Spirit Island Tours
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Situated in Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Spirit Island is—for most of the year, at least—not actually an island at all, but rather a pint-sized peninsula connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land. A long-standing symbol of the Canadian Rockies, the tree-topped islet has featured on countless postcards and images of the park.
For many visitors to Western Canada, Spirit Island features high on their checklist of sights. The island is a sacred place for the First Nations people and visitors are not permitted to walk on it. You can, however, get close enough to the island to capture pictures during Maligne Lake cruises. Round-trip boat cruises usually last for about 90 minutes. Full-day sightseeing tours around Jasper National Park often combine a boat tour to Spirit Island with other destinations, such as Medicine Lake and Maligne Valley.
You can also kayak or canoe to Spirit Island; rent a canoe from the Maligne Lake Boathouse. If you do plan on paddling to Spirit Island, you may want to prebook a spot at a lakeside campsite, as completing the round-trip journey in one day can be challenging.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Spirit Island is a must for nature enthusiasts, with sublime views of Maligne Lake and the surrounding peaks.
- Note that the canoe trip to the island is about 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) one way and is best suited to fit, experienced paddlers.
- Wear sturdy boots if you want to explore lakeside hiking trails.
How to Get There
Spirit Island is situated in the southern half of Maligne Lake. The northern end of Maligne Lake is about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Jasper, accessible via Maligne Lake Road. Driving from Jasper takes 45 to 60 minutes.
When to Get There
Boats venture out to Spirit Island between late May and early October. The area is busiest during the peak summer months of July and August. The best time to visit is in early morning before the first cruise sets off and crowds arrive. Another good time to come is late afternoon, an hour or so before sunset, when a golden glow and pastel skies make an excellent backdrop for photographs.
Wildlife-Viewing at Maligne Lake
One of the best wildlife-watching spots in the park is Maligne Lake Road. Drive down the road in either early morning or late evening, and look out for moose, caribou, and bighorn sheep. Closer to the lake, you can often spot black and grizzly bears as well as bald and golden eagles, who come here to feed on fish.
Address: Maligne Lake Rd, 27 miles (44 km), Jasper National Park, Jasper, Alberta, Canada, Canada
Admission: Included in Jasper National Park entry
4 Tours and Activities to Experience Spirit Island
Experience the most incredible sights in Jasper National Park’s Maligne Valley during this guided excursion to the region’s most scenic lakes and majestic canyons. Check out Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon, and Maligne Lake during your trip, keeping your eyes out for area wildlife and learning about the unique natural history (and more recent human settlement) of the Canadian Rockies. Over the course of the day, you also get to enjoy short walks through the beautiful scenery, and choose between a boat ride or guided hike at Maligne Lake. Your Maligne Valley trip also includes round-trip transport from your Jasper hotel.
Get to know picturesque Jasper on a short sightseeing tour before heading toward striking Maligne Lake. A guided cruise offers excellent views of the pretty shoreline with dense forests and glacial peaks that rise steeply from the water’s edge. Don’t forget your camera, as the opportunities for spectacular landscape photos are endless!
Discover all that Jasper has to offer during this excursion covering the top natural attractions near town. During your trip you'll explore the towering limestone walls of Maligne Canyon during a walk to check out the waterfalls below, and gaze at the beautiful alpine waters at Maligne Lake and Medicine Lake. You'll also have a chance to scout for local wildlife like sheep, elk and bears that populates the area around Maligne Lake. This half-day trip near Jasper also includes round-trip transport from multiple locations in Jasper.
This fully narrated cruise takes you along Maligne Lake, the largest glacially fed lake in the Canadian Rockies, part of the UNESCO-listed Jasper National Park. Visit Spirit Island, accessible only by boat, and admire views of imposing granite peaks, vibrant blue water, and ancient forests. Keep your camera close and your senses alert as you scan the area for the eagles, bears, and deer that call this area home. Expert and amateur photographers alike will relish in the opportunities to capture the alpine scenery.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Spirit Island?