Situated high above the Pocahontas Lodge just inside the North Eastern entrance of Jasper NP, Miette Hot Springs is a commercial hot spring nestled in the Miette Mountain Range. A long, winding mountain road through the Wild Fiddle Valley bordered with thick evergreen forest leads you from the main highway to Miette, ending in a large clearing which is now a paved parking lot. The main building is situated above the lot, where admission is paid and where bathers can change and shower. Also housed here is a small cafe from which patrons can purchase small snacks and drinks, and which can be enjoyed at a covered seating area off to the side of the tubs. Many of these sat empty and unused, although they were annoyingly "claimed" for future use by people who had spread their belongings over several tables and chairs. I have always thought this was rude and thoughtless, and never understood why people do this. In our experience, however, at commercial hot springs this is the type of behaviour you can expect from the masses, and which is seldom seen at natural springs where people cluster their belongings in tidy little bundles a short distances from the pools. From the lot, you can also find some trailheads leading into the mountains. If you arrive early in the day, it would be rewarding to take an arduous hike and return to soak your weary body in the waters of the spa.
Hot water is piped from natural springs into large communal pools. The main pool is a shallow and wide square. Although some spots in this pool are deeper than others, the waters never reach higher than waist deep, and all around the outer edge a ledge is built for seating. The other hot pool is a deep large rectangle, and is mainly intended for standing only. This pool is shallower on one end than the other, with a wide set of steps leading into the shallow area. These steps provide the only "seating" space in this pool. As you wade towards the other end, the pool deepens significantly. This pool feels much warmer than the shallow ane, although the regulated temperature is only a few degrees hotter than the other.
Miette also offers two cold pools (each a different temperature) which provide a refreshing, if brisk, relief to bathers, and a taste of Swedish spa luxury. These are the fun pools. They're the only ones you can jump into (they're meant to be for plunging, not relaxing), and although we didn't cannonball with the kids (well, maybe Braden did), we entertained ourselves for great stretches at a time by jumping repeatedly into their cool depths and shocking our bodies by alternating between the hot and cold temperatures.
When we soaked at Miette, the pools were packed with tourists (I mean actually packed; the deep hot pool was so full you almost felt like a sardine squeezed in amidst the crowd) and entrance fees were $9.55 per adult. The views from Miette were stunning, as one would expect from the rocky mountains. Stony peaks with lush pine and spruce forests surround bathers with 360 degree, awe-inspiring vistas. The mountain air is cool and fresh, and as the sun sets over the mountains, it's golden glow alights on the green branches and stony outcroppings of the eastern peaks. The location really is magnificent.
However, we were slightly disappointed at how manufactured the springs themselves felt. For some reason, we expected these pools to be natural hot springs. Instead, we were essentially in a hot public pool, and were convinced that all the children (some still in diapers, of the swimming variety, but still) were relieving themselves in the tubs...likely their parents too. This was not the type of spring we were looking for, in which you can either really relax in solitude amidst respectful silence and whispers, nor was it a place where strangers met to connect with one another and enjoy the baths as they entertained each other with stories of adventure, mischief and mishap. Instead, it was a place where children screamed and cried to their parents, babies toddled around, their mouths open in the tepid water, college co-eds worked hard to impress the opposite sex, and lifeguards sauntered around ensuring the prevention of anything really fun like the enjoyment of an innocent beer. This is why, despite its supreme beauty, we cannot include this among our favourite soaks. If you're in the area, however, and your muscles ache from an exhaustive hike in the wilderness, or from long hours in the driver's seat, this place just might provide the rejuvenation you need.
Cleanliness = 5
Amenities = 5
Exclusivity = 1
Scenery = 5
Community = 1
Camping = 1 (although we didn't try to stay here in this parking lot, we were pretty certain the park staff would be by in the evening to get rid of stragglers)