Maligne Lake’s Spirit Island
Jasper’s List of Most Photographed Spots Includes This Enchanted Island
Perhaps it’s because it’s easy to get to from Jasper. Perhaps it’s because of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Or
perhaps it’s because of the magical waters of Maligne Lake. Whatever the reason, Jasper National Park’s Spirit Island is one of the most photographed spots the Canadian Rockies.
Spirit Island sits on the south end of Maligne Lake, the second largest glacier-fed lake in the world, approximately 48km from the Town of Jasper. Bus tours are always heading from downtown Jasper or from any one of the many surrounding hotels to the easily accessible Spirit Island lookout. Boat tours are also easy to find and affordable, but are only available during certain times of the year.
If you really want to get a good look of Spirit Island, perhaps find a helicopter trip that heads over Maligne Lake. That way you can take in the full splendor of the lake, which spans 22.5km.
According to some accounts of First Nations mythology, Spirit Island gets its name from two young lovers from feuding tribes who used to meet secretly on the island. However, when the young woman eventually confessed her forbidden affair to her father, one of the tribes’ chiefs, he banned her from ever returning to the island. Heartbroken, her lover continued to return to Spirit Island throughout his life, hoping to
see his beautiful lover again. But she never came and he eventually died on the island, where his spirit still resides.
With all the pictures snapped of it now, we wouldn’t recommend getting too romantic on Spirit Island, though. You’d probably wind up on a best-selling postcard or the cover of a magazine. Then you’d wind up in jail, because access to the island is actually restricted.