Mount Robson Provincial Park – Berg Lake Trail

Driving distance from Vancouver : 8hrs

Mount Robson Provincial Park is located at the border of BC and Alberta, near Valemont and Jasper. We left Vancouver on the Friday morning and drove all the way to the Park entrance/Visitor Center. It cost 40$/person for the camping fees and park entry for the 4 days/3 nights.

On the first night, we hiked 7km (about 1h45, 130m elevation gain) will our full backpacks to the first campground, Kinney Lake campground, and set up camp for the night. This campground have an open shelter with picnic tables for cooking, a nice food cache and an outhouse.

On the second day, we headed from Kinney Lake campground early in the morning with our full packs. The main trail gets divided in two a few minutes after you leave the campsite ; the main trail goes up and over in the forest, but you can take the shortcut and walk in the bed of the river (accessible only after June, I believe, depending on the water levels). The shortcut will end up going back in the forest a few minutes later, however you will save quite a bit of an ascent with your pack. The views are great and there is about 660m elevation gain between Kinney and our second campground, Marmot. There is a lot of waterfalls on the way, as you will be following the river coming down from Berg Lake. Get ready for a big push between White Falls and Emperor Falls. There is a 4km section where you will get most of your elevation, and no water will be available during that entire stretch. However you will be fully rewarded once you hit Emperor Falls… This was the biggest waterfall I have ever seen on a hike! It is massive and the shower was good! You can walk really close to the fall for a little refreshing moment!

After Emperor Falls you will keep going up for a little bit and then it will become pretty flat until the lake. Our campground, Marmot, was located right at the beginning of Berg Lake, in between Mist and Berg Glaciers.  It took us 5hrs from Kinney Lake campground to get to Marmot with our full packs (12km, 660m elevation gain).

After setting up the tent we decided to go for a side excursion, as we still had some energy left (…!!). We decided to take the Hargreaves route from Marmot campground and down the Toboggan Falls route to come back on the main Berg Lake trail. It took us about 3hrs to complete that section of the trail. You will first go up quite a bit to Hargreaves view points on the Glaciers and Lake (from there you have a 360 view of Mount Robson, Berg Glacier, Mist Glacier, Hargreaves Glacier and Hargreaves Lake. If you have the energy and time, it’s a really nice trail. Between Hargreaves viewpoint to Toboggan Falls, you will cross some alpine meadows were the flowers are blooming! Once you cross the junction to go down to Toboggan Falls, you can also decide to keep going on the Mumm Basin route. We didn’t as we were short on time, but I’ve heard it is an awesome trail. Going back down on the Toboggan Falls trail, we could see the amazing rocks shapings from the water and the falls. It’s interesting to see so many different features on the trail/in the park.

On the third day, we were getting ready for our big excursion. We left Marmot camp in the morning and headed to Snowbird Pass. The pass is 14km away from Marmot campsite, and your elevation gain is 795m. I would not recommend it for beginner hikers (however you can always try to go as far as you can and set a return time earlier if you doubt you can make it all the way to the top). The trail crosses Berg Lake Campsite (which is HUGE and always busy. It also have a nice close shelter), follow the side of the lake and then enter the bed of the river, pass Rearguard campsite and up to the junction with Snowbird pass trail. You will then turn right and follow the trail that will follow the left side of the Robson river all the way to the botton of the Robson Glacier. From there you will get your elevation, going up left on the moraine all the way up to an impressive alpine meadow (keep your eyes open for marmots!). I would recommend filling your water at Robson Lake before heading up on the trail, as the only water you will find after that is at the beginning of the meadows once you sweat your life out up the steep rocks!

From there you can keep following the trail accross the alpine meadows for a while until you reach again another rocky section and start your final ascent. You can see the Snowbird pass from there and know where your objective is. Once you reach the top, trust me, you won’t believe what you see. Icefield as far as the eye can see from left to right, peaks covered with snow on the horizon… Continental divide, Coleman Glacier… This trail is quite a push, but the reward is worth the pain!

To go back down you will backtrack and return to the campsite. Mt. Robson is the highest peak in the Rockies and it attracts it’s own weather system. Be ready for any type of weather and know that the temperature and forecast changes quickly in the park. We had some rain/thunderstorm each day for 1-2hrs, and the rest of the days were completely sunny and really warm. Also saw some shooting stars as we were there during the Perseid showers!

On the 4th day we hiked back down with our full packs from Marmot Campsite to the trailhead (19km, 5hrs). We were all quite exhausted and stayed in Valemont for the night.

We did about 25hrs of hiking over roughly 74km in 4 days. This park is known world-wide and I have to admit it is probably my favorite hiking trip so far. The landscape is unreal and you will meet people from everywhere in the world coming there to see Mt. Robson and the glaciers!


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