Most Important Facts
- Register: Prior to commencing this hike, you need to register at the Mount Robson visitor center (BC-16, Mount Robson, BC V0E 2Z0)
- Trailhead: The trail begins 2 km from the visitor center along the Robson River
- Distance: The Berg Lake campsite is 22 km away from the trailhead, hence it is a 44 km return hike
- Elevation gain: 800 m, maximum elevation at Berg Lake is 1628 a.s.l.
- Hours needed: from trailhead to Berg lake approx. 8 hours, from campsite back to trailhead approx. 6 hours
- Infrastructure: well-marked and maintained trail, rudimentary campsite at Berg Lake (cooking shelter with windows and stove, outhouses, bear lockers, no potable water but close to a fresh water creek, grey water pit)
- Costs: no fee or permit needed for the hike, one night at Berg Lake campground costs approx. 20 CAD
- Planning: ask for wildlife and weather conditions at the visitor center
- Useful links:
- Mount Robson Visitor Information
- Trail description
Our Packing List
- Two large backpacks with rain cover
- Lightweight, rainproof tent for two people
- Two sleeping bags (down feather)
- Two inflatable camping mattress, two inflatable pillows
- Stove, cutlery, swiss army knife, gas for stove, lighter
- Bear bell and bear spray
- Food for two days, two water bags (1.5 liter each), two water bottles
- First aid kit
- Water purifier tablets
- Toilet paper, toothbrush, soap, mini towel
- Sun cream, sun glasses, sun hat
- Hiking cloths, one dry layer for the night in the tent, rain jacket
- Camera gear (Sony a7r II, Sony 16-35mm 4.0, Sony 55mm 1.8, ND-Filter, tripod, peak design backpack mount)
- GPS watch and smartphone
- Diary and pen
- Torch light
- Plastic bag for waste as you have to take all your garbage with you
Our Way of Hiking the Berg Lake Trail
Date of hike: July 7th and 8th 2018 – After several day hikes around Jasper National Park Mirko and I were more than ready for another backcountry experience. The moment we found out about the Berg Lake trail at Mount Robson Provincial Park (just one hour drive from Jasper) we knew that we really want to hike this trail.
Luckily, there was exactly one camping spot available (due to a cancellation) on July 7th at the Berg Lake campground. We booked it straight away, happy to be able to hike this world-renowned trail. This is also why we ignored the rainy weather forecast and were prepared to hike up to Berg Lake even in rain.
So it came that on July 7th we registered at the Mount Robson visitor center around 8 am. As usual when backcountry hiking in Canada, we were supposed to watch a short safety information video. We did not learn new things, but still, it’s part of the game and helps that hikers from all over the world stay safe on these trails. At 9 am we started our long hike – against all expectations – in warm sunshine.
To orientate, hiking to the Berg lake campground, we passed four other campgrounds called Kinney Lake, Whitehorn, Emperor Falls and Marmot campground along the way. Also past Berg Lake campground, there are two more backcountry campgrounds, Rearguard and Robson pass.
Generally, the trail (detailed route here) is well maintained and offers many highlights. The first highlight along the trail was the spectacular view on the turquoise blue Kinney lake that we reached after the first 7km of hiking through boreal forest.
Leaving Kinney lake behind we then headed out onto the bottom of the valley. Hiking in between huge peaks on either side, we got more and more curious about the views that we will be rewarded with once reaching higher altitudes.
After another break at the Whitehorn campground located at a beautiful creek, we entered the “Valley of a Thousand falls”, which definitively lives up to the name with its various waterfalls. Here the trail got quite steep, gaining the last 500 meters of elevations in roughly 5 kilometers.
Undisputedly, the most impressive waterfall in this valley was the Emperor fall. We have reached it after the steep ascending at kilometer 16. We were able to walk very close to the waterfall. And I have enjoyed the “shower” in the mist.
After the Emperor falls and another break the trail continuous less steep towards Berg Lake. We spotted many beautiful flowers along the trail. Also, we came across a group of deer and observed them for a while.
As often on long hikes, the last kilometers were the hardest. But we had to push forward as the clouds got darker and darker. Once we reached the beginning of Berg lake, we enjoyed the first views of the reflection of the north east face of Mount Robson and the surrounding glaciers in the water.
By the way, Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It is entirely located within Mount Robson Provincial Park (B.C) and with that part of the Rainbow Range. The mountain was first surveyed by James McEvoy and the first documented ascent was achieved in 1913.
Even more remarkable to me were the views of Berg glacier calving directly into Berg lake. In earlier times there were many icebergs visible on Berg lake, due to which the lake got its name. Nowadays, the glacier has receded dramatically, leaving no more traces of icebergs in the water.
Just in time we set up our tent, heavy rain started and we were really happy to find shelter in the cooking cabin where we prepared our well-deserved pasta. We went to bed early to get ready for the next days 22km descend, looking forward to hike the way back and enjoying the views from a different perspective and on a different time of the day.
- Reserve ahead; the Berg Lake trail is a popular backcountry hiking trail and campgrounds are usually fully booked in high-season.
- Book two nights at Berg Lake campground so that you are able to explore the beautiful region around Berg Lake. We were not able to do this due to high season but we have read about some nice day hikes.
- If you do not get a campground spot, bike to the end of Kinney Lake (7 km) and hike the rest in one long day hike, back and forth.
- Speak to the Mount Robson park rangers before your hike, it’s always good to know the current conditions of the trail as well as the wildlife situation.
- Pack wisely and only the necessary in order to limit the weight of your backpack.
- If you travel from Jasper to Mount Robson Provincial Park do not forget to turn back your clock one hour as Mount Robson Provincial Park is in another time zone.
Our Trek Rating and Résumé
- Technical difficulty: 5/10
- Necessary fitness: 8/10
- Scenery: 9/10
- Wildlife: 3/10
- Fun: 8/10
After having done several day- and multi-day hikes in British Columbia and Alberta it is fair to say that Berg lake trail is one of our favorites. We can definitely recommend it and would have loved to even stay one night longer at the camp to explore and enjoy the surroundings even more.