The Canadian Rockies and the National Parks that encompass them are (not surprisingly) some of the most popular areas in Canada. It is easy to see why… the towering, jagged mountains are so beautifully framed by turquoise lakes and fields of grassy plains. One area within the Rockies that may be a little less traveled is Mount Robson, and in particular, the Berg Lake Trail.
The Berg Lake trail is 42km round trip trek that covers a beautifully diverse range of scenery. The final destination gives you glorious views of Mount Robson, which is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Just give it a stalk on insta and you will see what I mean! Over the course of the hike you will gain 850m (ish) in elevation. Compared to other hikes (eg. Wedgemount) this sounds super easy! Do not be fooled… 500m of this elevation gain is over 5km. With your hiking pack on, it will have you puffing for sure!
The first 7km to Kinney Lake is a nice gentle stroll through the forrest floor with Mount Robson peering down at you through the trees. This is a very ‘easy’ first stage and can even be done by bicycle! If you are time poor, this is a great option as a day hike. After following the Robson River you will eventually pop out at the Lake. It is absolutely magical. There are shelters at the far end of Kinney Lake and this is a perfect spot to stop for a snack.
The next stage of the hike traverses along the valley bottom to Whitehorn Campsite (4km) before beginning the 5km climb into the Valley of a Thousand Falls. This is the most challenging section of the hike, but the scenery is stunning. Once you reach the top you will find yourself at a junction where you can follow the trail toward Berg Lake, or take a small detour to Emperor Falls. I can’t stress enough how beautiful these falls are! It is not far at all… maybe 500m return at most, and you will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen.
Next is the final 3km before reaching Marmot Campsite. This is where we camped as it is much smaller than the Berg Lake Campsite and sits right on the water’s edge. The hike to this point is absolutely spectacular. The trail is cut into the side of a mountain and weaves its way right to the shore of Berg Lake.
Because we did this hike out of season, there were not too many other hikers and we had dibs on the seven tent pads available. We went to sleep to the sound of grumbles and groans as pieces of the Berg Glacier calved into the lake below.
To make things a little easier, we left our tents set up at Marmot Campground and hiked the final 2km to Berg Lake Campground with day packs the next day. We unfortunately did not have the greatest weather, so didn’t hike up to Toboggan Falls, but I have heard it is stunning if you have the time to do so.
By spending two nights at Marmot Campground, we were able to truly appreciate the greatness of this area, realise just how cold glacier water is, and most importantly; eat lots of snacks. This hike can definitely be achieved in two days, however they would be two very long days!
Things to remember:
- It is mandatory to purchase a camping permit for the Berg Lake Trail. This must be done at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre where you will receive additional information from a very old orientation video.
- Booking is essential between June 14, 2018 and September 30, 2018. There is a maximum number of people allowed on this trail at a time, so be sure to check out the BC parks website for more information.
- The weather can change very quickly in the mountains, so be prepared for all conditions.
- There are food lockers available at each campground. Be sure to use them and of course pack out what you pack in!
- Although we didn’t see any, this is bear country so make sure you have bear spray and are making adequate noise on the trail.
- Some of the campgrounds have shelters, however these are not for sleeping in. You will need to bring appropriate camping items.
This is a spectacular hike with amazing rewards for your efforts. Enjoy and be safe!