Explore Mount Robson — the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies where waterfalls, glacial lakes, wildflowers and wildlife draw you in to experience their wonders.
A Giant among Giants
Old growth forests, deafening waterfalls and wildflower meadows mingle with steep climbs and dramatic descents — Mount Robson Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,is renowned for its hiking and camping opportunities. Elevation changes mean you’ll be treated to each of the four seasons, sometimes in a single day. Catch sight of mule and whitetail deer as they roam unhindered through the forest, which is also home to caribou, mountain goat and even grizzly bears. Spend a week here, camp under the stars in protection of the range’s highest peak, and pick up some friends along the way, as people come from across the globe to experience the epic hike to Berg Lake.
An Impressive History
The first inhabitants of the Robson Valley called it “Yuh-hai-has-kun,” or “The Mountain of the Spiral Road,” for its layered appearance. Early explorers — prospectors, fur traders and railroaders — were also awed by the sight of Mount Robson’s colossal, snow-capped peak. As it comes to rest at 3,954 m (12,972 ft) — sometimes in the clear blue sky, and sometimes in the clouds — there is not a soul who passes through this valley without giving reverence to this pinnacle. But what is more impressive than one mountain in this vast range is the parkland that it shelters and the environmental significance it plays in the history of British Columbia and Canada. Mount Robson Provincial Park is the second oldest park in the province and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. At the heart of this protected area are the headwaters and the first 100 km (60 mi) the largest salmon producing river in the world. The Fraser River begins as an icy trickle here in the park before flowing 1,378 km (856 mi) to the Pacific Ocean.
Arrive at the top in style by booking a heli-hiking tour of Berg Lake. Drink in the sights of the Valley of a Thousand Falls, Emperor Falls and Berg and Kinney lakes. Watch in awe as the glaciers calf into the turquoise waters of the lake and, when the sun begins its descent, climb aboard and soar back down the mountain to relive this experience again and again with your family and friends. The ride up makes it easy for hikers of all ages and fitness levels to explore the alpine and appreciate views usually reserved for the most athletic.
See nature up close
Where else can you travel between four different vegetation zones in a single day? Forget about looking at nature shows on television, just grab some binoculars and wait — you won’t wait long — and watch as the world and its creatures appear before you. More than 182 species of birds have been discovered in the park, from majestic golden eagles, to American Pipits, Hammond Flycatchers, Rufous Hummingbirds and grey Owls. To date, there have been 42 species of mammals found in the park, from the valley and wetland-loving moose, to the mountain goats in the alpine tundra. Both black and grizzly bear make a home in the park, as do elk, deer, wolf, coyote and caribou.
Stay the night
With a park this large it’s a given that you’ll find spectacular spaces to spend the night. If you’re a planner, reserve a campsite at Robson Meadows, the largest of the campgrounds, or try your luck at Robson Rivers Campground, which is also within easy walking distance of the Mount Robson Visitor Centre. If you’d like to get away from the crowds, head to the Lucerne Campground, which is the most remote and the most rustic and features two walk or cycle-in sites.
Hike and Camp to Berg Lake
Awaken your inner adventurer with a hiking and camping excursion to Berg Lake — a backcountry trail that gains 800 m (2,624 ft) in 23 km (14 mi). The trail crosses three biogeoclimatic zones and offers spectacular views along the way. Beyond Kinney Lake, make your way into the Valley of a Thousands Falls where you’ll watch the Mist, Berg and Robson glaciers as they break off into the turquoise waters of Berg Lake. Be warned, however, that this is a popular hiking and camping destination through the summer, and you need to make reservations in advance. There are seven campgrounds along the trail: Kinney Lake, Whitehorn, Emperor Falls, Marmot, Berg Lake, Rearguard and Robson Pass. The Berg Lake site is 21 km (13 mi) from the trailhead parking lot, so use one of the nearer sites as a base and continue your sojourn from there, or head past Robson Pass for an even bigger challenge. You’ll find spectacular scenery along the trail, but few amenities.
Mt Robson in Winter
What does an adventure-seeking hiker do when the snow is falling and the trails are shrouded in champagne powder? They put on snowshoes of course. Mount Robson Provincial Park is known to harbour some of the country’s most spectacular hiking trails. In winter, those trails become works of art as the snow falls, covering the lushness in a soundproof cocoon. Explore how seasons change the shape of the landscape as you snowshoe along Kinney Lake Trail. Work your way through the old-growth cedar and hemlock forest that follow Robson River to the lake, and when you get to the trail’s peak, stop and listen. Close your eyes and feel your heart rate slow; give thanks that you could be here in this shining example of Canada’s wilderness, when so many others chose to stay home.