Fed by water from glaciers, the murky-blue watered, iced-capped and mountain-lined Maligne Lake (pronounced “muh leen” by the locals) is the oldest attraction in Jasper National Park and has perhaps the world’s best 90 minute boat ride. A ride here makes any Canada travel experience complete.
“Best” is a term relative to a traveler’s past experiences, but the Maligne Lake boat ride is not likely to be disappointing. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains – even in July.
This traveler has been on New York’s Lake George ferry, the ferry from Manhattan to Ellis Island in New York, a cruise down the Connecticut River, and the Martha’s Vineyard ferry from Rhode Island. Even a recent cruise around the harbors of Barcelona, Spain is second to the Maligne Lake boat ride.
Though these other boat rides were enjoyable, they lack the blue-green glacier water. They aren’t lined by the most incredible mountains you will have ever scene. They don’t have the clean mountain air or that feeling of relaxation that you can only get when you are a day’s drive from any city. The Canadians have a hidden gem on their hands.
The boat tour runs about 90 minutes and a guide talks part of the way and gives a nice history of the lake and points out some of the sights. The tour stops at Maligne Lake Lodge and there’s a short break where everyone gets out. Once on the shore, there’s a short looping trail that offers some spectacular views of Spirit Island.