Tucked away in Kananaskis, Alberta is a hidden oasis called Mist Mountain Hot Spring that has two natural pools of refreshing, warm water.
The small, natural hot tubs are an offshoot of the Mist Mountain Trail hike and while the hike may be difficult, it's absolutely worth the journey.
The entire hike is 9.8 kilometres, out and back. The hike also features a beautiful waterfall and the views of the Rocky Mountains will truly take our breath away.
How do you get to the trailhead?
We're not going to lie to you, it's not easy to find. First things first, you need to find the trailhead.
There is a map to help you find your way, but just be aware that there isn't a parking lot or clearly marked starting point, so follow the map even if it feels less obvious than you imagined.
You'll want to use Highway 40 to head into Kananaskis, once you arrive at the destination on your GPS, you'll find a small break in the trees where the trail begins.
It's important to note that this road is often closed between December and June each year, so it's best to wait until summer. While you can go in the fall, it's often quite icy and snow can still be really deep.
How do you find the hot spring?
Once you've started, you're going to be gaining a lot of elevation really quick, so it's a steep hike with a bit of scrambling involved. It's rated as "hard" and is not suitable for beginners.
The trail has been used a ton, so it's easy to follow if it's not covered by snow.
As you continue up the mountain you'll eventually reach a waterfall. The access point to the hot spring is below the waterfall and you'll need to take a right turn off the main trail.
Once you're heading in the right direction, the hot springs will be easy to spot as you'll see steam rising into the air as well as the bright moss and algae covering the rocks.
What's it like?
A best-kept secret for years, this place is now starting to get a lot more popular. There are two pools that can fit about two people each and they are 32 C. You may find a lineup of people waiting to get in if you go on an especially nice day.
While the hike is challenging and it may be busy, taking a dip in a mountain hot spring with views of sprawling peaks and valleys is pretty worth it.
You'll want to be sure to bring lots of layers in case the weather shifts, snacks and a good amount of water. You also want to make sure you've got a good pair of hiking boots with ankle support because the ground can be uneven.
Also, don't forget your first aid kit and bear spray and be sure to take out everything you bring in. Leave no trace!
This is a bucket list experience and you should absolutely add it to yours for a beautiful day in the Rockies.
Mist Mountain Hot Spring
Distance: 9.8 kilometres, there and back
Address: Kananaskis, AB
Why You Need To Go: Dip in a natural hot spring while overlooking the most stunning mountain vistas you can imagine.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.