Medicine Lake


Difficulty: Easy - Family
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Medicine Lake is a sightseeing and activity destination located in  Jasper National Park - southeast of the the community of Jasper, Alberta, Canada. The lake is part of the Maligne Valley watershed - connected to Maligne River,  Maligne Lake and a unique underwater limestone cave system.

Photo GalleryThe lake is fed by the Maligne River and measures up to 7 kilmoetres long on a good day and... during the winter months the lake is drained by an underground river system leaving behind in its wake a series of small pools of water and massive mud flats.

Conventional lakes have in and out-flow rivers and streams. However, Medicine Lake only has an in-flow and drains out through the bottom of the lake via pourous sinkholes. The porous lake bottom allows the water to seep into a underground river and limestone cave system swallowing up the lake and leaving behind mud flats.

In the summer the ice and snow melt from the surrounding mountains fill up the lake again and by spring the lake has returned form the depths of the underground river sytem. Each year the cycle repeats itself.

Research has been conducted on the underwater drainage system of Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park. The results indicate that the Medicine Lake drainage system connects to one of the largest underwater rivers and cave systems in North America.

Long ago the First Nation people thought the disappearance of the lake was due to the influence of "spirits" and some bad medicine. Today, the lake is a scientific wonder with interpretive signs on site explaining the natural phenomenom and its history.

Some of the summer activities enjoyed on the hiking trails in the area around Medicine Lake include hiking, biking and horseback riding in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. The Summit Lake and Watchtower Trails are, both, accessed from trailheads near Medicine Lake.

Beaver Lake Day Use Area located on the southeast end of Medicine Lake includes some picnic tables, a lookout viewpoint and access to the Summit Lake Trail. There is another lookout point located on the northwest end of the lake.

How to Get to the Medicine Lake

From the town of Jasper, Alberta, Canada it is 31 kilometres to Medicine Lake. From Main Street (Connaught Drive) in the community of Jasper, Alberta, Canada travel east on Connaught Drive, crossing over the railway tracks before merging with Highway #16. Just ahead on Highway #16, on your right, is the exit road to Maligne Lake and Canyon. Take the exit, cross over a bridge, and then take a left and travel southeast on Maligne Lake Road to Medicine Lake.

Medicine Lake - Jasper National Park activities, things to do


Medicine Lake

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