You've seen the photos, you've heard the stories and now you want a piece of the action for yourself. And who wouldn't!
Canada's Berg Lake Trail is arguably one of the most sought-after back country camping permits available for Canada's summer months, and spots sell out quickly!
The trail begins near the Mount Robson Visitors centre and climbs steadily to the glacial fed Berg Lake. Along the way you'll be surrounded by mountains, cruise past waterfalls, hike over suspension bridges, have lunch staring at glaciers and see lakes bluer than anything we saw in Canada, and if you know anything about lakes in Canada you'll know that that is really saying something!
Fun Fact: The view of Mount Robson from the Visitors Centre is absolutely breathtaking on a clear day, and totally worth a stop on your road trip if you don't have time to fit hiking any of the trail in.
The trail is 23km in length and rises from 853m (2800ft) elevation at the trail head to 1649m (5410ft) at Robson Pass, a total elevation gain of almost 800m (2600 ft). Along the way there are 7 reservable campsites.
We ran in and out in a day as a training run, it was a lot of fun but a very big day! Unless you're into running or hiking very long distances in a single day we'd definitely recommend taking a few nights along the trail to really enjoy it. We think it's be preferable to get to Berg Lake and have a night or 2 there to explore the trails surrounding the area.
The 7 reservable camp sites along the Berg Lake Trail (marked by the green stars on the map above):
Sites are reservable at the Discover Camping website and reservations are can be made as early as October 1st each year for the following season.
For example: To book a spot for July 2020 you will want to be ready to book on October 1st 2019. It can seem like a bit of a hassle having to book that far in advance, but oh boy is it worth it
I'll break the hike up into 3 bite sized pieces.
Berg Lake Trail Head to Lake Kinney:
In A Nutshell (From The Trailhead): 7km, 131m (800ft) elevation gain
Nice and easy. This portion of the trail winds through forest track along the shore of the Robson River with some small but very manageable rises in elevation. You'll be rewarded handsomely with your first glimpses of Kinney lake and Mount Robson, and I promise you will be happy you've made it this far.
* For those who are not interested in doing a huge multiway (or very long single day) hike we really recommend Kinney lake! It's easily achievable for hikers of all abilities and the lake itself is extremely beautiful!
Kinney Lake to Emperor Falls
In A Nutshell (From The Trailhead): 16km, 762m (2500ft) elevation gain
From Kinney Lake on to Whitehorn Campground you will continues to hike up hill slowly, from the trailhead to Whitehorn you will have travelled 11km and gained only 250m (800ft) in elevation. A modest gain in elevation.
However the next portion of the trail is where it starts to get a little trickier. From Whitehorn to Emperor falls it is only 5km, but in that 5km you will gain 518m (1700ft), more than double the climbing you've already done in half the distance!
AS stated, this next part is steep, but there are plenty of stops and viewpoints along the way to rest. Don't forget to check out the falls and give yourself a pat on the back, the hard part is done!
Emperor Falls to Berg Lake (& The Various Campgrounds around it)
In A Nutshell (From The Trailhead): To Marmort Campground 19km, 792m, To Berg Lake Campground 21km, 788m, To Rearguard Campground 22km, 793m, To Robson Pass Campground 23km, 796m
The next section from Emperor Falls to Berg Lake is relatively flat with only 30m in elevation gain over the final 7km of the hike. You will first get to Marmot campground on the shores of Berg Lake first. You'll get your first glimpses of the incredible glacier feeding the lake and if you're lucky views of the peak of Mount Robson looming over you.
From Marmot Campground it is another 2km along the lake shore on to Berg Lake Campground and then both Rearguard and Robson Campgrounds are only a few kilometres further.
Berg Lake Trail was our favourite stop in all of BC and Alberta on our 3 week road trip. We absolutely loved it, and highly recommend anyone doing as such or as little of it as appeals to them.
Got 3 weeks in Canada's West and want to see, do, smell & touch as much as possible? Into hiking, the outdoors, good coffee, awesome book stores, seeing wildlife and eating & drinking tasty things? Look no further. Read on for our 3 weeks whirlwind road trip of BC and the Canadian Rockies.
From Vancouver to The Rockies and back this road trip will take you to mountain summits, past waterfalls, around lakes and via some of the best coffee we could get our paws on. And as a bonus we'll throw in a whole heap of wildlife. Bears. I'm talking about seeing bears.
After around 40 hours in transit due to a delay and a resultant missed flight and a nights sleep in LAX (thanks for that Air New Zealand), we landed bleary eyed but happy in a sunny Vancouver. We didn't have loads of time here but we tried to fit in a few of the 'Must Do's', and we weren't disappointed.
To Do, See, Eat & Sleep - A Highlight Reel
Run, walk, stroll, bike, roller-skate.. Whatever your choice of transport Stanley Park is worth checking out. A large green island covered in trails and encircled by a 9km flat-as-a-tack path following the seawall. There is also a very pretty rose garden on the island that makes for a perfect picnic or chill-and-read-your-book location. We also managed to spot sea otters and sea lions here.
Granville Island feels a little bit like a carnival, with lots of colour and interesting things to look at. The Public Market is full of fruits and veg along side meat, seafood, treats, coffee & more. It's worth a look at if you're into buying a whole heap of delicious berries really cheap. The island also has loads of art galleries and craft stores. Worth an afternoon stroll.
The Grouse Grind and BCMC are two trail challenges for those who like to get high over a short period of time. Both gaining around 800m in elevation over less than 3km these trails are steep, but totally worth it for the views at the top. And if you’re feeling lazy once you get up you can always head back down on the gondola.
An insta-famous suspension bridge & a myriad of trails surrounded by lush green. An easy getaway from city life. Though technically on the Sea to Sky Highway this is so close to town it's worth chucking it in here.
A cute place for a picnic, hike or canoe. A few groovy stores and world famous honey donuts. A nice arvo activity!
Hike: Quarry Rock, 4km return trip, 100m elevation gain.
BEER & VEGAN FOOD IN VANCOUVER
We only had a couple of days in Vancouver, however we managed to find some epic food and drink in that time. Here's our favourites!
Restaurants & Treats:
SEA TO SKY HIGHWAY - Vancouver to Whistler via Squamish & Surrounds
The Sea to Sky Highway runs from Vancouver to Whistler. It's 2 hours in driving distance, but that short distance is packed with lots and lots to do. Hikes, lookouts, gondolas and more means there is something for everyone in the car.
Unfortunately the 2 days we spent along this road it rained. Lots. Hence, we didn't get to check off all the things we'd planned, but here are some of the things we did get to do and a couple of things we missed out on but strongly recommend based on what others have told us.
Depending on the weather and how many hikes you want to do you could easily spend a few days along this stretch. Do whatever suits you, that's what holidays are all about.
Things To Do Heading North:
Shannon Falls Provincial Park
Alice Lake Provincial Park
Camp, hike, swim, canoe, kayak, you name it Alice Lake Provincial Park has got it.
As one of the closest (and most beautiful) parks in the surrounds of Vancouver this campground books out early in the season. Head on over to the Discover Camping Website to make your reservation asap.
Hike: Four Lakes Trail, 6km round trip, 200m elevation gain. Easy & beautiful.
Sleep: $35 for a drive in campsite (no hook-ups) and $23 for a walk in campsite (tent only)
Garibaldi Provincial Park
Duffey Lake Road
From Whistler you'll be heading North East towards Clearwater and Wells Grey provincial Park before then heading east to the world famous Jasper and Banff National Parks. We recommend taking Duffey Lake Road that runs from Pemberton along winding roads to Lillooet. The road is stunning surrounded by towering peaks and views around every corner. If you're lucky you'll see some wildlife along this way too.
WELLS GREY PROVINICAL PARK & CLEARWATER
Once in Clearwater you're at the gateway to Wells Grey Provincial Park. The Park itself is a one road in, one road out set-up making it difficult to miss any of the highlights. You can easily hit all the main sights in one day if you're low on time, that's what we did and we didn't regret it.
There are 2 campsites in the National Park and both looked beautiful. These are again booked through the Discover Camping Website. Beware of mosquitos.. they're hungry and they're everywhere!
Alternatively you can stay at the Clearwater KOA Campground, it's nice and does all the things a good campground should.
Wells Grey Highlights
Spahats Falls & The Shaden Trail
From Wells Grey & Clearwater you'll head north east to Mount Robson Provincial Park, our personal favourite stop of the whole trip.
Mount Robson is the highest peak in BC, and on a clear day it's absolutely jaw dropping. And that'd just when you check it out from the visitor centre. If you want the real deal, the real million dollar view then you should take the time and effort to check it out from the shores of the glacier fed Berg Lake I promise you will not be disappointed.
We go into WAY more detail about the trail and hike itself, along with the variety of campground available along the way in a separate post that can be found here. But for now I'll just give you a brief overview of the trail you absolutely have to do.
Berg Lake Trail:
23km one way, 1000m elevation, 7 campgrounds. You can either do this over multiple days and camp along the way, or do it as one big trail run. Both are amazing and the views are incredible. read more about how to do the Berg Lake Trail here.
Note: The campsites for the hike book out early! Make sure you book these as far in advance as possible at the Discover Camping website.
From Mount Robson Visitors Centre it's a cruise 20 minute drive onwards to the town of Jasper and it's beautiful National Park.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK
As you can probably tell we teamed up with Jucy again for the Canadian leg of our trip. They rent vans out of Point Roberts just outside Vancouver. We have found this size van great for us as you can park anywhere a normal car can in towns with the bonus of a few extra creature comforts a camper van provides over just a rental car. If you're interested, check out their site here.
We jumped off the bus in Tulum from Playa del Carmen and after a bite to eat we headed straight to the nearest bike rental place and got a pushy each for 60 mexican pesos per person per day (about $5 aussie for those playing at home).
Tulum, like all of the Yucatan we saw is super flat, and with the assistance of some bike pathways, the bikes were a great way to get around for the few days we were there.
We headed off down towards the beach and our acommodation. We dropped off our gear and went for a little explore before having a relaxing arvo catching up on a little homework.
The next morning we got up early and cycled back through town to the Gran Cenote. We got here nice and early and only had to contend with a handful of scuba divers to enjoy the turtles, bats and fish in this awesome little spot.
The last few months on the Yucatan have seen fairly regular waves of seaweed and some kind of algae getting washed into the beaches. We had one amazing blue day of swimming when we came to Tulum as part of a day trip to Chichen Itza a few days before, but unfortunately for the time we were staying in Tulum we had to contend with the seaweed.
That afternoon we went for a spin along the beach and found a relatively weed free spot to swim and enjoy.
The last morning we got up early and rode to the Tulum ruins. Whilst quite a small site with no huge structures, we nonetheless loved the setting of the ancient city overlooking the sea here, and enjoyed it much more than the zoo that is Chichen Itza. Will let pictures do the talking for this one, but we both suggest going early (the site opens at 8am) and taking plenty of mosquito repellent and even your swimming gear to really enjoy this site.
After this it was back to the hotel to pick up our gear and back on the bikes to town for a bus to back to Cancun and a ferry to our next stop, Isla Mujeres.
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
This blog may contain several affiliate links to products and services that I use and love. By clicking on these links, I might get a teeny tiny contribution towards my travel fund, at no extra cost to you!
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