Hinton is a town of almost 10,000 people (2016) on the Yellowhead Highway in the Alberta Rockies region of Alberta. Hinton sells itself as a gateway town to the Rockies, and also for its beaver boardwalk and surrounding parkland. If you're driving through, a coffee stop in the town, and a stretch along the boardwalk is a good opportunity for a driving break.
Hinton is a small town in the Athabasca River valley, 80 km (50 miles) along the main Yellowhead Highway from Jasper National Park. For those driving through there are a good range of services on the highway, a fast-food, a few motels, tourism information and a park. A couple of blocks back from the highway is the town proper, with some shopping and cafes.
While a native smallpox camp occupied a site along Hardisty Creek in 1870, the hamlet was established in 1911 and named for William P. Hinton, vice president of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The Hinton coal mine opened in 1931; a pulp mill opened in 1955.
Grand Trunk's ill-fated expansion westward bankrupted the line as the more valuable southern route through Calgary (along what is now Trans-Canada Highway 1) had already been claimed by rival Canadian Pacific Railway and a short-lived third national railway (Canadian Northern Railway) covered much of the same territory. Canadian National has operated the line since 1923. At 8:40AM on February 8, 1986 a CN freight train passed multiple red (stop) signals and jumped a switch to enter the mainline, colliding with a passenger train near Hinton and killing twenty-three; a historic plaque marks the crash site (near Carldale Road east of Hinton).
Hinton, mile 978 west of Winnipeg, remains as a flag stop on Via Rail's Canadian train. The town is one of two staging areas for expeditions in the Willmore Wilderness Park (the other being Grande Cache) and is home to the Wild Mountain Music Fest, a weekend long show hosted by the Entrance Ranch.
The Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) runs through town. Highway 40 (north-south) runs west of Hinton.
- 1 Hinton station (Via Rail) (Hwy 16 & Switzer Drive), toll-free: . VIA Rail's Canadian (three times weekly, Vancouver to Toronto) will make a flag stop on 48 hours notice.
- Hinton Transit. One local route with hourly service will likely be of little use to visitors, no Sunday or holiday service, reduced service during summer and Spring Break. $3/ride or $8/day.
- 2 Hinton/Jasper-Hinton Airport (YJP IATA) (19 km SW of Hinton on Hwy 16), ☏ .
- Air Jasper, Jasper-Hinton Airport. Charter flights and freight service, custom sightseeing tours of Maligne Lake, Columbia Icefields, Mt. Robson, Amethyst Lake, Jasper National Park, Banff National Park or Glacier National Park.
- Highland Helocopters, Jasper-Hinton Airport, ☏ .
- Peregrine Helicopters, Jasper-Hinton Airport, ☏ . Charter helicopter serving forestry and wildlife management teams. Helicopter tours include sightseeing and heli-hiking.
- Alberta Forest Service Museum, 1176 Switzer Dr, ☏ . History of Alberta’s forestry industry. Open year-round. free.
- Hinton Historical Interpretive Centre. Grand Trunk Pacific train station, the oldest surviving building in Hinton, was in service from 1911 until the 1980s. Relocated 2003 (it's now across the Yellowhead Highway from the current Via Rail shelter) and (as of 2014) under renovation for future use as a museum. A memorial for the 1986 Hinton train collision is also planned.
- Beaver Boardwalk. Walk around the lake with lots of evidence of beaver dams and lodges. Early morning or evening you may even see one. The timber boardwalk connects to waterside gravel paths around the area. Easy to spend an hour or two here.
- Inroads Mountain Sports, ☏ . Outdoor activities for all levels, complete beginner to experienced outdoorsperson. Canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, adventure races.
- Yellowhead Raceway, Highway 40 South. Car racing, stock races, demolition derbies begin in May and run all summer long.
- Wolflandtours, ☏ . Outdoor Adventures, Guided hiking and backpacking 2 hours to several days, canoe tours 1-5 days and heli-hiking on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains on the border of Jasper National Park. Experienced wilderness guides speak English, German and French.
- R.D. Zuger Outfitting & Trailrides, ☏ . Hunting trips and trail rides in the Canadian Rockies (Hinton/Jasper area). Experienced guide/outfitter (Ralph) is born and raised in the local area and is able to offer locations based on the rider's/hunter's needs. Individuals and groups welcome. English and German spoken.
- Old Entrance Trailrides, Old Entrance, Highway 40 North., ☏ . Guided trail rides for up to 4 riders along the scenic Athabasca River valley and eastern slopes of the Rockies.
- Mary Reimer Memorial Rodeo, Mary Reimer Park in the Valley. One weekend, free camping, Family Fun Night with open air family dance on Friday, rodeo events on Saturday and Sunday.
- Wild Mountain Music Festival, Entrance Ranch (7km north on Hwy 40), ☏ . third weekend of July. Three day music festival with an eclectic range of performers from the local music scene and across Canada.
- 1 Gus' Pizza Place, 346 Hardisty Ave, ☏ .
- 2 Joey's Only, 343 Gregg Avenue, ☏ . Seafood.
- 3 Fortune House Chinese Restaurant, 150 Athabasca Avenue, ☏ . Chinese and Western food. Located in the valley beside the Roxy Theatre.
- 4 L & W Pizza & Spaghetti House, 414 Carmichael Lane, ☏ .
- 5 The Old Grind, 175 Pembina Avenue (Hill Shopping Centre), ☏ . Counter service for breakfast and lunch. Great range of espresso drinks, and a choice of six brews.
- 6 Royal Garden Restaurant, 296 Smith St, ☏ . Chinese and western cuisine, all-you-can eat luncheon smorgasbord.
- 7 Tokyo Sushi, 571 Gregg Ave, ☏ .
- 8 Stone Peak Restaurant (Overlander Mountain Lodge), 27010 Hwy 16 W, Jasper East (Just before Jasper National Park west of Hinton), toll-free: . Warm, log décor, gourmet cuisine, seasonal specialties, plus mains like salmon with brandy cream and lobster; Oka cheese and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken; AAA Angus steak; and bison tenderloin with Cabernet sauce, truffles and foie gras. Breakfast, lunch (Jul-Sep) and dinner.
- 1 Athabasca Inn & Suites, 124 Athabasca Avenue (Valley Shopping Centre), ☏ . Hotel with Cheers Lounge bar.
- 2 Crestwood Hotel, 678 Carmichael Lane, ☏ . Hotel with For Pete's Steak and Grill restaurant serving New York steak, steak Neptune and chicken cordon Swiss. Restaurant open 6AM to 11PM daily, lounge until midnight Monday-Saturday.
- 3 Holiday Inn Hinton, 393 Gregg Avenue, ☏ .
- 4 Lakeview Inn & Suites, 500 Smith St, ☏ . Hotel with Final Shot Sports Bar.
- 5 McCracken Country Inn, 146 Brookhart St, ☏ .
Brûlé is 16 km (10 miles) northwest of Hinton on Highway 40.
- 1 Brûlé Sand Dunes (access from Highway 16 west of Hinton). Recreation area with network of trails that are popular among ATVers, equestrians, hikers and bikers. Watch out for old telegraph poles and the Grand Trunk Pacific Station, which is said to be buried in the sands.
- 2 Ogre Canyon. Canyon with towering cliffs, meandering streams and sunken sinkholes. Ogre Canyon Falls.
- William A. Switzer Provincial Park, Hwy 40, north of Brûlé, ☏ . In Alberta's upper foothills region, camping, orienteering, camping, fly fishing, kayaking, swimming and wall climbing. Cadomin Caves, a multi-chamber cave system 2,791 m (9,150 ft) in length, allows exploration and caving with permission from the Alberta Speleological Society, but the cave remains wild and proper equipment and experience is necessary. The caves are a bat habitat and are thus closed from September to April.
- 6 West Range Cabins (Horseback Adventures), Township Road 502, ☏ . Backcountry equestrian camp with private sleeping cabins, shower house, hot and cold running water and solar lights. Ride the high country for 2-6 days as part of an all-inclusive guided horseback vacation to Jasper and Solomon Creek Wildland Provincial Parks. Cabin-tent combo rides to the Moosehorn Valley available for up to 8 days in length.
- 7 [formerly dead link] Blue Diamond Bed and Breakfast, 4701 Mountain Road, ☏ .
|Routes through Hinton|
|Vancouver ← Jasper ←||W E||→ Edson → Edmonton|
|Prince George / Kamloops via ← Jasper ←||W E||→ Edson → Edmonton|
|Grande Prairie ← Grande Cache ←||N S||→ becomes → David Thompson Country|