Backpack to Robson Pass
Canada › Kinney Lake Trailhead
Added by Colin Ayers
See one of Canada's true gems in Berg Lake and Mount Robson. Travel through the Valley of a Thousand Falls and skirt the border between Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park.
This trail is one of the most popular in all of Canada, and so reservations must be made to stay at campgrounds quite a way in advance. Find more information here http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcpar...
Make sure to check out this map for trail and campsite information, an elevation profile, and good labeling of all the attractions along the way: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcpar...
One way to get around this red tape is to do the whole trail as a very stiff 30-40 mile day hike, which will take even a swift hiker basically from dawn till dusk. There are seven different campsites on this trail that can be reserved in advance, along with a Ranger Station, multiple emergency shelters and service stations, so you are never too far from help.
Start from the parking lot and follow the wide and easy trail about 6 kilometers to reach Kinney Lake, the first of many gorgeous stops that you see on this journey. The trail until this point can be traveled by mountain bike, but you have to ditch your bike here so bring a lock if you choose to do that.
After you leave Kinney Lake behind and cross a few easy bridges over rivers the trail starts to climb as you ascend into the Valley of a Thousand Falls. Here, surrounded on all sides by high valley walls and cascading waterfalls you continue to rise steadily and pass by small offshoots to White Falls, Falls of the Pool, and Emperor Falls, all of which are worth the small detour to view. At 16 km you come across the third campsite at Emperor Falls.
After this point most of your vertical climb is over before the lake and you continue another 3 km and get your first breathtaking views of Berg Lake, Berg Glacier, and Mist Glacier. Continue along this trail for another 3 km to reach the Rearguard Campground, the sixth of the trail. After this point you have a decision to make with three options:
Option 1: When the trail forks around 22.5 km from the trail head you can turn right and head southeast on the Snowbird Pass trail for up-close views of the Robson Glacier and Robson Lake at it's base. Continue up past this point to reach Snowbird Pass and a beautiful snowy wonderland, but beware there is glacier travel required on this trail and the proper gear and knowledge is recommended for crossing. Find out more in Jake Young's fantastic article here: https://www.theoutbound.com/ca...
Option 2: Continue another 4 km or so northeast to Robson Pass, which marks the the boundary between Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park. Truthfully not much of a pass since there is virtually no vertical gain, it mainly just marks the point between the two parks. Just another easy kilometer gets you to Adolphus Lake, which lacks much of the rugged beauty of Berg Lake but still has a wonderfully emerald green hue that is best seen from above, which brings us to the next option...
Option 3: If you still have some solid daylight hours and some vitality in your legs take the Mumm Basin trail that cuts through Robson Pass campground. Ascending another 300 meters or so you get to a ridge overlooking the whole trail, with undoubtedly the best views of Adolphus Lake, Berg Lake, and Robson Lake all in one. Once done with the initial ascent this trail works its way southwest to a cutoff for Toboggan Falls, a wonderful series of little falls you can follow back down to the Berg Lake Trail, or you can stay high and head towards Hargreaves Lake. You can also follow signs that lead to The Cave, a large recess in a rock shelf that goes back a decent ways into complete darkness, so bring a headlamp if you're into exploring caves. Continue past there to the small Hargreaves Lake at the base of its glacier and enjoy more views of the picturesque Berg Lake and Mount Robson before descending back down to the main trail near Marmot Camp.
All three options are worth doing and can be done in a day, but if you choose one I would go with option 3 since it gives you great views from afar of the things you see up close in options 1 and 2.
Whatever decision you make the way back is simple and well marked, just follow the main trail back to the trail head and marvel at the incredible scenery along the way. Whether you choose to do this in one day or 7 you will thoroughly enjoy it and see why this is one of the most well traveled trails in all of Canada.
- Map from BC Parks: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcpar...
- Ten Essentials
- Glacier Travel Equipment if you choose option 1
- Bear spray
- Pass to show your campground reservation
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Favorite Rockies Hike
I love this hike, and we try to do it once a year. Even being up there 5+ times, there are still things we haven't done or seen. It is a mildly challenging hike if you do it all in one day, 21km to Berg Lake. I would highly suggest doing it in one up if you can, give yourself a day at the top to do Snowbird Pass, and a day to hike out. Three total.
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