As a lover of natural hot springs and hiking, Mist Mountain Hot Springs has been on my bucket list for quite some time. Located in Kananaskis, Alberta, the hike leads you up a trail that provides gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains before arriving at several warm natural hot springs to soak in and enjoy the spectacular views. If you’re not too tired, you can continue up to the peak of Mist Mountain from here, but we only adventured to the hot springs and it was well worth it.
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Getting to the Trailhead
To get to the trailhead, I highly recommend downloading the GPS map to the trailhead from AllTrails. From Calgary, you will head west on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway). Take the exit towards Highway 40 South heading out to Kananaskis. Counting on Highway 40 for about 84 kilometers (52 miles). The trailhead will be located on the East side of Highway 40. It’s important to note that the road out to the trailhead is closed from December 1- June 14 for wildlife preservation.
Mist Mountain Hot Springs Trail
The trail to Mist Mountain Hot Springs is considered moderately difficult. The trail is 6.3 km (3.9 miles) roundtrip with 583 meters elevation gain. While it doesn’t require advanced technical skills, it does involve elevation gain and rocky terrain. Hikers should be prepared for uphill sections and occasional muddy spots, especially in wetter seasons. The trail meanders through dense evergreen forests and across open meadows. You’ll find yourself immersed in the tranquility of nature, with towering peaks and stunning vistas as your constant companions. If you decide to continue up to the ridge, the trail becomes much more challenging and requires more advanced technical skills.
Arriving at the Hot Springs
As the trail climbs steadily towards the alpine meadows, the anticipation of reaching Mist Mountain Hot Springs builds with each step. The journey itself was a rewarding experience, but when we finally arrived at the hot springs, the sense of tranquility and connection to nature was truly remarkable. The warm, mineral-rich waters bubbling up from the earth provided an oasis of relaxation amidst the rugged wilderness. With the mountains as your backdrop and the soothing embrace of the springs, you’ll quickly understand why this hike is a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking both physical and spiritual rejuvenation.
As this hike has gained popularity due to social media in the past few years, I highly recommend leaving early. The hot springs become very busy mid-day and you may end up waiting quite a while for your turn to soak in the pools. The hot springs themselves are very tiny and while one pool can fit up to four people, the other one can only fit 1-2 people. We visited on a weekday and arrived at the trailhead around 8:30 a.m, we were lucky and had the hot springs to ourselves for the whole time.
What to Bring On Mist Mountain Hot Springs Hike
When heading out for a hike, it’s crucial to pack thoughtfully to ensure both your safety and enjoyment. Essentials include hiking boots, weather-appropriate clothing (I always bring this fleece with me!), a well-fitted backpack, and a reliable trail map or GPS device. Hydration is key, so bring an adequate supply of water and a reusable bottle. High-energy snacks, such as trail mix or granola bars will keep you fueled on the trail. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a first-aid kit for unexpected situations. Lastly, always bring bear spray to protect yourself from wildlife. Always check the specific needs of your chosen trail and tailor your packing list accordingly.
The Importance of Responsible Exploration
Hiking allows us to connect with the beauty of the outdoors, but it also grants us access to delicate ecosystems that are easily disrupted. By staying on designated trails and adhering to Leave No Trace principles, hikers can minimize their impact on the environment. This responsible approach ensures that the pristine wilderness we admire remains unspoiled for future generations to enjoy.
Where to Stay near Mist Mountain Hot Springs Hike
There are many campgrounds located within Kananaskis that would be a good option to stay near the trailhead. Visit Alberta Parks to reserve a camping spot. In regards to Hotels, The Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is a gorgeous luxury lodge located in the heart of Kananaskis and would be a great place to stay near the trailhead for Mist Mountain Hot Springs. Visitors can also stay somewhere in the town of Canmore which is just a 15 minutes drive away from Kananaskis. I recommend the Blackstone Mountain Lodge or the Stoneridge Mountain Resort.