Mount Robson Provincial Park
Located a breathtaking 90 minutes west of the townsite of Jasper, 3 hours east of Prince George and 30 minutes north of Valemount (its nearest town) Mount Robson Provincial park was established by a special act of the British Columbia legislature in 1913.It was designated as a world heritage site (part of the Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site which also includes Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks as well as Assiniboine Provincial Park) in 1990 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Texqakallt Nation, the area's earliest known inhabitants, called Mount Robson “Yuh-hai-has-kun” which translates to “The Mountain of the Spiral Road”. This referred to the layered appearance of the mountain. Although almost never given credit, native peoples played a major role in the early exploration and trading in the Yellowhead Pass - Tete Jaune area. They provided food and guiding services to early visitors who would have otherwise not lived to further explore the area.
Mount Robson its self is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies with nearly 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) of steep vertical ascent from the Kinney Lake shoreline – something that few mountains anywhere in the world can claim to offer. It is also considered one of the most challenging mountains to climb ( with a reported 10% success rate) due to it’s unrelenting vertical ascent, unexpected changes in weather, avalanches, ice and rock fall etc. We were fortunate enough to cross paths with a few climbers en route to summit Mount Robson my first time in the park - unfortunately we were not around to see them stand atop this mammoth but heard that they were successful!
most iconic views
With an entire park named after it; there is no surprise that Mount Robson is the main attraction in this Provincial Park. Although views from the Mount Robson visitor centre parking lot attracts hundreds of visitors daily - the views from the Berg Lake Trail and surrounding hikes are my favourite vantages.
The Berg Lake Trail
I felt that this backpacking trip warranted its own post - click here to read everything I wish I knew before hitting the trail.
Mount Fitzwilliam Hiking Trail
Much less popular than its neighbour Berg Lake - this backpacking trip has been on my radar for quite some time (with hopes to make it out before the end of the summer season). This hiking trail gains 1,000m over 12km and offers views of vast open alpine meadows, jewel times alpine lakes and seemingly endless options for mountains to scramble or climb.
- In Mount Robson Provincial Park there are currently 42 species of mammals, four amphibians, one reptile and 182 species of birds.
- Excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing are available within the park. On a single drive it is not uncommon to observe all of: Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Moose, Elk, Wolf, Coyote, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear and a large variety of waterfowl. Please note that pulling over to the rose of the road to take photos of wildlife is extremely detrimental to the animals.
- In the spring, cow Elk become extremely protective of their new calves. Moose and deer will also actively defend their young but the Elk seem most prone to short tempers when confronted with anything they perceive as a threat to their young. It is for this reason that Snowbird Pass along the Berg Lake Trail is closed during Elk Calving season (May and June) In the fall of the year it's the males of these species that can become aggressive. The “mating or rutting” season in September and October can make even the most seemingly docile Elk, Moose or Deer aggressive. Although they are beautiful to look at, keep clear of all wildlife and give them the space they need to ensure their safety and yours.
- A long tradition in Mount Robson Park, the “Bird Blitz” takes place in June each year. Bird enthusiasts from far and wide come to enjoy the beautiful spring scenery as well as the opportunity to observe and count the parks incredible bird population.
- A number of the valleys in the park have no routes or trails and extremely low levels of human use. This is in keeping with our belief that “wilderness” means wild and the Grizzly Bears, Caribou, Wolverines and other wilderness-loving species seem quite happy to keep it that way.
amenities, passes and permits
There is no park pass required for visiting most Robson Provincial Park
Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping is allowed, but no facilities are provided. There is backcountry winter camping offered in this park.
$6.00 reservation fee
$10.00 per adult / night
$5.00 per child / night (persons 6 - 15 years of age)
Berg Lake Trail: Ranging from five tent pads at Rearguard Campground to 26 tent pads at the Berg Lake campground.
Reservations can be made for the Berg Lake Trail through Discover Camping; refer to the Campground Dates of Operation table for the reservable dates. Without a reservation, it may be difficult to get on the trail during busy periods. Outside of the reservable period, registration and payment of trail fees must take place at the Mount Robson Park Visitor Information Centre.
All hikers for the Berg Lake Trail must check in at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre during the following normal operating hours:
May 10 to June 14 – 8am to 5pm
June 15 to a day after Labour Day – 8am to 7pm
A day after Labour Day to September 30 – 8am to 5pm
October 1 to a day after Thanksgiving Day – 9am to 4pm
Corridor: Several trailheads are located along the highway corridor that access wilderness/walk-in campsites.
Lucerne: Two walk-in/cycle campsites are available.
Note: There is backcountry winter camping offered in this park. The regular campgrounds in the backcountry at Berg and along the trail up to Berg. There is no fee collected for winter camping at this time. September 30 until June 14 is considered the winter season and all other campgrounds in the park are closed.
There are three drive-in campgrounds that are perfect for slipping up long drives, or to stay in before early morning backcountry trips:
- Robson Meadows: 125 treed campsites;
- Robson River: 19 campsites;
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $28.00 per party/night
- Lucerne: 36 campsites;
Vehicle Accessible Camping Fee: $22.00 per party/night
There are hot showers and a family shower room available at Robson Meadows and Robson River campgrounds for those van lifers out there.
Thank you to Caroline Foster and Erik Read for helping with several of the images featured in this post - tripods are awful conversationalists.