a walk on the edge of the lake.

We opted to do the boat cruise and arrived 30 minute early to check in (this is highly recommended) and boarded about 15 minutes before your launch time. We got onto our boat – which had row seats that were big enough for 3 people. With windows you could open by each seat.

Our captain went through the safety procedures and off we went! It was going to be a 90 minute trip with a 15 minute stop on Spirit Island.

On the way to Spirit Island our tour guide told us stories about the area, the history of the area and all the different ways people explore the lake and get to Spirit Island – taking the boat cruise was definitely the easiest way!

Carson on the Maligne Lake Cruise Boat

She also talked about the wildlife including what that can be seen by the lake. Mainly black bears, grizzlies, and bald eagles. We did not see any wildlife on our trip.

During the boat ride you can sit in your seat and look out the window at the amazing views and beautiful blue water color as you listen to the tour guide. Or you can go on the back deck and stand and take in the views that way. We did a combination of both.

Spirit Island

Kids at Spirit Island

Once we reached Spirit Island we got off the boat and walked on the trail up to the viewpoint looking over Spirit Island. It is an unbelievable view.

Spirit Island walk

From there we walked back down by the shore of the lake and touched the water before heading over to the pier to hang out there for a minute and grab a family picture (just ask the tour guide – she was happy to take it for us). Before getting back on the boat to head back.

Ride Back

Back of the Maligne Lake Cruise boat

Our tour guide taught us all about the mountain ranges we were seeing, the glaciers we could see and the Stoney people who first inhabited this amazing area.

The lake is only unfrozen for a short about of time each year and it is well worth stopping to visit and getting out on a boat cruise to really take in the beauty of the area.

Maligne Lake Cruise Boat Seats

We did see multiple people out kayaking. Which you can do to Spirit Island. Our guide told us it would take you about 5 hours to get there and 5 hours back. I would love to take that challenge on some day but for now sitting back in the boat was a perfect and enjoyable option!

Once we got back to the boat launch we got out and had our picnic lunch we had brought with us sitting at the picnic tables over looking the lake.

Picnic lunch by the Maligne Lake Cruise

It is a busy place with lots of tour buses and tourists coming through but also very peaceful with the beauty of the lake and the surrounding area!

We highly recommend a Maligne Lake boat tour when you are visiting the area!

Extra stop: In route to Maligne Lake, pull over and explore Medicine Lake. It’s the famous ‘disappearing lake’ that vanishes and then re-appears annually as it drains and then refills underground caves.

Fun fact: Mary Schäffer was the first non-Indigenous person to explore Maligne Lake in the 1900’s.

The beautiful Maligne Valley is a must see part of Jasper National Park.

More Things To Do In And Around Jasper National Park

Maligne Canyon Hike – How Not To Get Lost!

Columbia Icefield Adventure – Is It Worth It?

27 Breathtaking Things To Do In Banff National Park [Itinerary included]

White Water Rafting In Banff With Chinook Rafting – What To Expect

Learn All About The Golden Skybridge And Why You Don’t Want To Miss it!

Should You Do The Banff Gondola?

Horseback Riding In Banff National Park With Banff Trail Riders

Visit Lake Louise – located between Banff and Jasper National Park.

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You won't want to miss the Maligne Lake Cruise when you visit Jasper National Park! The water color is amazing and Spirit Island is a special place to visit!

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