Hinton, with a population of 10,000 (2023)  is 10 kilometres east of Jasper (just outside the  Jasper National Park boundary), and 270 km. west of Edmonton. The town was established following the construction of a pulp mill in the 1950’s and several modern coal mines in the 70’s and 80’s. Hinton has developed in two separate areas, about 5 km. apart, known to residents as the “Hill” and the “Valley,” with the pulp mill in between.

The town has excellent recreational facilities including a 25-meter indoor pool, a toddler pool, hot tub and sauna, plus fitness room, racquetball and squash courts, 2 arenas, and a curling rink. There is a golf course, a world-class cross-country skiing facility, a public campground, stock car track west of town, and several tennis courts and baseball diamonds. The town is close to the mountains, and has many opportunities for camping, hiking, downhill skiing, fishing, and hunting (the latter two, not inside the National Park!) The town also has a movie theatre, with a stage for local theatre productions.

Hinton History

The Town of Hinton was named was named for William P. Hinton, Vice President and General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, in 1911 and remained a hamlet for the next 45 years.

Settlement in the area was scattered along a line some twelve kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. There was a First Nations encampment in 1870  along Hardisty Creek where an aboriginal group from the Jasper area was travelling to Lac Ste. Anne to find medical aid for the smallpox epidemic ravaging the indigenous population in Alberta.   In 1888, Jack Gregg established a trading post along the Jasper Trail at Prairie Creek (now Muskuta Creek), to serve travellers along the Jasper trail.

The construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1908 included  a construction camp at the mouth of Prairie Creek into the Athabasca River). A trestle was built over the creek and is still in use  today. In 1911 the Grand Trunk Pacific built a station house at mile 978 west of Winnipeg. The station was named Hinton, and the community was born. The Canadian Northern Railway (which rant a few miles north of Grand Trunk)  also established a station called Bliss in 1914., about 4 miles (6 km) east of Hinton  Entrance (just west of town, at the Park gates) was important to Hinton as its communications centre. Entrance was located on the Canadian Northern rail line north of the Athabasca River  (The original site of Entrance is now known as Old Entrance).

In 1923. The Canadian government nationalized Grand Trunk and several other financially troubled Canadian rail companiesand amalgamated them into a new government-owned entity, the Canadian National Railway.  The company abandoned the use of the Canadian North rail line (through Bliss) in 1926 and operated only the former Grant Trunk line through Hinton.

The population of Hinton experienced a boom when the Hinton coal mine opened in 1931. But the Ggreat Depression caused the demand to fall and the  population to dwindle to fewer than 100 people. The town rebounded in 1955 with the construction of a pulp mill.

Hinton Attractions

William Switzer Provincial Park

about 30 km northwest of Hinton on Forestry Trunk Road/Highway 40 and 90 km east from the Jasper townsite
780-865-5600

William A. Switzer Provincial Park is located on both sides of the Bighorn Highway, between Grande Cache and Hinton. Various campgrounds are maintained on the shores of Gregg Lake, Cache Lake, Blue Lake and Jarvis Lake.

Athabasca Lookout Nordic Centre

Hwy 16, West of Hinton, 2 km, to Hwy 40 North, 18 km

The trails are 10 meters wide with distances of 1.25 km up to 25 km. Includes a 1.5 km lighted cross-country ski trail for evening skiing. The rustic day-use chalet is large enough to accommodate groups up to 50. Included in the centre’s facilities are the Naturbahn, and a 1,000-meter natural luge run.

Athabasca Tower

Hwy 16 West 2 km, Hwy 40 North 18 km

This forestry-look-out, offers the adventurous a view of the Rockies too spectacular to explain. Hang gliders take off here and glide down the landing area several kilometres away.

Brule Sand Dunes

Hwy 16 West 30 km, turn at Overlander Lodge

The trails start at the Community hall, suitable for hikers or off-road vehicle enthusiasts. See the old telegraph poles and the Grand Trunk Pacific Station buried in time from the ever-changing sand dunes. Great view of the Rockies.

Ogre Canyon

Hwy 16 West 2 km, Hwy 40 North 5 km, road past Brule 14 km

The Ogre Canyon is a deeply carved cleft in the mountainside, in a small sliver of land between the first range of the Rocky Mountains and Brule Lake. At the base of the cliffs are sinkholes created by underground streams. There is interesting vegetation inside the canyon.

Pocohontas

Hwy 16, West of Hinton, 45 km. Information
(780)-866-3732

The name Pocohontas was given to the “Indian Head” in full head-dress on top of the mountain across Athabasca River, the deserted mining town across from the Indian Head, and the local motel.

Yellowhead Raceway

Hwy 16, West of Hinton, 1.5 km, to Hwy 40 South, 6 km
Offers a variety of attractions. Hobby-Stock and Street-Stock races and Demolition Derby Days. Season begins in May.

Cadomin

Hwy 16, West of Hinton, 1.5 km, to Hwy 40 South, 48 km

This area has a number of attractions. The Cardinal Divide separates the Athabasca River, flowing north and the North Saskatchewan River. Mountain Park is a ghost town that was mined for coal, and now has a cemetery, a few cement foundations, an old abandon mining shaft, and a campground. Grave Flat Forest Tower has the most breathtaking panoramic view, though the trails and roads are narrow and rough in spots. Whitehorse Recreation Area has corrals and camping sites for hikers and outfitters who use the 36 km trail to Miette Hot springs which can be biked, hiked or horse-back ridden (an overnight trip) or take the shorter 10 km trip to Whitehorse Falls.

The Cadomin Caves are formations caused by time and ground water. Cadomin Cave near Hinton has been closed by Provincial Government Ministerial Order since 2010.

Hinton, Alberta Ae Map