Featured in Alberta ~ Wild Rose Country – Apr 28, 2011
Featured in Canadian Rocky Mountains – Mar 19, 2011
Medicine Lake is located within Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
It is located approximately 20 km (12 mi) southeast of the townsite of Jasper, Alberta.
Medicine Lake is a geologic anomaly in the sense that it is not actually a lake but rather an area in which the Maligne River (flowing from Maligne Lake into the Athabasca River) backs up and suddenly disappears underground.
The Maligne River pours into the lake from the south and drains out through sinkholes in the bottom. The water then streams through a cave system formed in the slightly soluble limestone rock, surfacing again in the area of Maligne Canyon 16 kilometers downstream. This is one of the largest known sinking rivers in the Western Hemisphere and may be the largest inaccessible cave system anywhere in the world!
During early summer the lake is 9 km (5.5 miles) long, 1 km (.62 miles) wide and 30 metres (100ft) deep. But, every fall it mysteriously drains naturally like a giant bathtub with a missing plug.
This creates the disappearing lake phenomena.
First Nation’s people originally called it Magic Lake.
Wolves in the region have figured out how to make it work for them and have been known to chase caribou into the muck so they’ll get stuck.
Medicine Lake also boasts a healthy population of rainbow trout and brook trout and is a fly fisherman’s paradise.
Wildlife is surprisingly abundant along this high altitude lake. Grizzly bear, black bear, mule deer, caribou, wolves, moose, and mountain sheep are some of the larger mammals that frequent the lake area during the summer season. Bald eagles, and osprey also frequent the area and live off the fish populations.
This photo was taken on July 14th, 2010 after an unexpected snow storm.