Finding ourselves in Jasper after a great morning spent sunrise-chasing at Lake Beauvert, Allison over at MySliceOfParadise and I made the snap decision to hike Maligne Canyon.
I’ve been through the canyon many times in the winter, it’s by far my favourite season for this particular Jasper, Alberta hike.
We parked at the Fifth Bridge, 2.9 kms up the Maligne Lake Rd (turn south off of highway 16 one km west of the Jasper townsite).
As with every hike, the truck keys were stashed safely in a zippered pocket.
The fifth bridge is steps from the parking lot. Years ago it was an amazing suspension bridge, but the flooding river in 2013 wiped it out and it’s since been replaced.
The trail is well marked with signage, and in the summer you must remain on high ground … however, in the winter you can follow along the river.
The river flows freely at the fifth bridge, and it can feel as though there’s no way will find yourself in the bottom of a frozen canyon further up but the water here has actually popped up from underground sources and as you make your way further up the canyon you’ll see that it is indeed frozen solid.
Tour companies bring groups through several times a day, so the path is beaten down and pretty easy to follow. Some sort of cleats or ICEtrekkers are highly recommended (necessary to me) as are Walking Poles. If this is your first time in the canyon, seriously consider booking a tour. Not only is it safer but you will learn so much more about the environment you’re about to explore.
We had our lunch on our back along with our camera gear. We were using this day to test and familiarize ourselves with the gear we intend to take with us on back country hikes this summer. Check out the sweet stainless steel mug from Folding Mountain Brewing.
The frozen canyon is different every year. I think that’s the reason it’s one of my favourite adventures.
Ice climbers are often on the frozen falls further up. Be safe, stay clear of them if you’re lucky enough to watch, and always be on the alert for falling ice.
Hiking along the bottom is not a long distance adventure, usually you can only get a couple of kilometres into the canyon at best. However, it tends to take us a couple of hours, minimum because we stop so many times to enjoy the space. We take a lot of photos.
I always like to sit by the river for a bite to eat.