Monday, July 12, 2021

Miette Aquacourt and Hot Springs

Hello! Even though I have a love for abandoned things...I have not abandoned this blog. I just wasn't up to anything really blog worthy. I hope you are all doing well and thanks for reading!

We spent the day in Jasper National Park. This beautiful park is located in the Rocky Mountains, about 20 minutes from the border to British Columbia. I recommend making plans ahead of time though if you want to hike or do other outdoor activities. I had no plan and just stopped wherever looked interesting. Also, normally the mountain views would be amazing but they were a bit hazy when we visited. Likely due to smoke blowing in from a wildfire. 

One of the places we stopped was the Miette Hot Springs and Cabins. After a very windy road in, and then a short walk from the main parking area, are the ruins of the original Miette Aquacourt which operated from 1938-1984. 

According to the Parks Canada Website, the history of the Miette Hot Springs goes back to the 1800's when First Nations persons showed the locations of 3 hot springs to members of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. In 1910, a foot or horseback only trail brought in only the most determined bathers. 1913 brought the construction of log bathhouse and sleeping shelter. In 1919, striking miners from the nearby (and now gone) town of Pocahontas, build a temporary bathhouse and 2 sweat houses.

Finally, in 1934, the increasing popularity of the hot springs in the area, prompted the construction of a proper road and permanent 'aquacourt' facilities. Built as a depression unemployment relief project, it opened up work to several hundred men who completed the facility in 1938. 

By 1984, the aquacourt was closed due to unstable rocks on the surrounding slopes, weakening concrete, aging equipment, over crowding, and poor access. The new and current facility opened about a kilometer from the original in 1986.

Here are some images from the Provincial Archives of Alberta:

Exact date unknow but after 1909

c1934-1938 during construction

c. after 1938

c. 1950 from Parks Canada 

Now that you've seen the 'then' photos, here is the Miette Aquacourt today (or yesterday to be exact...). I would have loved to be here in the winter, it must have been beautiful!

Notice the cement border around the grass and trees on the left side of the photo, that
was the pool. Now filled in and with trees. This part of the trail is actually the old pool deck. 

Around the back of the ruins.

Continue on the path, and you will reach the source of the hot springs. 

There are actually 3 hot springs along here but this is the largest and fastest flowing. It was very hot (55C) and had a very strong Sulphur smell. This water comes from about 1500ft down. 

I really enjoyed this detour and wish I could stay longer. One day in Jasper National Park is not enough.