Hiking along the Berg Lake Trail is quite possibly one of the most beautiful experiences in Western Canada. The trail takes you past Mount Robson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, all the way to the famous Berg Lake. The views from here are once in a lifetime, and this is definitely a trip you will want to add to your list. The trail is 23 km long, offering several campsites along the way. This trail books out fast! Starting planning your trip early in the year to make sure you get a spot.
Starting Point: Mount Robson Visitor Centre
Ending Point: Robson Pass Campground at Berg Lake
Total Distance: 46 km
Elevation Gain: 800m
Duration: 2-5 days
The Berg Lake Trail is located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, on the British Columbia side of the Canadian Rockies. The nearest towns are Valemount, BC (which is 30 minutes southwest) and Jasper, Alberta (which is 1 hour east).
Traditional Territory: Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis, Tsuu T’ina, Secwepemcúl’ecw (Secwépemc), Lheidli T’enneh and Aseniwuche Winewak (Rocky Mountain) (source).
Maps & Resources
Map: BC Parks Mount Robson Trail Map. This trail is very user friendly and easy to navigate. A map however is always recommended.
Campsite Reservations: Campsite reservations are required and book out fast. Reservations can be made through BC Parks. Check-in at the visitor’s centre before you start the hike; they will have you do an orientation and give you a laminated permit to carry with you.
Outfitters & Shuttles
Outfitter: There are no outfitters servicing the trail. You must bring your own camping gear with you.
Shuttle: A shuttle is not needed, as this trail starts and ends at the same parking lot.
Day 1: Mount Robson Visitor Centre to Robson Pass
Distance: 23 km
My first time down the Berg Lake trail was a fairly last-minute trip. As mentioned above, reservations book out very quickly, but somehow, we were lucky enough to snag a reservation a few weeks beforehand. With this being said, the only campsite available was at Robson Pass, 2km past Berg Lake. My friend and I had three days off work for the long weekend, so we decided to push this trip to 3 days. If you are not an avid hiker, I would recommend staying at earlier campsites on the trail and making this trip a 3-5 day excursion. Doing the full 23km was quite a lot for one day, considering the weight of all your gear. It was definitely doable though, and we were certainly just happy for the experience.
We left Banff for Jasper after work and spent the night there. From there, it’s roughly a 1-1.5 hour drive to the trailhead, so we hit the road early the next morning to get there. Once you arrive, you have to check-in at the visitor centre where you watch a video, get your permit, and any other last-minute information. The trailhead is actually 2 km from the Visitor’s Centre and there’s a parking lot there with an outhouse.
After this, we were on the trail! There are so many amazing sights to see along the way. You pass Kinney Lake, Emperor Falls, and of course the views of Mount Robson. Eventually were walking along Berg Lake taking in all its beauty. After we passed the lake, we were heading for our campsite at Robson Pass. Our legs were tired after the long day, so we set up camp quickly and enjoyed a nice hot dinner and sleep.
Campsite: Robson Pass.
There are very few facilities along the trail.
All campgrounds on the Berg Lake Trail have bear-proof food storage lockers, pit toilets (but bring your own toilet paper), washbasins and grey-water pits. Camp stoves are mandatory for cooking.
Day 2: Rest Day at Snowbird Pass
Distance: ~20 km
We had a full day to spend in the area, as we had a second night booked at Robson Pass campground. We decided to do a day hike called Snowbird Pass. If you find yourself with a day to explore in this area, this hike is a must-do! Taking you up roughly 800m, this hike has stunning views of the glaciers and Mount Robson. We spent the entire day in awe on this trail, and thanks to the long day we had a great sleep back at the tent for our second night.
Campsite: Robson Pass
Day 3: Robson Pass to Mount Robson Visitor Centre
This was our last day on the trail and we had to hike all the way back to the car. Luckily, it’s mainly downhill as our legs were feeling tired at this time. Since it’s an out-and-back trail, you get to pass all the amazing sights again. In this magical place, you’ll want to see everything twice. The beauty on this trail is out of this world! Make sure you take the small trail out of the way to see Emperor Falls up close. It’s worth the extra few hundred metres, even if your legs are tired. The mist from the falls is also refreshing on a hot day. Once you’re back at the car, stock up on some snacks at the gas station for the drive back!
This trail is seriously an 11/10. It’s doable to do in two days if you’re a strong hiker (or in 1 day if you’re a strong runner), but it’s so beautiful you do not want to rush. I would definitely recommend 3-5 days for this trip as there are so many side trips to explore. There are several campgrounds along this route – Kinney Lake, Whitehorn, Emperor Falls, Robson Lake, Rearguard and finally Robson Pass – allowing you to spread the 23 km hike over more than one day.
In hindsight, if I were backpacking this trail again, I would spend an extra day in the area than we did. Covering nearly 75km in 3 days was amazing but a lot of work for the legs with your pack. Consider booking one of the earlier campsites ahead of time, and booking a night to spend at Berg Lake campground too.
Bre Mirynech is a passionate adventurer living in Banff National Park. She has called these mountains home for eight years and enjoys exploring them via every means possible. Trail running, rock climbing, hiking, ice climbing, splitboarding, camping, snowboarding, scrambling, you name it and she likes to do it. Bre makes sure to live life to the fullest and her passion is spending time outdoors and enabling others to do the same.
Website: Average Adventurer