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Medicine Lake

This lake depends on melted glacier water to fill up and it changes drastically with each season. Its disappearing water has amazed people for thousands of years.

If you’ve witnessed the flow of water in Maligne Canyon, a visit to Medicine Lake is a must, because this is where it all goes. Well, this is where it is supposed to go at least. When autumn starts, the body of water disappears and leaves a mere trickle. This phenomenon has mystified people for thousands of years. Medicine Lake earned its name from the Native Indians who believed its ebb and flow was magical, like medicine.

In an attempt to understand the flow of water, or the lack thereof, you can look at where the water originates. Located 9 miles (16 kilometers) upstream from the canyon, picturesque Maligne Lake spills into the Maligne River. In summer, glacier melt water cuts through Maligne Canyon and reaches Medicine Lake, to the point of overflowing. Even now, experts are unsure where the water disappears to. What is known is that it likely has one of the most extensive, and inaccessible, underground cave systems in the world with hidden sinkholes. Technically, Medicine Lake is not a lake at all: It is a sinking river!

In summer, the fishing on Medicine Lake is excellent. Rainbow and brook trout populate the waters. Rent a boat to get out on the water. If you’d rather photograph the wildlife than eat it, keep an eye out for the likes of bears, caribous, wolves, and moose. Birds of prey are often seen swooping down on the lake to capture fish. 

For those looking to stay a while longer, Medicine Lake Provincial Recreation Area has over 40 campgrounds open in the warmer months. Some are located near the water’s edge. If you want the experience of cooking the day’s catch under the aspen and spruce trees, there is no better place to do it.

Medicine Lake is located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) southeast of Jasper, along the scenic Icefields Parkway. While the views and activities are better in summer, it is a fascinating site to see any time of year. 

How about making your stop at Medicine Lake even more unique? Don't miss the chance to try a few of these things to do:

Why don't you think about purchasing a Maligne Valley Sightseeing & Guided Lakeshore Hike or a Maligne Valley Sightseeing & Spirit Island Boat Tour?

Examine our Jasper things to do page to discover more activities while you're here.


Guide to Exploring around Medicine Lake


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Medicine Lake

See all 23 properties near Medicine Lake
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge CA $207
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Old Lodge Road, Jasper, AB
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in a national park, this spa resort is steps away from Jasper National Park and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course. Icefields Parkway and Maligne Lake are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Tonquin Inn CA $108
    Tonquin Inn

    Tonquin Inn

    100 Juniper Avenue, Jasper, AB
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Conveniently near to skiing facilities, this Jasper hotel is located in the mountains within 3 miles (5 km) of Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway and Patricia Lake. Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 16 minutes by foot.

      Sawridge Inn Jasper
      Sawridge Inn Jasper

      Sawridge Inn Jasper

      76 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the airport, this spa hotel is Jasper National Park and 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Icefields Parkway. Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives are also within 1 mile (2 km). Jasper Station is 19 minutes by foot.

        Lobstick Lodge
        Lobstick Lodge

        Lobstick Lodge

        94 Geikie St, Po Box 1200, Jasper, AB
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Jasper, this eco-friendly hotel is Jasper National Park and within 3 miles (5 km) of Icefields Parkway and Patricia Lake. Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 15 minutes by foot.

          Mount Robson Inn CA $130
          Mount Robson Inn

          Mount Robson Inn

          902 Connaught Drive, Jasper, AB
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course is 2.8 mi (4.6 km) away. Jasper Station is 13 minutes by foot.

            Chateau Jasper
            Chateau Jasper

            Chateau Jasper

            96 Geikie Street, Jasper, AB
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Jasper, this spa hotel is Jasper National Park and within 3 miles (5 km) of Icefields Parkway and Patricia Lake. Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 14 minutes by foot.

              Jasper Inn & Suites by Sunrise CA $177
              Jasper Inn & Suites by Sunrise

              Jasper Inn & Suites by Sunrise

              98 Geikie Street, Jasper, AB
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in a national park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Patricia Lake and Maligne Lake are also within 6 mi (10 km). Jasper Station is 13 minutes by foot.

                Whistler's Inn CA $125
                Whistler's Inn

                Whistler's Inn

                105 Miette Ave, Jasper, AB
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Jasper, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course and Patricia Lake are also within 3 miles (5 km). Jasper Station is only a 1-minute walk.