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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. 

Popular Activities at Medicine Lake

Like to make your stop at Medicine Lake even more special? Remember to try one or two of these activities:

Why not think about trying out a Maligne Valley Sightseeing & Spirit Island Boat Tour or a Maligne Valley Sightseeing & Guided Lakeshore Hike?

Take a look at our Jasper things to do page to learn about many more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Medicine Lake


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Medicine Lake

See all 21 properties near Medicine Lake
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge CA $172
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

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

    Located near the slopes, this Jasper resort is in the mountains and within 1 mi (2 km) of Jasper National Park, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course, and Icefields Parkway. Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon are also within 6 mi (10 km).

    Jasper Inn and Suites CA $150
    Jasper Inn and Suites

    Jasper Inn and Suites

    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.

      Sawridge Inn Jasper CA $155
      Sawridge Inn Jasper

      Sawridge Inn Jasper

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

        Located near the slopes, this Jasper hotel is in the mountains, within 1 mi (2 km) of Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper National Park, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Icefields Parkway is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away. Jasper Station is 19 minutes by foot.

        Mount Robson Inn CA $192
        Mount Robson Inn

        Mount Robson Inn

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

          Located near the slopes, this Jasper hotel is in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Jasper Artists Guild and Jasper Municipal Library are also within 15 minutes. Jasper Station is 13 minutes by foot.

          Whistler's Inn CA $139
          Whistler's Inn

          Whistler's Inn

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

            Located near the slopes, this Jasper hotel is in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Jasper National Park and Icefields Parkway, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Patricia Lake is 3 mi (4.8 km) away. Jasper Station is only a 1-minute walk.

            Pine Bungalows CA $125
            Pine Bungalows

            Pine Bungalows

            2 Cottonwood Creek Rd, Jasper, AB
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Jasper, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Jasper National Park, Jasper Activity Centre, and Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives. Jasper Information Centre National Historic Site and Jasper Municipal Library are also within 3 mi (5 km).

              Tonquin Inn CA $170
              Tonquin Inn

              Tonquin Inn

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

                Conveniently near skiing facilities, this Jasper hotel is located in the mountains within 3 mi (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.

                Marmot Lodge CA $195
                Marmot Lodge

                Marmot Lodge

                86 Connaught Drive, P.O. Box 1200, Jasper, AB
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located near the slopes, this Jasper motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Jasper Activity Centre and Jasper National Park and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Icefields Parkway is 1.8 mi (3 km) away. Jasper Station is 16 minutes by foot.