When Janu and I were invited by some friends to hike the Berg Lake Trail, back in 2012, I declined to go. At the time, I couldn’t think of a reason that would make me spend the night in the woods, and most of all carry my gear many kilometers to the campsite, instead of driving right up to it, as one does. Well, they went without me anyways.
Despite the long hikes, Janu returned determined to get me on that trail one day. She wouldn’t miss a chance to tell me how beautiful it was and that yes, steep inclines made for some hard sections. “But it was totally worth it”, she said many times. Every spring I’d promise her we’d do it together, but I never tried hard enough and this being such a busy trail, we never got spots.
Well, four years have passed and with our increased experience in camping, I wanted to witness with my own eyes why the Berg Lake Trail is one of the most sought-after backcountry trails in this region. We decided to go there this year and we both took a couple of days off work to make it happen, just before the trail closed for the season, mid-September.
We managed to get a last-minute room in a hotel in Hinton to allow for a shorter drive before heading out to the trail. As we left in the morning we were greeted with this beautiful scene to start our day on the right note.
After seeing a double rainbow (!), we were happy to get to the trailhead and start our hike. A bit of a surprise, however, was the Mount Robson Marathon happening that same day. It had rained heavily on the two days prior and the path was quite muddy. The 500 runners scheduled to run by us over the course of the day weren’t going to make it any better. Nonetheless, the trail was full of interesting views on the 11 Km between the parking lot and the Whitehorn campground, where we were to spend the first night of our trip. Whitehorn is on the Valley of a Thousand Falls, one of those places whose name describes it perfectly.
The next day we woke up early and resumed our hike to Marmot campground, which is just on the southwest corner of Berg Lake. The actual distance to be covered on the second day was only 7.2 Km but the toughest section had a 420 m ascent in just over 3 Km, which represents almost 15% incline. As hard as it was, the views were amazing.
Just past mid-day we finally arrived at one of the major attractions of the trek. Emperor Falls is surely one of the biggest falls I’ve seen, specially that close. The amount of water coming down and the height of the waterfall is impressive, indeed justifying such majestic name.
A little past Emperor Falls, we reached Marmot, our campground for the next two nights. From there, we could see Mist and Berg Glaciers, as well as the famous lake that lends its name to the trail.
The next day we went on a walk to see the Hargreaves Glacier and the Toboggan Falls. There were some great vantage points to photograph the Berg Glacier and we even saw what look like a fresh black bear print.
After this first hike, we went on to see the end of the Berg Lake Trail. That path took us past Rearguard Mountain and the BC / Alberta border.
On the last day, we hiked back the 17 Km from Marmot to the trailhead. As we were going down and had already eaten almost all the food, the packs were lighter and the return was a breeze, as it is usually the case on backpacking trips. We met up with another hiker, coincidentally from Brazil, and exchanged tips and stories about other hikes and the Rockies. She had taken a helicopter up to the top of the trail and after spending the night at Robson Pass was walking down the trail to continue her travels in Canada.
This one last picture shows two exhausted but happy campers.
See you on the next adventure! :D