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maligne canyon

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Sunderland
posts: 381
reviews: 7
maligne canyon

We are staying four nights in Jasper at the beginning of August, travelling with a two and a half year old toddler. We very much want to visit Maligne Canyon on one of our days in Jasper but are obviously limited in the amount of walking we can do without a buggy for our toddler. I believe there are different starting points for viewing the canyon? What do you think would be our best route? We would like to see the best we can without pushing our boy beyond his limits! Thanks.

Edmonton
posts: 373
reviews: 4
1. Re: maligne canyon

You can walk on the walkway with a toddler. We did it with two toddlers (2 and 3, and I was pregnant with #3) , all the way to the bottom and back. The kids threw rocks in the waters, and enjoyed it. Just follow the marked path, and you'll be fine.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 13,132
reviews: 87
2. Re: maligne canyon

The most spectacular parts of the canyon (the deepest part) is from the top, down the first three bridges. It is downhill from the first bridge; there are six in all. There are also parking areas at 5th bridge and 6th bridge, but they are both at the bottom of the canyon and you will have an uphill walk to get up to the more spectacular part of the canyon. Sixth bridge is near the confluence of the Maligne and Athabasca Rivers; if you walk there, you will want to keep a close eye on your toddlers - the river flows very fast there; I knew a young child who fell in and drowned. Up higher where the canyon is deep, there are guard rails and fences to keep people and kids away from the edge.

Sunderland
posts: 381
reviews: 7
3. Re: maligne canyon

Thanks for the replies. So which bridge is the best starting point? Are there different parking areas? Kathy09, where did you start your walk? Is it a full day or would it be possible to see Maligne Lake on the same day? Is the Spirit Island boat ride worth doing do you think?

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 13,132
reviews: 87
4. Re: maligne canyon

The main parking area is at the very top of the canyon, labelled "Maligne Canyon" or "Maligne Tea House" (sorry, I don't recall). It is almost right across from the Maligne Hostel (there is a 30 km/hr speed zone through that area because of all the turning traffic and pedestrians). There are interpretive panels you can view before you start walking along the canyon, and there is also a cafeteria/restaurant. The bridges start as you descend from the parking lot. If you want to limit your walking while seeing the most impressive part of the canyon, park at the teahouse and walk down as far as the third bridge, and then back up to your car.

Many people "do" the Maligne valley as a day or half-day trip. The highlights are Athabasca Lookout (just a bit before the turn-off to the canyon), the canyon, the viewpoint at Medicine Lake, and Maligne Lake itself. The lake cruise is very beautiful, but it is expensive (around $50 per person). The boats are not very big (they hold about 45 people, with a narrow aisle down the middle and a very small open-air area at the back) and while children are welcome, depending on your child's tolerance for sitting still and quietly, it may not be an ideal activity for a toddler (being in a small, enclosed space with a bunch of other people who may be trying to pay attention to the tour guide's narrative), although maybe if you go during nap-time, he will fall asleep for some of it. The tour is about 90 minutes long - you are in the boat for all of it except for about 15 - 20 minutes viewing time at Spirit Island (there is a short trail from the boat dock to the viewpoint where everyone takes their shot of the iconic view.) If you decide not to do the boat cruise, there is a short walk on the lakeshore that is very nice.

Sunderland
posts: 381
reviews: 7
5. Re: maligne canyon

That's excellent, thank you. Think we may give the boat a miss, a shame but not worth it. An unhappy toddler = unhappy parents and I would hate to spoil the experience for others. As for the lake shore walk, is it obvious? And do you know whether it is wheelchair/buggy accesible? Thanks krp329.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 13,132
reviews: 87
6. Re: maligne canyon

You're very welcome!

The lakeside trail (called the "Mary Schaeffer loop", iirc) is on the left-hand shore - walk towards the historic "Curly Phillips" boathouse (I believe it was built in 1929). There are also benches and picnic tables near the lake, just past the boathouse. The trail is not wheelchair accessible, and I can't say for sure about a "buggy" (I assume you mean what we call a "stroller"?) It's a lakeside and forest trail - rooty or rocky in some spots, but relatively flat. If you have a small, very manoeuverable (sp?) stroller, I don't think you'd have too much trouble.

Sunderland
posts: 381
reviews: 7
7. Re: maligne canyon

Yup! A stroller is what I mean, and we'll leave it behind as long as the walk is not too long? We won't make speedy progress but our little one will enjoy rocks and roots. And I guess in scenery like that, time to take it all in will be perfect. Thanks again.

Downey, California
posts: 21
reviews: 12
8. Re: maligne canyon

I want to butt in a bit and say this is very good stuff and I thank you too. I will be there in a couple of weeks and this is one of the walks we'll be doing. Sounds like if you start at the end and go backwards, the easy part of hiking would be getting back to your car as it would be downhill. Thank you for sharing.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 13,132
reviews: 87
9. Re: maligne canyon

Googled up this page for you -

pc.gc.ca/eng/…c.aspx ... the loop is 3.2 km, which may be a bit much if your little one is walking/being carried. In that case, you may want to walk out along the lake, and then back the same way... probably the most interesting for a small child, as there will be tour boats, and canoes to watch. It seems to me there is also a little "beach-y" area, where there will be small stones to throw in the water.

Sometimes there is even a moose in the lake in that area, "home bay".

In August, unless it is a hot day, there may be some mosquitoes - pack some repellent.

Yes, Ron, at the canyon if you park at 5th Bridge and walk up to the top of the canyon, then you can walk down to your car.

Calgary
posts: 556
reviews: 108
10. Re: maligne canyon

I also did Maligne Canyon with a toddler. (3 yr old). If you start at the top parking lot then you don't want to take a stroller. It's too steep and rocky in places. We didn't walk the full length. I think we just went to the third bridge and then turned back.

As for the boat trip, it was one of the highlights of our stay in Jasper. The scenery is just magnificent. Our daughter handled it quite well. But then she did have two older sisters to keep her occupied.

BTW - if you're heading down to Banff you can do the Johnson Canyon hike with a stroller. At least to the lower falls. There are a few stairs to navigate but it is doable.