“Wow. Wow. This is like Shangri - La!”
I heard a man shout as he walked into the Miette Hot Springs for the first time.
This is a common occurrence at the hot springs which I have visited frequently over the years since my family’s lodge is one of the closest resorts to them.
Living at the Overlander Mountain Lodge and Jasper East Cabins has allowed me to enjoy one of Jasper Park’s best natural amenities at times on a daily basis.
To say my family is a regular visitor to the Miette Hot Springs would be a bit of understatement. When you visit them now you will see pictures in the main office of when people first started going there. My Grandpa was one of those people.
My Mom told me stories about when he would ride in on horseback from the town of Cadomin to soak in springs. This is one of our family pictures from him.
Our family has visited the springs for generations and I personally have seen the facility change in structure as well as popularity.
Thanks to Parks Canada and their efforts to maintain the natural environment the most important parts still remain for you and me to enjoy today.
We might not be able to ride our horses in and swim naked but we can still relax in pure rejuvenating mountain spring water with the peaceful sights and sounds of wild nature all around us. (cell phone free!)
In this post I’ll go into the many reason’s both for pleasure and for health you will want to add this stop to your trip list. I'll also recommend some tips on how to make a day out of it with some nearby activities as well as the best place to eat and stay near the springs.
How Do I Get To The Miette Hot Springs?
This picture is the drive you will take to get to the part of Jasper park and the turnoff to the Miette road. I talk about the Miette road section specifically a little bit later in this post. To see why the drive from Jasper to Jasper East is an attraction all on it's own click here.
Jasper National Park is really big. You will need a car for sure to get to all the attractions. The good news is that while you are driving you are always surrounded by the natural beauty of mountains, lakes, rivers and more often than not wildlife. To get there from Jasper here is the Google map.
In this video she shares a tip that I do while there which is alternating between the hot and cold pools.
This brings me to point 6.
5. You Can Do The Wim-Hof Method
Have you heard of Wim-Hof? Check out this video of him below.
Since there are two cold pools as well as hot springs you can practice your cold exposure by alternating between the hot and cold.
The first pool to the left as you walk in is the coldest and is filled with water from the river. The one after that on the left is also cold but a little warmer.
What I do is go in the hot pool first. I choose the one farthest from the change rooms because it's the one that there is no jumping or splashing allowed so it's the calmest.
I get nice and warm then go into the coldest pool but with one big difference from everyone else.
As I go into the cold pool I control my breath so I can do it as relaxed as possible. I see so many people jump in and jump out frantically but if you follow the Wim Hof method you can do it calmly.
After some time in the cold I'll usually lay out on the deck for some sun bathing and then do the whole cycle all over again.
I definitely leave feeling great every time I do this.
6. You Won't Have to Share With Monkey's
Now you may see some bears and mountain sheep on your way to the Hot Springs but the good news is unlike these monkey's they won't be joining you in the tub.
There are often some mountain sheep up at the parking lot just hanging around in the sun eating the grass or licking salt off the cars.
For the best spots to see wildlife on your trip to Jasper check out my post here.
Activities Around The Miette Hot Springs
Might as well make a day out your visit to the Hot Springs right? There are a a lot of great activities to choose from that are located in the same area of the Park. Some known and some not so well known. I'll list them here and at least you can have an idea what to choose from depending on what sounds appealing.
1. Hike Sulfur Skyline
We do this hike all the time since the combination of a good workout, some of the most amazing mountain views then a soak after makes for one of the best days you can get. If you have issues sleeping this combination is the cure.
The way up is uphill right from the beginning to the end. You can take your time or challenge yourself like we do with a faster pace to get the sweat going.
You will be in the trees until about 3/4 up when it opens up to huge panoramic mountain views.
As with all hikes in the mountains you need to be prepared clothing wise. One minute with the sun shining and tree cover you will be hot in shorts and tank top. Next when you are on top of the mountain and the clouds have rolled in you will need something windproof and warm.
For detailed information on this hike go here
2. Scramble Utopia
Ok full disclaimer: I haven't done this scramble yet. (I'll update this post when I do) The reason I put it in was because my friend who is a long term local and guide told me it was one of his favourites. It leaves from the parking lot of the Hot Springs just like the Sulfur Skyline.
To get to the trailhead you go right towards the old Hot Springs facility. Here is the detailed information
3. Have a Picnic At The Springs
What we like to do for food is pack our own lunch then use the little park that has fire pits plus picnic tables just up to the right of the parking lot.
Especially on a nice day to sit outside in the peace and quiet of the mountains rather than indoors in a restaurant is in my opinion preferable. Of course if it's raining or you would rather not pack a lunch there are a couple options available.
There is a cafe right at the facility which has some really good homemade soups and sandwiches. There is also a Greek restaurant just before the hot springs that we used to go to all the time for pizza.
4. Visit The Ghost Town of Pocahontas
In the early days of the Park they allowed for some agriculture and coal mining. The town of Pocohontas and Brule were both coal towns.
"By 1912 Pocahontas comprised of a lower town for the mill operation, offices, businesses, a bunkhouse as well as an upper town that had 50 four room houses, twenty three room houses and a school" - Jasper, A History and It's People
You can visit the old townsite today and see some the remains. It located just after the turnoff from highway 16 at the beginning of the hot springs road. Directions on how to get there as well as some pics of what you might see are available here
5. Visit The Stone Peak Restaurant
Did you know that the best patio in Alberta is just up the road from the Miette Hot Springs? Not only that the Stone Peak Restaurant is A Wine Spectator Award winner 10 years in a row.
Why not treat yourself to the best food experience in the area with world class wines and to top it off the user voted best patio view in Alberta? Just make the 10 minute drive East from the turnoff to the Hot Springs from Hwy 16 to visit the Stone Peak Restaurant at the Overlander Mountain Lodge.
Any even better idea is just to stay at the Overlander which I talk about in the places to stay next. This area of the park has so much to offer that to take at least a day or two here is highly recommended. Which brings me to the next attraction....everyone's favourite......Beer.
6. Visit The Brand New Folding Mountain Craft Brewery
At the time of writing this post the Folding Mountain Brewery is a week away from opening. The craft brewery will be one of a kind with the highest quality beers amidst a mountain setting.
Location, location, location as they say. I mean food & beer always tastes better when your surrounded by nature after a day out doing activities.
Spend your day hiking, a soak in the Hot Springs then come back and relax with a nice cold IPA. You probably won't want to drive after that so let's look at the two best options for accommodations.
Where to Stay By The Miette Hot Springs
There are a few places to stay close to the hot springs. Well 4 to be exact. There is 1 right at the actual springs called the Miette Hot Springs Resort and then another at the bottom turnoff called Pocohontas.
When it comes to an overall experience you are going to want to choose out of these two below. The Overlander Mountain Lodge or the Jasper East Cabins.
1. The Overlander Mountain Lodge
What type of accommodations are you looking for on your vacation to Jasper National Park and the Miette Hot Spring? If you are looking for a "hotel room" that you can find in any town then the Overlander is not the place for you. If you are looking for an authentic Canadian log lodge with world class cuisine, views and wine then look no further.
Built in 1967 this historic lodge has been completely renovated and offers rooms for couples on a romantic getaway, cabin rooms for families or entire vacation homes for large families and groups. In fact this is the only place due to park regulations where you can rent an entire vacation home.
As I mentioned before along with the Overlander Mountain Lodge and Jasper East Cabins the best part about coming back from the Hot Springs is that after you settle in for wine and fine dining at the Stone Peak or to beer and hamburgers at the Folding Mountain Brewery you have nothing to do but relax.
2. The Jasper East Cabins
Located 5 mins East on Highway 16 from the Overlander Mountain Lodge you will find Jasper Park's newest accommodation.
Opened in 2016 the Jasper East Cabins offer some of the largest amount of living space and privacy you will find.
We offer two, three and four bedroom cabins all with kitchen facilities, separate bedrooms, living rooms and patio's nestled right under Folding Mountain. The mountain is literally your backyard.
And in the front yard? The Folding Mountain Brewery. Walking distance. Does it get any better? To learn more about Jasper East Cabins click here.
Hope this guide has helped you learn more about the Miette Hot Springs and the Jasper East area.
Pictures and words don't do it justice. The experience is something you need to have for yourself.
If you have any questions or we can help you in any way please contact the Overlander by email email@example.com or call toll free 1877-866-2300.
By Clint Griffiths