• Zac & Ine

Berg Lake Trail Hiking and Camping Guide

Updated: a day ago

Want to hike the Berg Lake Trail and see Mount Robson up close? This guide includes how to book camping on the trail, our recommended itinerary, what to expect on the trail, and how to do the majority of the trail as a day hike. We had an amazing hiking and camping trip along the Berg Lake Trail in the summer of 2019, where we saw some of the most magnificent glaciers in our lives. Here, we share our top tips here based on what we learned when booking our campsite and hiking the Berg Lake Trail on a 3-day, 2-night trip.



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Berg Lake Trail Overview


Located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, the Berg Lake Trail is one of the top hiking and camping destinations in all of the Canadian Rockies. Although it is a long journey (46 kilometers total), the hike is definitely worth it. You will walk along a glacial-fed river almost the entire way, be surrounded by 16 different glaciers, see the impressive Emperor Falls, and be inspired by two of the most stunning turquoise lakes on this planet. 


The Berg Lake Trail also includes views of the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mt. Robson. At 3,954 m (12,972 ft), Mount Robson towers above you as you enter the park and you will have viewpoints of various angles of the peak throughout the trail. No wonder it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site!


View of Mount Robson on your way into the park

Berg Lake Trail Reservations


If you are planning your Canadian Rockies trip ahead of time, we recommend booking your site 3 months in advance of your arrival date so you can pick the campsite you want to stay at and ensure you’ve got a place to sleep on the trail. You can book here.


There are 7 different campsites along the Berg Lake Trail, ranging from 5-23 camping spots at each location. It’s recommended to reserve a spot 3 months in advance, however, there are opportunities to book close to your arrival date pending cancellations.

For us, we planned our Berg Lake Trail excursion very late and managed to get a last-minute cancellation spot on the day we arrived for a 2-night stay at Kinney Lake. This actually worked out in our favor as we could do the majority of the Berg Lake Trail as a day hike (28 km) from the Kinney Lake Campground to Berg Lake and back on the same day. For us, the timing was perfect as we got to see the best of Mount Robson and Berg Lake while still having time for other hikes and destinations in the Canadian Rockies. Camping two nights in one spot meant we didn’t have to bring all of our camping gear so far up the rest of the trail. However, there are tons of hikes around Berg Lake itself that we will also mention in this article in case you do have more than 2 nights available to camp on the Berg Lake Trail




Berg Lake Trail Map


This map includes an overview of the main route for the Berg Lake Trail. In total, the one-way route from the parking lot to Berg Lake Campground is about 21 kilometers with an elevation gain of 1,083 meters



When we hiked the route, it was valuable to have the AllTrails official route map with us as well to give us some insight into the elevation gains for each section and roughly how long it was going to take us to get to the next water source and shelters.


For the full BC Parks map, including other hiking routes around Berg Lake Campground, click here.


Use the AllTrails map in conjunction with the BC Parks official map to make sure that you never get lost on the route to and from Berg Lake itself.




Recommended Itinerary


As mentioned earlier in the article, we arrived on the day of the hike and luckily got a spot at Kinney Lake campground for two nights. This was a miracle due to a cancellation that occurred earlier that afternoon. We were excited beyond belief because we really wanted to see the majestic lakes and famous Mount Robson up close!


We were worried that it would be too long of a day hike to go from Kinney Lake all the way to Berg Lake and back. This is 28 km in a day. However, we were only there those two days and weren’t about to miss out on Berg Lake. So we went for it!


After doing it ourselves, we realized it’s actually really doable to do Berg Lake as a day hike from Kinney Lake Campground and back. And we recommend it! Kinney Lake is a beautiful campground right on the water and having two mornings to wake up to the hazy blue water at Kinney was simply magical.


We recommend the following itinerary:


Day 1 - Mount Robson parking lot to Kinney Lake Campground

Day 2 - Kinney Lake Campground to Berg Lake and back

Day 3 - Kinney Lake Campground to the parking lot



Day 1: Mount Robson Parking Lot to Kinney Lake Campground


First, you will want to check-in at the Mount Robson Provincial Park ranger station. They will provide you with your official pass for camping at your designated site as well as give you the most up-to-date weather conditions. They will also have an insight into recent bear sightings and other tips for the hike. As well, you are required to watch a 15-minute video in the ranger station prior to the hike which outlines bear safety, camping rules, and a few other local tips for the trail.


Give yourself a couple of hours to reach Kinney Lake Campground from the parking lot. The trail is not too steep and only 7 km long, but you will be greeted with spectacular views of Mount Robson along the way as well as gorgeous views of Kinney Lake itself. Give yourself time to take some pictures and save energy prior to the big day hike tomorrow!


If you’ve got a bike, you can also ride that to the Kinney Lake Campground. This will save you some time and energy and will be really nice to have for coming down the trail at the end. There are even bike racks at Kinney Lake Campground to lock your bike up. If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry. We hiked it and were totally fine ourselves!


7 km, 2 hours, 140 m elevation gain


Kinney Lake 1st viewpoint


Day 2: Berg Lake Day Hike


After you had a good night's sleep and peaceful morning at Kinney Lake, it’s time to get up and moving for the BIG DAY! This is the longest day-hike we’ve done in the Rockies at 28 km. You will be hiking through various campgrounds, see massive glaciers next to you, and be in awe of the magnificent waterfalls in the surrounding valleys and peaks. We’ve broken down the day hike into four sections so you can know what to expect on your way up. Bring lots of water tablets with you!


28 km, 12 hours, 630 m elevation gain


Kinney Lake Campground view in the morning

Section 1: Kinney Lake to Whitehorn


The first section of the trail is 4 km and runs from Kinney Lake Campground up to Whitehorn Campground. It took us about 1.5 hours to get to Whitehorn as we crossed a few bridges over the river and had a steep ascent from the flats of Kinney Lake up to the next plateau where Whitehorn Mountain stood in the distance. There is a shelter at Whitehorn Campground where you can take a rest, warm-up and have a bite to eat to keep your energy high. Take a moment here to bask in the beautiful scenery with cascading waterfalls and panoramic glaciers surrounding you. The next part of the trail will be steep and you will not have access to water, so fill up at Whitehorn before heading up towards Emperor Falls!


4km, 1.5 hours, 150m elevation gain


Whitehorn Campground view

Section 2: Whitehorn to Emperor Falls


This is the steepest section of the trail, but it will be so worth it when you get to the top! Emperor Falls is waiting for you as a reward. This section took us about 2 hours and was very slow going. We climbed up switchbacks the majority of the time and saw numerous waterfalls on our right-hand side as we took a few rest stops. You will come to a ridge near the end of the switchbacks and be greeted with a magnificent view of Mount Robson from the side with Emperor Falls below it. 30 more minutes of hiking will take you to Emperor Falls itself where you can walk right up to the cascading falls and feel the powerful water mist around you. A truly magical point to take a rest before your final ascent up towards Berg Lake.


5 km, 2.5 hours, 340 m elevation gain


Emperor Falls with Mount Robson in background

Section 3: Emperor Falls to Marmot


You’ve done the hard part, now you can relax a bit as you make the ascent up to the edge of Berg Lake. It is mainly a walk through the woods until you reach the edge of the glacier. When you reach the exposed glacier and riverbed, you will start to hear glaciers breaking. A truly wild great from the great Mount Robson! Enjoy these wide-open views and old glacial sediment around you as you walk towards one of the most magically blue lakes you’ve ever seen. Marmot Campground lies right on the edge of Berg Lake. Take a rest here before making your last leg of the hike on the relatively flat lakeside trail to the final viewpoint of Mount Robson.


3 km, 1.5 hours, 110 m elevation gain 


View of Berg Lake from Marmot Campground

Section 4: Marmot to Berg Lake Campground & Mount Robson Viewpoint


Take it easy and take in the views as you approach the most rewarding viewpoint on the Berg Lake Trail! There are many benches to take pictures and stop for rests along the way. Once you get to the Berg Lake Campsite, take a right and head towards the rocky beach. You will see a couple of wooden benches there. This is your final resting point before the hike back to Kinney Lake campsite. Enjoy this moment. You’ve earned it! Take in the views for a bit and see Mount Robson in all its glory.


2 km, 1 hour, 30 m elevation gain


Berg Lake with view of Mount Robson


Section 5: Hike back to Kinney Lake Campground


Now it’s time to hike back to your Kinney Lake Campground site waiting for you. That warm sleeping bag is calling your name. It will be one of the best nights of sleep of your life! Take your time going down and don’t rush it. It will go faster than coming up but will take a bit of a toll on your knees. When you get to the bottom of the hill below Whitehorn, don’t be afraid to take the alternate path to your right. You will see it in the flats before Kinney Lake. This alternate route is a fun finish as you will take out some of the elevations from your normal trail and also be able to see Kinney Lake from a different perspective. It will bring you right to the edge of the Kinney Lake Campground. Get a good night's sleep here. You deserve it after that 28 km hike!


5.5 hours, 14 km, 630 m elevation decrease


Hike back to Kinney Lake Campground

Day 3: Hike out to Mount Robson Parking Lot


When camping on the Berg Lake Trail, make sure to keep food in a food cache provided on a campsite or plastic bag in a tree far away from your tent at all times that you are not eating (to avoid the bears). Also, note that man-made wildfires are a huge issue each summer in western Canada. No fires are allowed at all when there is a fire ban in effect. Camping two nights in one spot meant we didn’t have to bring all of our camping gear so far up the rest of the trail. However, there are tons of hikes around Berg Lake itself that we will also mention in this article in case you do have more than 2 nights available to camp on the Berg Lake Trail.


1.5 hours, 7 km, 140 m elevation decrease


Kinney Lake Campground morning views

Berg Lake Trail Weather


Depending on which months you are hiking the Berg Lake Trail, your experience will be very different.


December through March will almost for sure mean snow on the route. The ideal time to camp on the Berg Lake Trail is from July-September to have the best chances of clear skies along the route.


However, be prepared for all types of weather no matter what time of year it is. It is possible you will run into rain multiple times throughout the day, even though the forecast calls for sun. It can be hot one day and then storming the next.


During our 2.5 days on the trail, we ran into rain 3 separate times even though it was August. Luckily we had our rain jackets with us and a good waterproof tent. A rule of thumb before any camping trip in Canada is to bring equipment for all conditions. Even if the forecast says sun, bring your rain gear just in case!


Mount Robson viewpoint across Berg Lake


Packing List for Berg Lake Trail


When camping on the Berg Lake Trail, make sure to keep food in a food cache provided on a campsite or plastic bag in a tree far away from your tent at all times that you are not eating (to avoid the bears). Also, note that man-made wildfires are a huge issue each summer in western Canada. No fires are allowed at all when there is a fire ban in effect. Camping two nights in one spot meant we didn’t have to bring all of our camping gear so far up the rest of the trail. However, there are tons of hikes around Berg Lake itself that we will also mention in this article in case you do have more than 2 nights available to camp on the Berg Lake Trail.


A quality rain jacket was essential, providing protection each day we were on the trail when the inevitable rain clouds rolled through. For camping, we had a waterproof tent, warm sleeping bag, and comfortable sleeping pads. These items helped us get a good night of sleep for the long 28 km day-hike up to the legendary Berg Lake and were so worth the investment. 


Black bears and grizzlies do roam the area around Berg Lake Trail. You may come across them while on your hike or in the campgrounds. We carried bear spray with us the whole time in our side pocket and definitely recommend it for anyone else hiking the trail! It’s super effective and gives you a better sense of peace when hiking the trail, especially if you are only a group of two people like we were. There are also tons of insects along the trail, especially mosquitoes. So bring some good insect repellent! Since you are out in the wilderness of Canada, you should definitely consider getting travel insurance. World Nomads offers great options as you can book on the fly and get full coverage for incidents while camping.


Finally, for the hiking on the trail, you should make sure to have good hiking boots. It’s 28 km in one day, so don’t skimp on your footwear! There is also a ton of fresh river and lake water along the route, so instead of carrying a ton of water bottles, just refill your bottle along the route and add water purification tablets. The hike has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, so make sure to have a quality camera with you too! We have the Canon DSLR 80D ourselves.


For a full list of other Canada Camping recommendations, check out our complete camping gear guide here




Additional Hike Options


As mentioned at the beginning, there are additional hiking trail options that are accessible from both Marmot and Berg Lake Campground areas. While we didn’t get to experience these due to our tighter timeline, they definitely have magnificent views of Mount Robson and Berg Lake below as well. You will need many more days to take in all of these hikes. However, if you have the time, go for it! 


  • Hargreaves Lake (1/2 day)

  • Toboggan Falls (2 hours, return)

  • Mumm Basin (1/2 day)

  • Snowbird Pass (1 day)

  • Moose River Route (7 days)

These routes are recommended directly by BC Parks. For more information on them, visit the BC Parks Website.


For a full map of the trails, click here


For easy travel insurance comparisons with World Nomads, fill out this form!




Have you hiked the Berg Lake Trail? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below!


For more things to do in the Canadian Rockies, check out our Canadian Rockies Adventure Travel Guide or other articles:

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