Spirit Island

(continuer en français) – Last updated: January 18, 2021

Spirit Island is among the most photographed places in Canada and one of the most published sights. Once the image is memorized, it can be found in many presentations of Canada, Alberta or the Canadian Rocky Mountain Natural Parks.

The tiny island is located 8 miles, 14 kilometres, from the reachable shore of Maligne Lake, from there it can only be accessed by lake, there is no trail to get there. Using a canoe or kayak, it takes several hours to paddle back and forth, not to mention the risk of wind. Some people manage to make it, but it is important to know your abilities before you set out.

Boat trips are therefore the best, if not the only, way to get there, and the price of the navigation is accordingly higher. During the boat trip, the mountain scenery is entertaining and the guides try to pass on information about the island, the lake and the surroundings. The regular excursion lasts about 90 minutes.

Upon arrival, each group has only a few minutes before the arrival of the next shuttle, which marks the end of the stopover. Guides play with the threat of departing without the late passengers and leaving them behind. Each one therefore rushes along the short trail that ends with a few steps leading to a small balcony overlooking Spirit Island. From there, between the trees appears the coveted view.

It is not really an island, most of the year it is connected to the shore. In the spring, when the snow melts, the isthmus can be temporarily under water. Spirit Island faces the lake end, surrounded by a circus of mountains, isolating it in a canyon from which the shuttle escapes to return to the embarkation point.

Tip: if possible to make the trip at the end of the afternoon when the sun lights nicely on the side of the fir trees, rather than having the sun in front and the island against the light. There are premium packages that allow you to stay longer on the island, some are even guided by a photographer offering advice.

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