The Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park is a must-do hike that should be on your bucketlist if it isn’t already. Located near Jasper in the Canadian Rockies, the Berg Lake Trail is absolutely spectacular, with stunning views of mountains, glaciers, glacial lakes, biodiverse river valleys, and more.
Read on below for a detailed guide to hiking the Berg Lake Trail including trail length, elevation gain, the best campsites, lessons learned, how to snag a spot and more.
Berg Lake Trail Stats
From Vancouver to the trail is about an 8 hour drive.
From the visitor centre/trailhead to Berg Lake is a 42 km round trip hike (21 km each way), with a cumulative elevation gain of just under 800 metres. To reach the farthest campsite, Robson Pass, is an addition 2km.
Great for Experienced & Beginner Backpackers Alike
It is short and easy enough for an experienced, fit hiker to complete in a single day or backpack in a single night, but if you have the time, I’d highly recommend not rushing as there is so much to see and enjoy. It makes for a great beginner backpacking trail for 4-5+ nights as the trail is very well-marked, easy to follow, has an overall pretty mellow grade with the exception of one big climb (see the campsite elevation profile diagram above), and there are seven campsites located throughout the trail to make days as long or short as you like.
When to Go
With a high point of 1,649 metres, the trail is quite high elevation and thus only snow-free for a few months out of the year. As anyone familiar with mountain exploration will know, however, places like the Rockies especially, tend to have a mind of their own when it comes to weather. While the Berg Lake Trail is typically snow-free from July through September, you could find yourself in the midst of a snowstorm mid-August, or sweating from the hot, sunny day mid-October. I find that end of July is the sweet spot as usually the Spring snow has melted and wildfires haven’t yet smoked it out, nor is it likely a freak snowstorm will appear.
This is the kicker. While anyone can go and dayhike the Berg Lake Trail for free without needing a reservation, you are required to get a reservation, permit and pass to camp overnight. Like all beautiful reservable hiking trails/campgrounds, it is TOUGH to snag a spot as space is limited and demand is high. Click the link below to see if space is available and pay your fees.
Everyone hiking the trail (dayhikers and overnighters alike) must first register at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre during their business hours before beginning the trail. You will be required to sign off on the Hiker Sign-Off Sheet to receive your trail pass.
Can’t Get a Spot?
Helpful Tip: Make a killer Plan B for the area and try to snag a spot to overnight on the Berg Lake Trail last minute. When I hiked it, all the reservations were taken but the trail was almost empty! BC Parks has an awful cancellation policy which means many reservations are not used and not made available so many spots sits empty! If any nights are cancelled, camping fees are forfeited, and there is a $6.00 change fee (plus tax) per campsite/tent pad so very few people bother cancelling. And changes/cancellations cannot be accepted online within 2 days of the scheduled arrival date (people have to call in) and pay and additional $5.00 call centre surcharge (plus tax), per campsite/tent pad. It’s kind of ridiculous.
There are 7 sites with varying number of spaces along the trail (see map above). All campgrounds have bear proof food storage lockers, pit toilets, washbasins and grey-water pits. There are no showers, no flush toilets and no fires allowed. Camp stoves are mandatory for cooking.
While dogs are permitted on the trail for day hikes as long as they remain on a leash, dogs are not permitted to camp with you overnight.
My favourite campsites were Kinney Lake and Robson Pass. I found that Whitehorn was meh, just a forest site riverside, Emperor Falls didn’t have any structure for protection against the elements like some of the others did, and Berg Lake was way too busy.
Many people pass right by Kinney Lake, wanting to make headway into the trail but this site is gorgeous!
Robson Pass was only 2 km past Berg Lake and had way better mountain views. It’s also the best spot if you’re planning on hiking the Mumm Basin Trail or Snowbird Pass as this is the closest site.
Views Along the Berg Lake Trail
When the view from the trailhead is this incredible, you know it’s going to be a beautiful journey.
The Berg Lake Trail is gorgeous, but it actually pales in comparison to the views seen from the Mumm Basin and Snowbird Pass trails. Don’t miss out on these!
The short but steep Mumm Basin Trail travels above parallel to the Berg Lake Trail between Berg lake and Robson Pass. I hiked it on the way out instead of taking the Berg Lake Trail so it only added a couple extra hours. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND not missing out on this. Only from here can you see the beautiful blue of Berg Lake, as well as the Hargreaves Glacier.
I unforunately did not plan enough time to hike Snowbird Pass myself. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Check out the report from my friend Steph aka Lower Mainland Hikers and photos of this spectacular place here.
Emperor Falls is a well-known site when thinking of the Berg Lake Trail, but note that it is not seen from the main trail. You need to take a short, but oh-so-worth-it detour to see this wonder. It’s a really quick out-and-back trail off the main trail so keep your eyes peeled for the turnoff.
Bicycles are allowed on the trail but only as far as the Kinney Lake campground (7 km in).
You can helicopter in if you can’t or don’t want to hike in.
There is water along most of the trail via waterfalls and lakes. Look at various maps so you can plan. To filter my water, I use a Katadyn BeFree Microfilter with attached hydrobag. Got it from MEC. It’s the best. It’s a lightweight, compactable water bottle with built-in filter that’s super easy to access and use quickly while on the go hiking. I also bring my Platypus GravityWorks filter system to hold and a larger amount of water.
Food: check out my post about the best backpacking meals.
Always leave a trip plan, thoroughly research and train, and bring all the essentials. Learn more here.
Leave No Trace
Lastly, make sure that for this and every trail you hike that you always practice Leave No Trace Principles to ensure you are respectful to others, nature and wildlife. Learn more at leavenotrace.ca
Interested in other multi-day backpacking trips? Check out my Guide to Thru-Hiking Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, or a more local trail – Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail The Sunshine Coast Trail!
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