Distance: Distances depend on which loop you choose to do. The entire trail system wouldn’t take you more than 1.5 hours.
Access: Drive 43km east of Jasper townsite to the turn off toward Miette Hotsprings Road. The parking lot is on your right side just past the Pocahontas Cabins.
There is a lot of forgotten history east of Jasper. Every summer, thousands of tourists drive down Highway 16 towards the amazing landforms that encompass Jasper National Park. Those who travel east to west drive past an area no longer visible from the highway as it’s been overcome with forest.
This area was once known as the thriving mining town of Pocahontas. Built in 1908 and closed in 1921, the town of Pocahontas was home to 200-300 residents who all worked in some way at the mine. Of course, mining is no longer allowed in the parks.
The trails now take one through the remains of the town. There are a couple of old structures still standing and it’s very interesting to see the remnants of what was actually an old town right below the magnificent Roche Miette.
You can complete an easy loop around the remains in under an hour. Scenery varies from billowing aspens to open grassy views of Roche Miette. If you’re feeling adventurous and up for a bit of a puff, look for a path that diverges from the main loop up a gentle slope.
The slope steadily increases in grade until you reach an exposed, narrow, very steep path. This whole trek (under 15 minutes) leads to an immediate view of the valley below. Follow along the side of a sharp drop-off on your left side, and a calming forest on the right until you see a small sign pointing to Punch Bowl Falls. Follow the trail down to the falls. This area is the main viewpoint and parking lot for the falls.
You can retrace your steps to return to the parking lot for Pocahontas, or follow the winding road from the falls back down. Be careful of cars navigating the switchbacks!