Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Backpacking Canada: Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mt Robson, Berg Glacier, and Berg Lake

I hadn't even heard of Berg Lake Trail until Kaelee told me about it. She mentioned it a few times in passing, but I didn't pay much attention to it until a couple days before the permits opened up to purchase online. Kaelee told me to mark my calendar for October 1st, so I put it in my iCalendar and didn't think much of it. Then Kaelee happened to be on an airplane the day the permits opened up, and she had me purchase 4 of them. I also had no idea what I was doing, so I picked random campgrounds along the trail. I also wouldn't commit to going on this trip, even though I knew I was roped in already lol. I mean we bought these permits on October 1st, 2018 and our permit dates were for August 2019.... but I am so glad Kaelee pushed for this trip because it was so worth it!

So first things first...

Step 1: go online on October 1st to buy  permits (link to permits) I personally didn't think buying the permits were as cutthroat as how permits go in America for, say National Park campsites, but the earlier you buy them, the better chance you have in getting the dates you want

Step 2: decide whether to fly or drive. If you followed along on my Instagram, you'd know we opted to drive to Mt Robson Provincial Park from Seattle, which was roughly 500 miles one way, 8.5 hr drive without stopping. We didn't dive too deep into flying, but from what we saw, the closest airports were still a 4+ hr drive to the park. Looks like Kamloops (airport code:YKA) and Edmonton (airport code: YEG), Canada both have airports if you are interested in flying.

Then you start planning!

View of Berg Lake from Toboggan Falls

Our Itinerary

Thursday Aug 1: leave Seattle at the butt crack of dawn and drive to park
Friday Aug 2: Trailhead to Emperor Falls Campground
Saturday Aug 3: Emperor Falls to Berg Lake Campground
Sunday Aug 4: Berg Lake to Whitehorn Campground
Monday Aug 5: Whitehorn back to trailhead, drive 4 hours to Kamloops Canada and stay at hotel
Tuesday Aug 6: drive 5 hrs from Kamloops back to Seattle

Berg Lake Trail Stats

Berg Lake Trail: 26 miles R/T
Elevation Gain: 2600 ft
Permits Needed
Dogs allowed: Yes but not overnight

Now for the more detailed write up....

Thursday August 1, 2019

Seattle, WA to Mt Robson Provincial Park: 500 miles driven

We left the Seattle area bright and early, I think we hit the road around 6:45 AM, crossed the Canadian border in Sumas, WA, took a lunch break in Kamloops, and made it into the park around 5:00 PM. We booked a campsite at Robson Meadows Campground that night ($28/night). In hindsight, we could've totally hiked in that first day and made it to the 1st campground before dark.

The plans were to grab our permits Friday morning, but since we made it to the park before the visitor center closed (they close at 7 PM btw), we ended up grabbing our permits Thursday night, saving us some time Friday morning. The visitor center was informative, had a small shop, nice restrooms, and also had wifi. In order for you to obtain the permits, the rangers have you watch a short video about the trail before they give you your permits.

After setting up camp and grabbing permits, we opted not to cook dinner at camp that night and to grab dinner out. The locals recommended Tete Jaune Lodge and that's where we ended up. Surprisingly they had a buffet and it was decent! Cody and I opted for the buffet while Kaelee and Rachel went with the fish and chips.

Friday August 2, 2019

Trailhead to Emperor Falls Campground: 9.9 miles hiked, 2634 ft gained

We hit the trail around 9 AM, this was going to be our longest and toughest day, mileage wise. The parking lot wasn't overly full and we snagged a parking spot and didn't have to park on the road! The weather called for gloomy skies and rain that day, and I thought I was prepared for it, but my rain gear was no match for the rain that came down that day. Cody and I took breaks at the shelters at Kinney Lake and Whitehorn on our hike up, and the sun even came out while we were at Whitehorn! But as we hiked the last 3 miles from there to Emperor Falls, a thunderstorm rolled through, which dumped buckets on us. We opted to skip the side trip to the actual falls at Emperor Falls (it's slightly off the trail but totally worth it to see!), and opted to catch it on the hike back, and try to get to our camp spot as quickly as possible to set up our tent and hide from the rain. It took Cody and I roughly 6 hours to go from trailhead to Emperor.

Kaelee and Rachel got to Emperor Falls Campground first, we followed an hour later, and we ended up setting up our tents in a puddle of mud, but we had no other options. We hid in our tents for a lil bit until the weather let up. Once it let up, we quickly made dinner before the next storm rolled through. We ended up bunkering down in our tents for 12 hours that first night. But better weather was in the forecast for the following days so we didn't feel too defeated from being wet and soggy that day.
 Twinning at Emperor Falls Campground
The views at Emperor Falls Campground were amazing

Saturday August 3, 2019

Emperor Falls Campground to Berg Lake Campground: 3.1 miles hiked, 100 ft gain
+ the extra side hikes we did once we got to Berg Lake

We woke up to rain and took our time to leave camp. We also knew the next camp wasn't that far away, so we were in no rush. Kaelee and Rachel hiked out first and found us the sweetest spot at Berg Lake! When Cody and I caught up to them, we were stoked on the giant tent pad they snagged at the lake! Plus the weather had gotten better and we were able to dry out all of our wet belongings.

We lounged around, set up camp, ate lunch, and opted to check out the lake and surrounding areas later in the afternoon. First we hiked up Toboggan Falls, which is a short side trail from the Berg Lake campground, then Cody and I wandered off to see the toe of Robson Glacier. Kaelee and Rachel wandered further up Toboggan, and then hiked to Robson Pass Campground and the ranger station that is out that way. We regrouped for dinner that night and all wished we had more time to explore the area.
View in between Robson Pass Campground and Berg Lake Campground
Robson Glacier

Sunday August 4, 2019

Berg Lake to Whitehorn Campground: 6.2 miles hiked

We left Berg Lake close to 11:00 AM that morning (which is "check out" time according to the rangers), and headed back down the trail. Weather was even better this day compared to the 1st 2 days. On our way down, Cody and I finally got a chance to stop at Emperor Falls and it was amazing to see! The fall is huge and powerful! Besides that, the hike to Whitehorn was uneventful, we got to camp, setup our tents, and had a lot of down time. This was our last night on trail so we tried to finish as much of the food we brought with us as possible, but Rachel was still left with a pound of trail mix lol.

Monday August 5, 2019

Whitehorn Campground to Trailhead: 6.8 miles hiked
Berg Lake Trail to Kamloops, BC: 225 miles driven

Monday was the best weather out of all the days we were out on trail, blue sunny skies! The hike out was pretty easy, and the faster we hiked out, the closer we were to eating real food at the cafe next to the visitor center.

That day we opted to hike out, drive 4 hours to Kamloops, Canada and stay the night at a Hampton Inn. Which, it was nice to finally take a shower after camping for 4 nights! After our much needed showers, we went to Costco, then we grabbed dinner at a pub nearby, and stuffed our faces with more poutine. Once we got back to the hotel, Cody and I went to check out the indoor pool and water slide (Cody even went down the slide, didn't turn the water on though, and got stuck in the slide lolol).

Side note: the Costco's in Canada have poutine as an option in their food court! Mind blown!

Tuesday August 6, 2019

Kamloops, Canada to Home:271 miles driven

We had another 5 hours to drive this day. The drive back always seems like it takes forever, especially when the Canadian border crossing was backed up! But we all made it home safely.

What a trip! And to think I almost didn't go. Even with the rain and thunderstorm, this hike was amazing and I would do it all over again.

We definitely want to go back next summer. We would do a couple of things differently though. We would want to leave home early and actually hike into the 1st campground that day (Kinney Lake Campground, which you can also bike to), then spend 2-3 nights at Berg Lake, and the last day, hike Berg Lake back to trailhead. This trail was fairly easy, most of the elevation gain was between Whitehorn and Emperor Falls, besides that the trail is pretty flat.

Until next time, Mt Robson Provincial Park!

Also, here's a link to the girl's blog we used, it is full of info, I can't even top how good this blog post is: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/hiking-the-berg-lake-trail/

Emperor Falls Campground
 Cody made me put my feet in! Brrr
 Take me back here please!
Cody scared me!
Mt Robson, Berg Glacier, and Berg Lake
The lil lake at the toe of Robson Glacier
Rachel and Kaelee taking photos at Berg Lake
Berg Glacier
 The most amazing backcountry toilet I have ever used!
 Berg Hut, as you can see everyone got soaked from the rain 
Kaelee, me, and Rachel!
The most picturesque trail I have ever been on
Emperor Falls
So magnificent!
On my way to Whitehorn
The optional flatter trail you can take!
Whitehorn Campground


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