Maligne Canyon Ice Walk

It might feel like something out of a Disney movie. Strap on your ice cleats over warm winter boots, bundle up with gloves and mitts, and then follow a snow-covered path to cross a river bridge made entirely of ice.

It’s cold but the snow crystals sparkle as you descend further into world-famous Maligne Canyon in Alberta’s Jasper National Park. In a while, frozen waterfalls surround you, hanging like glowing curtains of ice around you. Carved by nature, the place feels frozen in time.

It’s all shimmering blues and greens along the canyon floor. This is pure beauty. The waves and swirls of sculptural ice formations actually rise up to 50 metres (165 feet) on the canyon walls. Cue the orchestra because this is epic.

Look closely and you’ll see fossils carved into these frosty limestone walls – the hidden secrets of a canyon formed 160 million years ago. You’ll also find hidden crevices and caves in this wondrous sculptural ice maze. One secret is out: the area has the largest underground limestone cave system in North America.

While you’re busy looking up at all the icy fingers hanging down like claws, you might even catch a hard-core mountaineer or climber inching along great sheets of ice, or rappelling to the bottom. Chances are, your guide is just one of the many local climbers who have fallen in love with the canyon.

They’ll tell you all about the canyon’s geography (ask about “The Cathedral” and “The Mouse Hole”). You’ll get a close-up view of dramatic Angel Falls and the freestanding “Queen of Maligne” falls. Some kids even drop down to their bottoms to slip and slide safely or glide down the natural ice slides.

On an evening tour, you can don your headlamp and set out on a romantic evening ice walk through twilight. By nightfall, see the gorge in a dazzling new light. Gather around your guide who will hold up a spotlight illuminating 30-metre (100 feet) glowing ice pillars. In the still of the evening, you may even hear the sound of water rushing underfoot. Think of it as the Ice Capades without the dance routines.

Check out this video from Overlander Trekking & Tours:

Photo © Discover Banff Tours

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission. The text has been modified from the original.