Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-5 days
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
56.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
910 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of Berg Lake backpacking trail in Jasper National Park

Yes, Berg Lake isn't in Jasper, or Alberta, but it's often associated with trips to Jasper, so we included it. The Berg Lake Trail is renowned as one of Canada's best, and it would be hard to find someone who disagrees. You'll pass through lush valleys, impressive waterfalls, and rocky slopes to reach the aptly-named Berg Lake, below the towering Mount Robson. The views of the Berg Glacier toeing off into the lake are unforgettable, and the day hikes from here will take you to icefields, caves, and stunning viewpoints.

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Route Description for Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

The Berg Lake Trail technically isn’t in Alberta or Jasper, but it’s just down the highway from the edge of Jasper National Park, and it would be a shame to miss this incredible trail. The Berg Lake trail is very popular and requires early booking to get the dates you want. Reservations open on October 1, the year before you will be hiking it. It is recommended to book in advance as cancellations in prime season are rare. Before starting your hike, you are required to check-in with the Visitor Centre, complete an orientation, and acquire your permit.

Day 1: Berg Lake Trailhead to Whitehorn Campground

The first day of the Berg Lake trail is often an easy one, as guests arrive from Edmonton, Calgary or Banff after long drives. As such, the first day is usually a shorter day, hiking to either Kinney Lake (4.3 mi, 591 ft elevation, 2-3 hours) or Whitehorn (6.8 mi, 919 ft, 3-4 hrs) campgrounds.

You’ll need to start off by going to the Mount Robson visitor centre, where you’ll sign-in and get an orientation. You’ll also need to show a confirmation of your reservation to recieve your permit tags (one for each tent).Keep these handy in case rangers ask for them while you’re on the trail. Once you’ve done all this, drive the 1.2 mi to the trailhead, and park your car and set off on the backpack to Berg Lake.

The first section of the Berg Lake Trail is quite easy on an old gravel road. In fact, bikes are allowed on the first 4.3mi, though it can be a tricky ride for inexperienced riders with a big backpack. We find that biking this section really pays off on the exit for the final day.

The trail travels through old-growth forest, and comes in close contact to the Robson River. Along the way, the trail has a mild elevation gain. After 2.8 mi you cross a bridge over Robson River, and soon come to Kinney Lake. Follow the east side of the lake and you will come to Kinney Lake Campground (4.3 mi from starting). Kinney Lake Campground is a pleasant campground with a shelter and 14 tentpads. This is a good option if you are starting very late in the day.

If you are riding your bike, continue along the Lakeshore trail until reaching some bike racks, where you can lock your bike until you return. You can’t take bikes past this point.

For the first day we prefer to continue past Kinney Lake Campground to Whitehorn or Emperor Falls Campgrounds. Continue on the trail as it eventually splits – both trails end up converging in about 0.6 mi, though we prefer the higher route which is on the right. You’ll gain some elevation through the forest, as well as when youcross and recross the Robson River. Soon you’ll traversea bridge and arrive at Whitehorn Campground (6.8 mi from start).

You are now in the other-worldly Valley of a Thousand Falls. This wide, lush valley is a great place to spend the night, as the Whitehorn campground has 22 tent pads and is equipped with a covered cook shelter.

Whitehorn Campground

This backcountry campground is a great place to rest for your first night on the trail. The site sits next to a picturesque river, with a fun suspension bridge and basic amenities. Here, you’ll find a cook shelter, bear lockers, tent sites, fancy outhouses, and a cooking area/dish drainage spot. Note that all campgrounds along the Berg Lake Trail must be booked well in advance.

Campground Details

  • Tent pads: 22 tent pads available. It costs $6 to reserve in advance.
  • Site Fee: $10 per person/night
  • Fire pit: No
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Campfire allowed: No
  • Maximum stay: 3 nights
  • Maximum group size: 12
  • Allowed per tent pad: 6 people

Day 2: Whitehorn Campground to Berg Lake Campground

Enjoy a hearty breakfast and stretch your legs, because your second day will take you 6.2 mi to Berg Lake Campground. Along the 4-hour backpack, you’ll gain 1,804 ft, almost all of it during a 3.1 mi slog at the start where you gain 1,640 ft of elevation between Whitehorn and Emperor Falls campgrounds. You’ll arrive at Berg Lake in plenty of time to set up your tent and take an afternoon stroll.

Despite being the most difficult portion of the trail, the views here are incredible. Begin with up-close views of White Falls and enjoy changing scenery as you climb towards the famed Emperor Falls.

You’ll reach a junction for Emperor Falls, and this is a must-do detour. The views of Emperor Falls are spectacular, and an easy and worthwhile diversion.

Once back on the trail, another 1,640 ft and you reach the Emperor Falls campground. This is a nice campground, and fit backpackers usually make it to Emperor Falls campground on day 1, but no pressure.

The trail flattens out after Emperor Falls, where you will start to see your first glimpses of the incredible Mount Robson. Follow the trail and you’ll soon round a corner that will open up with views of Berg Lake. Enjoy the stunning Mist Glacier as you pass by Marmot Campground (4.8 mi from Whitehorn campground), and continue hiking along the lakeshore watching the namesake Berg Glacier cap off into the lake, leaving icebergs floating in the icy blue waters.

The heavily populated Berg Lake Campground is near the NW end of Berg Lake, and has 26 tent pads and a cooking shelter. Once your tent is set up, we recommend a quick side trip, maybe the 2.5-hour trip over to Toboggan Falls and Hargreaves Lake for some great views. This route is 3.7 mi and gains 984 ft along the way.

Note that if you can’t get the Berg Lake campsite, consider nearby Rearguard and Robson Pass campgrounds. They don’t offer a cooking shelter, but are nearby. Rearguard is preferable, as it is a very small campground with 5 sites and in a very nice location. The Robson Pass campground is about 1.2 mi from Berg Lake and has 15 sites, and is often used for commercial groups.

Berg Lake Campground

The Berg Lake campground is easily the most popular campsite on the trail. Those lucky enough to score a spot will find an old heritage building, called Hargreaves Shelter, to explore. This historic log chalet is a great spot to connect with fellow hikers and relax. Here, you’ll find unparalleled views of the icebergs that can be spotted floating by during the summer season.

Campground Details

  • Tent pads: 26 tent pads available. It costs $6 to reserve in advance.
  • Site Fee: $10 per person/night.
  • Fire pit: No.
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Campfire allowed: No
  • Maximum stay: 3 nights
  • Maximum group size: 12
  • Allowed per tent pad: 6 people

Day 3: Berg Lake Campground to Snowbird Pass and Back to Berg Lake Campground

Leave your tent setup and head out for a long day of hiking to the spectacular Snowbird Pass. This 13.7 mi hike gains 2,575 ft and will take 6-8 hours, depending on your fitness.

If the weather is clear, make sure to set your alarm early and wake up to enjoy the magical sunrise on the Berg Lake shore. If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to fiery colours hitting the peak of Mount Robson, making for quite a show.

The trail for Snowbird Pass is a 13.7 mi round-trip that gains roughly 2,625 ft and can be strenuous if you are tired from your previous approach to the Berg Lake area. This hike traverses the lateral moraine of the incredible Robson Glacier, before gaining steadily towards the pass. From the pass, you will be graced with captivating views of the Reef and Coleman Glaciers.

Return the way you came for some much-needed rest.

If you are looking for something shorter to fulfil your day, consider the 3.7 mi trip to the Toe of the Robson Glacier (which is part way on the Snowbird Loop). You could also do the 6.2 mi out and back loop to Mumm Basin, which gains 1476ft.

Get a good night’s rest to prepare for the final day.

Berg Lake Campground

The Berg Lake campground is easily the most popular campsite on the trail. Those lucky enough to score a spot will find an old heritage building, called Hargreaves Shelter, to explore. This historic log chalet is a great spot to connect with fellow hikers and relax. Here, you’ll find unparalleled views of the icebergs that can be spotted floating by during the summer season.

Campground Details

  • Tent pads: 26 tent pads available. It costs $6 to reserve in advance.
  • Site Fee: $10 per person/night.
  • Fire pit: No.
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Campfire allowed: No
  • Maximum stay: 3 nights
  • Maximum group size: 12
  • Allowed per tent pad: 6 people

Day 4: Berg Lake Campground to the Trailhead

Today is the final day and it’s time to prepare tohike out. If you’ve eaten all your food and drank all the wine you carried in, then your pack should be light, and you can do the whole distance in one day. Point yourself downhill and follow the Berg Lake trail all the way out for 13.0 mi, back to the Berg Lake Trailhead.

Sample Itinerary:

Note: Total GPS distance varies from each day's distance due to side trips and slight route variations each day.

  • Day 1
    Trailhead to Whitehorn Campground (6.8 mi/801 ft)
    Distance: 6.8 mi
    Elevation gain: 801 ft
    Campground: Whitehorn Campground
  • Day 2
    Whitehorn to Berg Lake Campground
    Distance: 6.2 mi + optional afternoon hike
    Elevation gain: 1,699 ft
    Campground: Berg Lake Campground (Or Rearguard and Robson Pass campgrounds if full)
  • Day 3
    Day hike to Snowbird Pass
    Distance: 13.7 mi
    Elevation gain: 2,487 ft
    Campground: Berg Lake Campground (Or Rearguard and Robson Pass campgrounds if full)
  • Day 4
    Berg Lake to Trailhead
    Distance: 13.0 mi
    Elevation gain: -2,605 ft
    Campground: None

Frequently Asked Questions about Berg Lake Trail

How long does it take to hike to Berg Lake?

Hiking from the trailhead to Berg Lake takes on average 14 hours. It is a 21.0 km hike in with 800 m of elevation gain.

Can you hike to Berg Lake in a day?

It is possible for a relatively fit hiker, but it is recommended to do over two days.

Can you drive to Berg Lake?

Unfortunately no, you’ll have to hike in.

What should I bring to Berg Lake trail?

In terms of gear for hiking the Berg Lake trail, you’ll need to prepare for a mid-length backpacking trip. Check out our backpacking checklist for all the latest and greatest gear you’ll need to make the most out of your trip.

Can you hike Mount Robson?

Standing at 12,989 ft Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. And while you can’t hike it, mountain climbers come from around the world to conquer this mammoth. You’ll have amazing views on the Berg Lake Trail and you’ll even be able to spot a tiny climber off in the distance.

Where is Berg Lake in Canada? 

Berg Lake is located within Fraser-Fort George H, BC. While it’s not actually in Jasper, or Alberta even, it’s just a quick drive from Jasper National Park and is a must-do on any Jasper road trip.

Insider Hints for Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

  • Bike to Kinney Lake for your first 4.3 mi to make for a thrilling and gratifying exit on your final day. This can also allow you to push to Berg Lake in one day if you are in good backpacking shape.
  • Book in October, an entire year before you want to hike to ensure your dates.
  • If continuing west, stop in Valemount at the Swiss Bakery for some delicious treats.
  • Be prepared for all kinds of weather at Berg Lake. Even in the middle of summer, we recommend bringing a quality Gore-tex shell, rain pants and a down coat.

Getting to the Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking Trailhead

To get to the Berg Lake Trailhead,from Jasper, take Highway 16 west for 55.9 mi to the Mount Robson Provincial Park Visitor Centre. You’ll need to take a brief orientation and get your permit, before you drive the 1.2 mi to the Berg Lake Trailhead, where you’ll leave your car.

Route Information

  • Re-supply points

    None

  • When to do

    Summer

  • Mountain Huts

    No

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes

  • Toilets

    Trailhead, and all campgrounds

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Accommodation Type

    Tent

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking Elevation Graph

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Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking Reviews

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