Maligne Canyon

My stayover in Jasper was scheduled to be less than 24 hours. Not much time to spend exploring Jasper National Park in any great detail. So instead of renting a car, I ventured out on a guided tour of Maligne Canyon. A quick google search revealed that while the canyon could be explored on your own, many reviewers commented on the fact that it is better to go with an experienced guide, primarily for safety reasons.

After meeting up at the tour company's office, we were whisked away in a company van from downtown Jasper and made our way along the Parks Canada trail atop Maligne Canyon. From this perspective, you get to look down into the canyon while enjoying the view of the mountains in the distance. Nice but definitely not worth the price of the tour. Luckily, it did not end there. We slipped under a peeled back chain-linked fence and made our way into the canyon to explore this geological masterpiece from a level that would be underwater in just a few short weeks.

Not only did we get to see some unique ice formations,


touch frozen waterfalls,


walk behind frozen waterfalls,


but our tour guide snuck us into a "secret" cave that the other our groups in the canyon overlooked that morning...


We then continued our way up the canyon to explore the amazing rock formations


It's no wonder why some people get married in this natural cathedral...


Unfortunately, we reached a waterfall that blocked us ice walk rookies from going any further 


so we headed on back to civilization.


So we're the reviewers right?

The Maligne Canyon is definitely worth visiting during the winter months but is it dangerous to explore it on your own? From what I witnessed during my visit, it's not dangerous as long as you use common sense. That being said, common sense doesn't appear to be that common so you'll have to use your own judgement as to how you would like to spend your hard-earned money. In my case, I chose to spend my money on the tour instead of renting a car, just because the cost was about the same and the tour included the ride to and from the canyon. If I have the opportunity to do it again, I'd try to head down to the canyon around the arrival time of one of the tour groups and explore the canyon at my own pace with the assurance that trained professional guides are nearby. But then again, that's only me and what I saw that day. For what it's worth, I felt that last spring's Athabasca Glacier Icewalk provided bigger bang for my buck. Nevertheless, the Maligne Canyon Walk was an interesting albeit short experience. I guess I'll have to leave the more advance ice climbing adventure for another time.

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