You’d think we’d never hiked before

Miette Hot Springs is the first attraction on the east side of Jasper National Park. Besides the pools where you can soak in the spring water that bubbles out of the ground at 54C, there are two day-hikes in the surrounding mountains. Sulphur Skyline trail came highly recommended, but we arrived at 4 p.m., too late for us to tackle 8.8km with 700 metres elevation gain. We opted for the other one. Source of the Springs is 1.2km long, is wheelchair accessible, and lets you see where the hot water comes from. Armed with a handout map, we headed out.

Pretty quickly we arrived at the spring, gushing out of a roundish hole in the rock wall. Minerals in the water coat the rocks a milky greenish hue. The site has a platform and a raised channel so you can touch the water. It’s odd to touch water coming right out of the earth hotter than bathwater.

A sign with a map near the platform showed the location of two other hot springs that feed the pools. On the map, they were connected with dotted lines, so we immediately assumed we could walk to all three. We turned uphill to continue our walk.Miette Spring sign

The trail became steep, rocky and definitely not wheelchair accessible anymore. That should have clued me in, but no. We kept going, scrambling up some stretches, fording little streams, dodging tree roots. We walked for about 20 minutes, mostly uphill, admiring the views of the forest and the mountains.

Eventually, we got to a split in the trail. One side had a bridge that crossed the stream we’d been following. There was no signage telling us where to go and we still hadn’t found the two other springs.

We crossed the bridge and climbed up the steep hill on the other side to see if the they were nearby. Nothing. Recrossing the bridge, I noticed a trail number – 140. We looked at our map again. We seemed to have stumbled onto a trail called Fiddle Pass, a multi-day backpacking trail. So where were the other two springs?

As it turned out, there is no trial to the other two springs. We had walked an extra 1.5 km or so before realizing that we’d blown right by the end of the trail.

We turned around and returned to our Juniper, laughing at ourselves along the way. Then we grabbed out swimsuits and went to soak in the wonderful hot spring pools.

Miette Hot Springs is one of three in Jasper and Banff National Parks and it boast the hottest water at 54C. The water is channeled into pools that are open to the public, a tradition that goes back over 100 years.


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