Located within Jasper National Park, and not far from the main town, is Maligne Canyon. The canyon, carved into a Palliser Formation, is characterized by an incredible and distinct layer of limestone. Geologists suspect that some parts of the canyon originally existed as deep caves that were later exposed due to water erosion and glacial scraping. 

As the deepest accessible canyon in Jasper National Park and one of the most popular and impressive winter adventures in the area, visitors can get up close and personal with spectacular roaring waters, sheer limestone walls, and glacial formations, all experienced during a Maligne Canyon icewalk.

What to Expect When Discovering the Depths of Maligne Canyon During an Icewalk

Between December and March, visitors can descend into the depths of Maligne Canyon. During a three-hour guided tour, which can occur in the morning or afternoon, thrill-seekers can embark on a journey on ice, which can be up to 50 meters deep at some points. Covering approximately 3.5 kilometers of downhill terrain, the Maligne Canyon tour will take you on an expedition through walls of limestone, which seemingly grow taller and closer together the further you go. It won’t be long until distraction, in the form of ice caves, fossils, and waterfalls, naturally frozen in time, and up to 40 meters high, take a grip of your attention. 

The Canadian Tourism Commission has designated the Maligne Canyon icewalk as a signature experience thanks to its unique geological features and unparalleled beauty. 

What Type of Gear is Recommended for This Icewalk Adventure

Although you’ll be packing plenty of excitement for your Maligne Canyon hiking excursion, you’ll also need to have the right gear to tackle its uneven and sometimes slippery terrain. The canyon is often referred to as the most accessible in the area, though it is still recommended that you take a guided tour, utilizing the proper gear when exploring its great depths. Tour guides also act as knowledgeable resources on the elements and history of the area. Some gear to consider bringing or renting include (consult your tour operator prior):

  • Waterproof shoes/​boots
  • Winter shoe/​boot spikes
  • Hiking poles
  • Helmet

Beginner or Pro, Maligne Canyon Offers an Experience For All

When looking into the best things to do in Jasper National Park, a Maligne Canyon icewalk checks many boxes. It is an ideal excursion for those spending more than one day in the area and an exciting alternative for those who don’t ski or snowboard. This Jasper winter hike is not suitable for those six years of age and younger. 

Visiting in the warmer months? Maligne Canyon still has plenty to offer, including pathways and bridges for hikers of all abilities. Explore this natural landmark by crossing one or more of its six bridges at various points of the canyon.

A Delicious End to A Memorable Day: Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen

Inspired by the landmark that sits a mere 1‑minute walk away, the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen has a menu filled with smokehouse flavored items with the Canadian Rockies serving as its backdrop. Its proximity makes it the perfect place for a pre- or post-excursion meal. Grab a bagged lunch for your day-time hike, or sit in and stay awhile, the choice is yours. Experience the tastes of the nation and region by selecting from a drink list of Canadian wines, and Alberta beers. All pair well with its wide range of local hickory-smoked meats.

Keen to experience more activities around Southern Alberta? Check out some of these notable attractions upon your next visit. 

Special thanks to the staff at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites as well as the Quality Inn & Suites in Hinton, AB for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Southern Alberta