Lorraine, Mona, and Maligne Lakes Hike

Today was finally the kind of day we’ve been wanting to have here on our trip to the Canadian Rockies. Brilliant sunshine, temps in the upper 60s so it was warm enough for short sleeves and cool enough so that we really didn’t get sweaty while on the hike…and we saw lots of wildlife and cool views as well.

Our destination was Maligne Lake that we visited the other day in the rain…we talked about the possible hikes on the way out and decided on the Lorraine and Mona Lakes hike of about 3.5 miles. It’s an out and back on part of the Summit Trail…you’ll likely see caribou on the Summit Trail and the views are supposed to be great…but it’s 12 miles plus round trip and 1800 feet of elevation change up to the summit…so we passed on that one.

It’s about a 30 mile trip out to Maligne Lake from the campground so we headed out about 0930 or so. Our first stop was Medicine Lake where we stopped the other day on a cloudy, gloomy day…that’s the lake with the leads in the bottom that was the subject of Kara’s geology/science lesson the other day. Here’s a pano Neil grabbed so that you can see the beautiful reflections on the lake surface


and here’s one just taken with a normal wide angle lens so it lacks the distortion close to the bottom center that the pano introduces.


We continued on up the road; which runs just through the bright green trees you can see on the left side of the photo along the lake to the far end, then cuts right in front of the mountain at the far end of the lake and heads right out of this photo towards Maligne Lake. We stopped by the eagle nest which is in the trees on the left as well and could see the eaglets in the nest…they’re still in the gray downy feathers like you previously saw the eagles of Ozzie and Harriet down in Fort Myers…but the pictures were not that great so I am not going to post them. We did spot this little guy alongside the road though; he was chowing down on some berries about 10 feet off the road. Neil stopped for the jam, jumped out of the car and stood behind one of the other cars that was stopped and grabbed this shot.


A few more kilometers up the road Connie the Wildlife Spotter yelled “Stop, Moose!” So we did and spotted another moose with antlers in velvet so we grabbed a few photos.


then, right around the corner from the moose a couple of young mule deer trotted across the road so we shot them as well.


Arriving at Maligne Lake; we found the parking lot for the Lorraine/Mona Lake hike and headed up. Within the first 100 yards or so of the trail we spotted another mule deer.


and Neil got a shot of Connie heading up the pretty well maintained trail.


Our hike was about 3.5 miles total on an out and back with about 80 meters of elevation gain on the way out. We felt the gain although not as bad as yesterday as the elevation was spread out over the entire out section of the hike rather than all being crammed in a single kilometer or half mile like it was yesterday. A nice gentle grade that was not too bad in most places.

Arriving at the lakes that were our destination for lunch; we grabbed some shots of this little pond about 40 yards wide but probably 10 feet deep; then of Lorraine Lake, then of Mona Lake which was the most striking of the three.




We sat there for maybe 30 or 40 minutes resting and having lunch; then retraced our steps back to the parking lot. Luckily…it was mostly downhill on the return trip.

After grabbing a soda from the little store there we wandered down and got some pictures of Maligne Lake; first a few from right where the lake tour boats leave from and then one from the bridge over the Maligne River where the outlet of the lake heads down toward Medicine Lake and finally one looking downstream over the Maligne River toward Medicine Lake.




With that we headed home with a planned stop in Jasper to upload yesterday’s blog post and check email. On the way however; we ran into another jam and were able to get a few photos of this cute little guy.




We headed on down the road and arrived uneventfully at home.

After showers Neil made some Pork Picata with white cheese mashed ‘taters for dinner along with a wine cooler. Tomorrow it’s going to rain in the AM so we’re off to the coffee shop so Connie can work and then we have a couple short hikes for after lunch.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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