Tips & Tricks to help you plan your next adventure
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.