Glaciers at Berg Lake campsite was the highlight
So the hike at Mount Robson and Berg Lake was a memorable one for us and also one of the better hikes we’ve had in a while. This was also the hike which helped us level up our hiking game and whetted a keen appetite for more. It is by far one of the best hiking trails in Canada, in our opinion. You can hear parts of the glacier breaking off in the night and it sounds like thunder!
Great for first-time multiday hikers
The trails are well-paved and well-marked. The toilets were one of the more pleasant ones we’ve come across so far.
It was also our first multi-day hike together as a couple and our first ‘real’ backcountry hike. We both hiked elsewhere previously elsewhere in Asia with friends before we met. Those hikes didn’t require us to be carrying a huge pack as we had porters (and they were amazing).
We were such amateurs back in 2014 when we did this hike (we are still not super experienced but definitely better) that we packed like we were going on a gourmet picnic. I kid you not – we brought eggs in an egg holder which ironically is for camping. I suppose they meant camping from your van. And we had all our food in a cooler bag. Funny enough, it didn’t cross our minds then that we might have looked rather silly.
You will be looking to park at the Robson River Parking Area, where the trailhead begins. Access is from Mount Robson Viewpoint junction. Follow the Kinney Lake Road north from the service station for about 2km to the Kinney Lake/Berg Lake parking area. Look for the path that begins across the Robson River bridge at the end of the parking area. It’s a pretty scenic drive in and we camped around Wells Gray campground for a night just because we were late starters and could not get to the trailhead on time.
[We went on this hike in 2014 so if directions have changed, please let me know.]
About the hike:
This was a fairly easy hike as we’ve come to learn on hindsight after attempting other backcountry hikes later. That said, it is still an uphill climb all through the trail where the falls are, until the Berg Lake campsite.
What we liked about this trail was that it is well-marked and well-maintained as we’ve come to appreciate after some other hikes we’ve been on. It is about a 790m climb from the trailhead to Berg Lake campground and about 20km. The climb begins after Whitehorn campground at 1115m right up to the Emperor Falls campground at 1630m, which is a distance of about 5km. We covered the return trip in a day from Berg Lake campground as it was largely downhill and we went through that fairly quickly.
There are certainly other days hikes you can do from Berg Lake. We made Berg Lake campground our ‘base’ and went on a day hike to Snowbird Pass the following day. It was quite a semi-scramble in the beginning as we scaled up and over some boulders.
This hike has been described as ‘long and demanding’ in a guidebook and it sure was. Still, it was a spectacular hike to the vast view of the Reef Icefield. It is an out-and-back route so you’ll be going out the same way. We didn’t do much research back then and didn’t know that until we were mid-way into it and came across another group hiking out and they mentioned it. The distance one-way is about 10km with a gain of about 780m. It was all worth it and overall a beautiful hike with great views most of the hike, and the meadows are filled with marmots! They pop up every now and then to check out who’s passing through their backyard.
We liked Canadian Rockies Hiking Books (canadianrockiestrailguide.com) and used the book as research material for most of our hikes in Canada. The book as a good list of best hiking trails in Canada and latest updates on the trails on their website. We’ve also found ClubTread Community rather useful in providing trip information.