I spent Father’s Day weekend in Jasper National Park at the Pocohontas campground with my dad and siblings. Pocohontas is at the base of the road that leads to the Miette hot springs, which is another 15km drive up the windy mountain trail.
The campground is great for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in town, or who want to spend a lot of time at Miette. It’s also very budget-friendly, as you are not paying for amenities such as on-site showers and hook-ups. Another plus is that the site is 40 minutes closer to Edmonton and breaks up the drive if you are planning on spending any time further west.
There are decent secluded campsites, and you can get a good little fire going to roast marshmallows. Curfew is a standard 11pm. The bathrooms are clean with running water and flush toilets, an upgrade for anyone who is used to truly roughing it. Pocohontas also has cabins available right next to the main road.
We’ve hiked the miners trail in the past, and it gives an excellent view of the surrounding mountains and down into the valley. The road up to Miette has beautiful lookouts, and stopping at the Punch Bowl Falls is always pleasant. At Miette, there are usually a few mountain goats hanging around. They do wander pretty close to people, but I wouldn’t risk trying to get close to them because it is best to leave wild animals alone. We did see a few rubbing up against cars’ bumpers in the parking lot, trying to get a good scratch. I left my car hoping they wouldn’t do it to mine and wreck its perfect paint job.
There is some really nice trails that leave from Miette, but we just stuck to the hot springs this time. We went both later at night (it closes at 11) and in the late morning. Both times were not very busy, and the springs are much larger than Banff’s so a lot more people are welcome to relax. They even have a kid friendly splash pool, and a deeper, adult geared no splash zone. There is a medium cold pool and a really cold pool that are generally both empty except for the hottest summer days.
The view of the surrounding mountains is great and it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere (which you are). There is no cell reception on the mountain, and your phone doesn’t pick up anything until you are on the main highway far below. If you are looking to get any service at Pocohontas, good luck. I would suggest staying somewhere closer to town in the valley.