Hiking Mount Robson's Berg Lake Trail

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 6-12, 1997
Camping on the cheap on Kauai
Running the grueling Badwater 146
Hiking Mount Robson's Berg Lake Trail
Helping students plan their adventure
Easy-access diving off Belize beaches

Hiking Mount Robson's Berg Lake Trail
Question: We are going to be in B.C. this summer and would like to backpack the Berg Lake trail at Mount Robson Park. We are wondering about maps, temperatures in July for day and night, and the number of hikers on average during weekdays and weekends. We are trying to decide how long to allow for both the hike and sightseeing when we arrive at Berg Lake. We are hiking with our family, whose members range in age from 13 to 49. We started backpacking two years ago and have done several trips of 10-plus miles one way, but it was always in the summer. Could you advise us on the campfire rules and regulations? Your input would be a great help.

Diann Ross
Richfield, UT
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Here's the lowdown: The main route into Lake Berg from the park visitor center, on Highway 16, is a moderately strenuous, 12-mile trek through the Valley of a Thousand Falls--with great views of 12,970-foot Mount Robson along the way. From the lake, it's another 1.8 miles or so to Robson Pass, the Continental Divide between Jasper National Park and the Robson drainage, as well as the Alberta/B.C. border. Expect to share the wilderness with heaps of other hikers in July, regardless of whether you go mid-week or weekends. This is by far the most popular trail in the park and it sees heavy use from backpacking families, school groups, and solo trekkers. In fact, hiker numbers have skyrocketed so dramatically over the past few years that park officials are currently working to implement a quota system on the Berg Lake Trail.

The upshot for this summer is that you'd be wise to call ahead and reserve a site at one of the seven backcountry campgrounds along the trail; most have in the neighborhood of seven tent sites, with the Berg Lake Campground sporting a generous 20. Because this is still a work in progress, fees have not yet been set. The reservation number is 800-689-9025.

As for temperatures, you'll probably see daytime highs in the mid-60s or low-70s, but bring plenty of warm clothes, as temps can drop to the 30s at night. Bring a camp stove or two, as campfires are not allowed anywhere along the Berg Lake Trail. If you've got extra time on your hands afterwards, consider ditching the crowds on a more low-key overnight hike to Mount Fitzwilliams, in the east corner of the park. You don't need a backcountry permit--just self-register at the trailhead--and keep your eyes peeled for caribou, goat, wolverine, and, yes, grizzlies. For maps and route suggestions throughout the park, call the visitor center at 250-566-4325.

Search the archives | Ask the Adventure Adviser

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web