It was late June. I was at work sitting in the local campground office located in Hay River, NT. A few friends came to visit me and soon started talking about going somewhere for the upcoming long weekend. After much discussion, we decided to go to Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies as suggested by my future roommate William. Three hours later, we started our week long 1168km journey to Mount Robson. In this post, I’m going to show you the complete Mount Robson hiking guide and how you can conquer the awesome Berg Lake trail.
Where is Mount Robson?
Mount Robson Provincial Park is a vast provincial park in the Canadian Rockies with an area of 2,249 km². In 1990 Mount Robson Park was included within the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was recognized for its natural beauty and the geological and ecological significance of its mountain landscapes containing the habitats of rare and endangered species, mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons, limestone caves and fossils.
Where to hike Mount Robson?
The Berg Lake Trail is a world-renowned backcountry hiking trail. Gaining just under 800 meters in 23 kilometers, the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones. This trail takes you to some of the best scenery in the province, where you often see huge sections of ice break off or “calve” into the blue/green, silt-laden waters of Berg Lake.
Our driving route guided by google maps took us on a little adventure on our way to the mountain. It led us to a dirt road that seemed to go on for miles and miles. The road in fact lasted nearly 100km! At times, the turn we would have to make on maps was not there in reality, and we needed to trust our gut feeling and take another random road down. All these detours weren’t all bad for us. Because of this sketchy back road in the middle of nowhere, we got to see some of the oddest and interesting things that we never would have seen taking the normal route.
My little car, on the other hand, with its almost bald summer tires was struggling with the dirt, rocks and gravel. When we finally arrived at the campground in Mount Robson, it was already 5pm, so we quickly set up the tent and started cooking.
Night comes early in this part of Canada. While we were sitting around the campfire after dinner, it was nearly pitch black. As I looked up, I was completely blown away by the countless number of stars in the sky! In the next half an hour, I just sat there admiring the sky. I’ve never seen that many before in my life.
The next morning, I was woken up by the calls of a wonderful raven. Being the first one up, I quietly left the tent to go take a shower, which was only about a 2-minute walk from our campsite. On my way there, I suddenly crossed paths with a small black bear. I ran back to our campsite and alerted my two about the bear. What an interesting encounter! Apart from bears, we also saw some other amazing animals. Biodiversity is huge in Mount Robson.
The beauty of small trails
Before tackling the Berg Lake Trail, we decided to do a series of smaller trails throughout the next few days. As we were hiking, we saw many beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous glaciers and that amazing BC scenery that is hard to find anywhere else.
Days later, we were on the hike to the Kinney Lake camp. If you embark the same journey like ours, you’ll bound to encounter raging emerald rivers, breathtaking views and the friendliest people on earth. These are memories that are hard to be forgotten.
My journey didn’t just stop there. The next day when I woke up back, I had a sudden urge to go even farther. So I told my friends about the plan to hike higher, but they all thought I was crazy. They were too exhausted from the hike yesterday but were worried that it may be dangerous for me to go alone. So I told my friends that if I wasn’t back by 9pm, I might be in trouble. Without second thoughts, I set off at 9am with my Canon T5 in hand and a backpack full of food and water. I didn’t know how far I was going; I just keep climbing as far as I could. It was at this moment that I discovered my love for exploration and hiking.
My effort was worth it. The view up there was just amazing. My favorite view was being able to see the top of Mount Robson so close up. There was something powerful about being this high up. I unlocked something in me that day. If you were here, you’ll probably have the same realization and sense of achievement.
On the solo trip, I managed to reach Emperor Falls before deciding to turn back. I managed to cover an impressive 32km return-trip on that day, with 762m of elevation gain.
What to take note
Of course, the hike didn’t go all smoothly. A serious of unfortunate events occurred including my phone dying. I was not able to tell what time it was. And when I asked fellow hikers for the time, I got so many different answers. I guess we all faced the same problem. 😛 I also had a washroom issue since I had forgotten to bring toilet paper. But I dealt with that. So do remember to pack tissue papers before embarking on the journey!
I will come back
It was a sad day leaving BC to head back home, but at the same time I was happy. I finally found something that I truly love to do – exploring and hiking. So I set myself a goal – to learn how to climb and in the next few years, I want to reach the peak of the mountain. I will go back to the Berg Lake Trail again and go all the way to Robson Pass. I want to complete the trail.
This spontaneous trip has given me a lot of memories. I’d like to thank my friend Nick and Tristan for accompanying me to finish the journey. I would also like to thank my roommate William for showing me this wonderful place. I hope those of you reading this article will take a trip down to Mount Robson sometime. And I know I will again.
Final thoughts from Chloe
I really enjoy reading Don Wilson’s journey to the beautiful Mount Robson. It’s a trip full of laughter, discovery and realizations. And the scenery is just breath-taking. I wish I can see those emerald waters with my own eyes soon. If you like Don’s work and would like to find out more about him, check out his biography. Have you been to Mount Robson before? Share with us your journey by commenting below and keep the inspirations going!