Trip Reports: Mount Robson & Berg Lake, BC, Canada - September 2016

The trek to Berg Lake and Mount Robson is one of the most famous backpacking treks in the Canadian Rockies, and one that was high on our backpacking wish list. But when we drove through Jasper on our way north in July, we were disappointed to discover that the backcountry permits there were 100% reserved. Later in September after our trek in the Tombstone Range in the Yukon, we checked again online and were stoked to finally be able to reserve some available permits to backpack to Mount Robson. So after five days straight driving down from Dawson in the Yukon, we found ourselves back in the town of Jasper again, this time ready and able to go backpacking!

At 3954m / 12,972 ft., Mount Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The mountain is massive, rising abruptly over 10,000 vertical feet from the trailhead, and over 7,500 vertical feet directly above Berg Lake. Robson and some its neighboring peaks are so huge, rugged, and glaciated that they wouldn't be out of place in the Himalaya! We spent four nights out there below Robson -- the first night at Emperor Falls campsite, then three nights at the Berg Lake campsite. From our "basecamp" at Berg Lake we did some awesome day hikes to Hargreaves Lake, Robson Glacier, and Snowbird Pass.

British Columbia, Canada, Kinney Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park, photo

The trail to Berg Lake passes by the beautiful turquoise Kinney Lake before heading up into the Valley of a Thousand Falls. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, photo

Clouds streaming by the summit of Mount Robson. Rising over 10,000 vertical feet from the Robson River valley, this peak would fit right in the Himalayas! Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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British Columbia, Canada, Emperor Falls, Mount Robson Provincial Park, waterfall, BC, photo

Standing below the thundering cascade of Emperor Falls. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

British Columbia, Canada, Emperor Falls, Mount Robson Provincial Park, waterfall, BC, moonlight, photo

Moonlight shines through the veil of Emperor Falls. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, Mist Glacier, Robson River, hiking, photo

Hiking along the Robson River towards Mist Glacier. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park, cairn, BC, photo

A cairn along the trail to Hargreaves Glacier, with Mount Robson looming overhead. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, reflection, sunrise, photo

Mount Robson and the Berg Glacier reflect in the calm water of Berg Lake at sunrise. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, coffee, photo

A pleasant place for our morning coffee. Occasionally during the nights at Berg Lake we'd hear the loud rumbling of the Berg Glacier, and sometimes the crash of ice collapsing into the lake. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, photo

Mount Robson (3954 m / 12972 ft.) rises an astounding 7,500 vertical feet above Berg Lake! The sheer scale is difficult to comprehend. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, sunset, panorama, photo

Sunset view of Berg Lake, Mount Robson (right) and Rearguard Mountain (left). The Robson Glacier is visible in the left valley; from this perspective you can really see how much the glacier has deflated and receded, now thousands of feet lower than its recent moraines. The Robson Glacier is receding approximately 15m / 52ft. each year; 100 years ago it extended to about where the thicker forest is next to the stream directly below Rearguard Mountain. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, sunset, photo

The rugged north face of Mount Robson painted with sunset light. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Robson Glacier, BC, sunrise, waterfall, photo

Sunrise light on Mount Robson and the Robson Glacier. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Robson Glacier, BC, sunrise, photo

Morning light on Mount Robson (3954 m / 12972 ft.) above the Robson Glacier. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

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Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC, cabin, panorama, photo

At the Berg Lake campsite there's a log cabin where everybody gets together and cooks meals. It's another nice place to enjoy a morning coffee! Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

British Columbia, Canada, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Valley of a Thousand Falls, BC, photo

Hiking down towards the Valley of a Thousand Falls. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

One our last day we walked the entire 21km (13 miles) back to the trailhead, but had a little surprise when we got back to our truck. When I opened the back window the first thing I saw was a nest on our mattress! The second thing I saw was mouse poops all over the place. While we were out in the mountains for five days, a mouse was living large in the back of our truck, helping itself to our food and shredding paper towels to make a fluffy nest! Of course the clever little mouse was still in there, until I kicked him out. So at sunset, hungry and tired after a full day of hiking we had to empty out the whole back of the truck, clean everything off, toss out a bunch of food, and vacuum the truck. I bet that mouse had the time of its life! 

But we did too. After spending five days around Mount Robson, it's obvious why this trek is such a classic.