The Experience

The Maligne Lake Cruise has been providing visitors with the opportunity to discover the world-famous Spirit Island for over 60 years through interpretive boat cruises in Jasper National Park. Visitors can explore the lake from the comfort of glass-enclosed and heated cruise boats while a knowledgeable guide retells Maligne’s history and explains its geology, wildlife, weather, flora and fauna.

Maligne Lake offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the world. Iconically known for its beauty, Spirit Island is arguably one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies. To meet the wants and needs of avid and amateur photographers alike, the Through the Lens Tour provides guests with the advice of a local, professional photographer. Additional time is given onshore at the far end of the lake to set up and photograph this incredible island.

Spirit Island, named by the Stoney Nation indigenous people for the experiences their ancestors had at this place centuries ago, is a tiny grove of trees and pristine nature separated from the mainland by an isthmus. Spirit Island becomes a true island for a few short days during the summer.

The true attraction of Spirit Island is the backdrop: a ring of impressive peaks and glaciers circling the south end of Maligne Lake, and the deep turquoise water color not present at the North end of the lake. A short path forms a loop from the docks to viewing points overlooking Spirit Island. To preserve the area in its natural state, walking onto the island is not permitted.

Cruise Options


Sail 14 kilometres along Maligne Lake, past towering peaks & glaciers, to the peaceful and remarkable Spirit Island. Sit back, relax and enjoy vibrant stories from the onboard tour guide, including the history of the lake and its earliest explorers, along with the geology, glaciology, flora & fauna of the area.

Upon arrival at Spirit Island, the boat docks and guests are able to disembark and enjoy a short nature trail leading to a viewing platform for that bucket list photo overlooking Spirit Island.


  • Guided cruise to Spirit Island
  • Free time at Spirit Island
  • Return cruise to Home Bay

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Enjoy all the same inclusions of our Classic Cruise while enjoying special features only available on our Premium Cruise.

With our Premium Cruise, upon arrival at Spirit Island, guests are personally welcomed by our “Island Host,” who will introduce the area and offer a private interpretive walk for any guests who desire. 


  • Guided cruise to Spirit Island 
  • 1-2 stops on the lake
  • Free time at Spirit Island
  • Personally met by Island Host
  • Private interpretive walk
  • Return cruise to Home Bay

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Enjoy a special Through The Lens tour organized around the needs and wants of new, ambitious and adventurous photographers. Allow our onboard local, and professional photographer to assist you in taking home some famous and extraordinary shots of your own. Plenty of time is given at Spirit Island to set up and capture your photos. This tour is available Thursdays & Sundays at 5:45 PM (Jun 30–Sep 1) and 4 PM (Sep 5–22).


  • Extended guided cruise to Spirit Island
  • 2-3 stops on the lake
  • Extended stop at Spirit Island
  • Private interpretive walk by photographer guide
  • Free time at the island
  • Return cruise to Home Bay

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Join us on unforgettable evening cruise to Maligne Lake’s iconic Spirit Island. This exclusive, small group experience offers the best in food, gracious service and amazing sights. Limited to a single, late-day departure, your trip pairs interpretation with five culinary masterpieces and mouth watering libations equalled only by the surrounding vistas. Seats are limited, tour available Saturdays at 5:45 PM (July 6–Aug 31). Learn More


  • New and exclusive cruise with on-board server
  • Late departure for best light
  • Cocktail & wine service
  • Five Culinary Masterpieces
  • Intimate free time at Spirit island
  • Return cruise to Home Bay

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Maligne Lake Boat Rentals

Maligne Lake Boat Rentals

Discovering the serenity of Maligne Lake in your own boat is a chance to take in the breathtaking views from a unique perspective.

Paddle across the world-famous Maligne Lake to remote backcountry shorelines and take in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Rentals are available by the hour or the entire day to get the most out of your experience.

Rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis—we recommend arriving first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Please visit the boathouse at Maligne Lake upon arrival as availability is limited.

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Hiking at Maligne Lake

Guided Forest Walks

Join us for a 90 minute guided walk along on the shores of Maligne Lake. Together we'll discover the nature of Maligne Valley, the First Nations People and early explorers who knew Maligne Lake as a truly special place. Walks are available daily at 9 AM and 3 PM, July 6 - Aug 31.

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History of Maligne Lake

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board (NHSMB) has now added the Maligne Lake Chalet and Guest House to the illustrious, though short, list of National Historic Sites in Jasper National Park. The recent determination by the NHSMB that the Maligne Lake buildings are of national significance rests in the prominent role played by these log structures in the national parks of Canada and too, are illustrative of the central role of outfitters, guides and the competing interests of the railways in park development.

These rustic buildings were originally constructed by Jasper’s premier Guide and Outfitter, Fred Brewster and the Canadian National Railway in 1927. When these two buildings were first constructed they were surrounded by tents and hard-roofed guest cabins. This backcountry lodge rivaled the Jasper Park Lodge as the largest and most luxurious park accommodation. The architectural form of the lodge as well as its function are classic examples of the golden era of National Parks.

In 2011, the 43 year dereliction of these buildings ended with a million dollar rehabilitation that carefully restored the structures to their former glory. Once again accessible to the public, the site showcases National Park culture.

Environmental Stewardship

Aquatic Protection
Maligne Lake has taken steps to prevent and minimize the potential adverse effects of accidental spills of fuel and other hazardous materials in and around the lake.

Enviro-tanks have been installed for fuel for cruise boats, at the diesel-powered generating station, and in the maintenance compound for bilge water and crankcase oil. These tanks are pumped out annually by a licensed recycling service. The fuel line from the boat fuel tank to the docks is a triple-containment line. The docks are equipped with floating, fuel-absorbing containment booms ready to be deployed immediately in the event of a spill. The docking piers at Spirit Island have been replaced. Tour boats and the generating station have been equipped with fuel spill kits.

In 2004, Maligne Lake replaced the aging and inadequate toilet facilities at the Spirit Island viewing area with a leading-edge solar-powered sewage treatment system that provides advanced secondary treatment. The facility comprises a small, water-tight, fiberglass septic tank filled with an engineered textile material in which anaerobic bacteria breaks down the sewage.

The system is low maintenance, consumes very little energy, produces no activated sludge, and does not require a septic field. Wastewater from the visitor facilities at the north end of Maligne Lake is directed to an existing sewage lagoon, the existing capacity of which exceeds the current and forecast future demand.

There is no discharge of sewage to the environment from either the Spirit Island or Maligne Lake day lodge sewage facilities.

Wildlife Protection
All on-site food and waste collection and storage facilities comply with applicable Parks Canada's regulations. The existing facilities at Maligne Lake provide animal-proof waste receptacles and blue boxes for collection of recyclables, including cardboard, tin, glass, and plastic. In addition, Maligne Lake staff collect litter around the parking lots and along park trails. Buckets for cigarette butt collection are available throughout the site.

Pursuit respects the Environmentally Sensitive Site exclusion area established by Parks Canada around the Maligne Lake outlet for the protection of Harlequin Duck habitat. Pursuit also provides interpretive content for visitors to encourage safe and responsible use and enjoyment of the wilderness, including an emphasis on respect for wildlife.

Lands Protection
Maligne Lake has been re-introducing native grasses in previously impacted areas; this will help to restore ecosystem integrity and improve the quality of wildlife habitat in the area. Pursuit will continue to regularly maintain existing trail facilities in the area.

Solar-powered Sewage Treatment
In 2004, leading edge solar-powered technology replaced the manner in which sewage at Spirit Island had been handled for the past 80 years.

At fourteen miles in length Maligne Lake is the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies. The pristine Spirit Island is located approximately two thirds of the way down Maligne Lake, accessible only by boat. Any sewage treatment assembly would therefore have to be low maintenance, low energy consumption, light-weight and sturdy while preferably generating no activated sludge and meeting extraordinarily high environmental standards whilst performing without a sewage field.

The solution? Leading edge solar-powered technology whereby sewage receives advanced secondary treatment in a water-tight, very small, fiberglass basin filled with an engineered textile material where anaerobic bacteria breaks down sewage.

A 1,500 gallon fiberglass septic tank was towed to the site aboard two canoes lashed together to create a barge. Half a million pounds of concrete was transported by boat and then poured by hand to create the foundation. Rocks and gravel were hauled to construct the wheelchair ramp; lumber, shingles, doors, windows, water tanks, pressure tanks, pumps, solar panels and a ton of batteries all were moved to the site without the assistance of a single power tool, barring a boat.

It was an exhausting, labour-intensive effort but now there sits on the shore near Spirit Island a showcase of environmental sustainability and a far more pleasant visitor experience.

Stories from the Maligne Lake Cruise

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