One of the most photographed locations in Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake is famous for the gorgeous emerald color of its water, the dramatic peaks and glaciers that are visible on its banks and for its views from Spirit Island. French traders coined the name ‘Maligne’ for the lake as well as a canyon, mountain and pass, meaning malignant or wicked—perhaps as a result of the turbulent rivers that flow into the lake.
The largest lake in Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake is no longer considered ‘wicked’ but instead is one of the most popular spots in the park for hiking, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. The 27.3 mile (44 km) Skyline Trail, Jasper's most popular multi-day hike, begins at Maligne Lake and finishes near the town of Jasper. Other popular day hikes include the Opal Hills and Bald Hills loops; winter activities include cross-country skiing.
Maligne Lake is 14 mi (22.5 km) long and is 318 ft (97 m) at its deepest point, but averages 115 ft (35 m) in depth. Scenic boat trips to Spirit Island, located in Maligne Lake, are popular during the warmer months. With its backdrop of glacier studded mountain peaks, Spirit Island is one of the most photographed islands in the world.
Entry into Jasper National Park is $9.80 for adults, $8.30 for seniors and $4.90 for youth ages 6 -16. A 1.5-hour tour to Spirit Lake will cost $61.95 for adults and $30 for children. Jasper National Park and Maligne Lake are open year round, but adverse weather conditions may cause temporary closures of some roads.