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12 Things to KNOW about visiting Mount Robson Provincial Park

12 Things to KNOW about visiting Mount Robson Provincial Park

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Mount Robson Provincial Park is one of the oldest parks in British Columbia and is the home of the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies! It’s no wonder this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in BC with jaw-dropping scenery and amazing wildlife.

While it’s definitely not as famous as, say, Banff and Jasper National Parks, it’s still spectacular – in fact, we think of it as a bit of a hidden gem, despite the fact it’s home to a huge mountain.

If you’re a nature lover, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on a visit to Mount Robson Provincial Park. It’s a great way to see a lesser-known part of the Canadian Rockies, and there are a ton of activities to enjoy in the park, from camping and canoeing to scenic flights and hikes.

We love visiting this park and think it’s kind of a shame that more people don’t know about it – although at the same time, it’s nice to visit somewhere that’s a bit off the beaten path!

We’ve compiled a guide containing everything you need to know about visiting Mount Robson Provincial Park so that you’re ready to explore this beautiful part of British Columbia.

1. About Mount Robson Provincial Park

A hiker walks across a wooden bridge in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Berg Lake Trail
View from the helicopter of Mount Robson in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Scenic flight over Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson Provincial Park is the second oldest provincial park in Canada. It was established in 1913, which was the same year that Austrian explorer Conrad Kain and his party successfully ascended Mount Robson, which is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The park’s first trail was also built in 1913, stretching from Robson River to Berg Lake.

Mount Robson is not only the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, but it’s also the second highest peak in British Columbia, behind Mount Waddington which is part of the Coast mountain range. There’s some debate about who it was named after: either John Robson, a politician and journalist, or Colin Robertson, an early Canadian fur trader.

The park covers an area of 2,249 square kilometers (868 square miles). It encompasses diverse natural landscapes, including mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, and caves, which makes it an ideal place for outdoor adventure activities. There’s so much stunning natural beauty here, which is precisely why we love it so much!

2. Where is Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Berg Glacier runs into Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park
The Berg Glacier!

The park is in British Columbia, just west of the Alberta border, and is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It borders Jasper National Park to the east, and the closest village is Tête Jaune Cache, although the park is also just an hour’s drive from Jasper or 20 minutes from Valemount. We were actually surprised by how easy it is to access, especially considering that it feels like you’re in an isolated paradise when you’re here!

Related read: Need a road trip guide? Check out this route to drive from Vancouver to Jasper where the most scenic part of the drive starts around Mount Robson!

3. When is the best time to visit Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Emperor falls in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Emperor falls in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Mount Robson, Berg glacier and Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park

Summer is the ideal time to visit Mount Robson Provincial Park, as this is when the area enjoys the highest temperatures. It never gets much warmer than the late teens in Celsius (low 60s in Fahrenheit), which is nice for hiking and exploring. We visited during the summer and found that the weather was perfect.

In the late spring and early summer, wildflowers bloom, making for a beautiful and colorful landscape. In early autumn, the larches turn golden-yellow, which is also a stunning sight.

The area receives a lot of snow during the winter, and temperatures drop to well below freezing, so this isn’t a great time to visit unless you want to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Conditions can also be dangerous in the park during the winter and most of the hiking trails close, so if you do visit during this time of year, it’s best to stick to the lower-elevation trails.

4. Is it free to visit Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Daniel and his friend run into Berg Lake taking a polar dip in Mount Robson Provincial Park
Taking a cold dip in Berg Lake!

Yes, it’s free to visit if you’re just coming for the day.

However, if you want to stay overnight in the park you’ll need to book and pay for a campsite, but we’ll get into more detail about that later on in the blog. But since there are a handful of towns nearby, you don’t have to camp in the park unless you want to and you can visit free of charge.

Related read: For more budget-friendly ideas, check out the top free things to do in Vancouver!

5. Where are the best places to visit Mount Robson Provincial Park from?

A group of hikers walk along a path in Mount Robson Provincial Park as part of the Berg Lake Trail
A hiker’s dream!

Jasper

Jasper is an awesome little town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It’s popular with tourists because it’s a great base for exploring the national park’s many alpine lakes, incredible hiking trails, hot springs, and ski fields. For a long time, we actually kind of overlooked how many cool things there were to do in the town itself, but when we spent some time there we fell in love with its laid-back vibe and myriad of cute cafes and great restaurants.

Jasper is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) away from Mount Robson Provincial Park, and the hour-long drive through the mountains to get there is absolutely beautiful.

Related read: Jasper is so beautiful it’s also a top honeymoon destination!

Valemount

Valemount is a small village that’s around 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) away from Mount Robson Provincial Park. It receives its fair share of visitors, but we actually think that it’s one of British Columbia’s most underrated mountain towns.

You definitely won’t find the same crowds here that you’ll encounter in places like Banff, and it’s a great base for activities like hiking, white water rafting, and fishing. So basically, if you want a quiet and peaceful getaway, Valemount should be your destination.

Tête Jaune Cache

Tête Jaune Cache is a small community located on the banks of the Fraser River. It’s the closest town to Mount Robson Provincial Park as it’s only 14 kilometers (8.6 miles away), so it should only take you around 10 minutes to drive there.

It’s a really quiet place, but there are some fun adventures to be had here, like exploring waterfalls, taking ATV tours, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

6. What are the best things to do in Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Hike the Berg Lake Trail

Emperor Falls on the Berg Lake Trail in Mt Robson Provincial Park near Valemount, BC
Emperor Falls on the Berg Lake Trail!

2023 Update: Berg Lake Trail is currently closed due to flooding that damaged the trail in 2021. A portion of the trail to the Kinney Lake Campground will reopen in 2023. Check for updates here before you go!

I have hiked A LOT in Canada and the Berg Lake Trail ranks at the very top of my list. It’s just that beautiful! If you’re an avid hiker, trust me, you’ll want to do this one.

Now saying that, I’ll warn you it’s not an easy hike. The trail is a 41.5 km (25.7 mile) out-and-back trail that takes an average of 3-4 days to hike. It also takes some planning as you’ll need to have spots to camp along the way because you’ll want breaks!

Some of the highlights along the trail include Emperor Falls, Berg Lake, the Valley of a Thousand Waterfalls, and the Berg Glacier. If you’re really lucky, you might just see giant chunks of ice break off the huge glaciers and fall into the waters of Berg Lake – it’s spectacular to see if you time it right!

The trail is very steep and long, but honestly booking it can be more challenging than hiking it! You’ll want to plan months in advance for the hike so you can secure reservations. A great summary we found helpful is on the BC Parks website – check out the video for tips.

Take a helicopter flight over the park

A helicopter ride above Mt Robson Provincial Park
Flying high above Mt Robson and Berg Lake!

Now if a days-long hike is not your thing, another way to take in the epic views of Mount Robson Provincial Park is from the sky! I booked a helicopter flight with Robson Heli Magic after hiking the Berg Lake Trail because I knew the scenery would be breathtaking – even then, I still wasn’t prepared for just how incredible it was!

Their Majestic Mt. Robson Tour is a 36-minute flight that takes you over glacier peaks, waterfalls, and lakes that are that unreal shade of turquoise blue. Everywhere you look it’s like a travel magazine come to life!

The flight costs a total of $995 CAD per helicopter. It’s the same price for 1-4 passengers, so bring a friend or two and split the cost of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

One-way hike the Berg Lake Trail via helicopter

A man jumps in the air with Berg Lake and Berg Glacier in the background on the Berg LAke Trail near Valemount, BC
Shortly after landing in the chopper!

Now, I’ll let you in on a secret, you can actually combine the first two experiences on this list for the ultimate adventure! Instead of hiking the entire Berg Lake Trail, you can also take a one-way helicopter flight with Robson Heli Magic to the end of the trail and then walk back.

You’ll be dropped off at the Robson Pass Campground and then hike downhill for 22.5 kms (14.3 miles) back to the start of the trailhead. This is a great way to cut that long hike in half, but still get the rewards of amazing views. You’ll have Mount Robson towering over you the whole time!

The route takes you along the Robson River past several glaciers and Emperor Falls, which is a huge and powerful waterfall that’s honestly a pretty majestic sight. It sprays so much mist that you can even “take a shower” in it! You’ll also go past the Valley of a Thousand Waterfalls and Kinney Lake.

I’m not going to lie – this hike is very tiring and it’s a super long day. Daniel did it and he was exhausted by the end, but if you love hiking and have a good level of fitness, then it’s a super beautiful way to explore the park.

Note: The Berg Lake Trail is currently closed, so this experience is not available in 2023. We hope to see it offered again in 2024!

Bike or walk to Kinney Lake

Kinney Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
The lake is easy to access and very popular with day and overnight trips!

Kinney Lake is a beautiful azure lake along the Berg Lake Trail that’s surrounded by rocky peaks. If you don’t want to tackle the entire Berg Lake Trail, you can walk or bike along the Kinney Lake Trail. It’s a 13.7-kilometer (8.5 mile) out-and-back route.

The trail takes you along the Robson River and through an old-growth forest, so it’s an awesome way to explore the park if you don’t have the time, fitness level, or inclination to do the entire Berg Lake Trail. You can even snowshoe it during the winter months!

And of course, once you get to the lake itself you can rest for a while as you admire the views, or even dip your feet in the icy water!

Note: The Kinney Lake Trail closed in 2021 after extensive flooding, but this section of trail and the campground are set to open in late June 2023.

Walk to Overlander Falls

Overlander Falls, BC
The beautiful Overlander Falls.

If you’re up for chasing some waterfalls in Mount Robson Provincial Park, you don’t have to plan a days-long hike to see a nice one!

One of my favorite walks here is the Overlander Falls Short Trail. It’s only 10 minutes from the start of the trail near the Mt Robson Visitor Centre until you’re at a nice flat viewing area to take in the falls! While it’s not the most spectacular waterfall, it’s a short walk and the forest around here is stunning.

There’s also the option to extend this hike a bit by taking the Overlander Falls Long Trail which starts from Hargreaves Road around the Robson Meadows Campground. This route follows the Fraser River and has mountains surrounding you.

There are some nice viewpoints along this longer trail to see the canyon and river along with an old railway contractor site. The trail is 4.5 kms (2.7 miles) to go to the falls and back and should take about 1.5 hours.

Related read: For more easy trails like this one, these are the top easy day hikes in Vancouver!

Visit the Mount Robson Visitor Center

Mt Robson Provincial Park Visitor Center with a backdrop of Mt Robson
The Mt Robson Visitor Center with Mt Robson in the background. Isn’t this just gorgeous!

The Mount Robson Visitor Centre is a super useful place to help you get the most out of your visit. You can find out about all of the different trails and activities in the park, as well as get maps and information about the park’s history and wildlife. You can also buy fishing permits here and find out the best places to spot wildlife.

The center closes during the winter, but during summer it’s open from 8 am – 4 pm daily.

Make the trip to Rearguard Falls Provincial Park

Rearguard Falls in Rearguard Falls Provincial Park
How the salmon make it up this waterfall is beyond me!

Rearguard Falls Provincial Park is a small park just outside Mount Robson Provincial Park – about a 10-minute drive away.

The big draw here is Rearguard Falls itself where you can see the Chinook salmon finish their massive journey (around 1,200 kms/745 miles) to jump the falls and make it into their spawning area. Talk about impressive!

To catch this feat in person, you’ll need to visit between mid-August and mid-September. Even if you don’t happen to visit during this time, it’s still a neat place to visit. I really enjoyed having a peek at the info boards in the area to learn more about this massive migration every year.

Fishing

The park’s crystal-clear rivers and lakes make great places to go fishing. Moose and Yellowhead lakes are especially popular fishing spots, and some of the species you can expect to catch include bull trout, rainbow trout, and Rocky Mountain whitefish. There are also dolly varden in these lakes, but they are catch-and-release only – you can check the fishing regulations at the visitor center before you head out. 

Boat launch ramps are available at both of these lakes, and the pools and streams in the park also present great opportunities for catching Kokanee Salmon.

You’ll need to buy a BC fishing license before you cast your rod in Mount Robson Provincial Park, which you can get online or purchase at the visitor center in the park.

The license costs $36 CAD per year for BC residents, or $10 CAD per day. If you’re not from BC, this license cost is $55 CAD yearly or $20 CAD for a one-day pass.

Related read: For more epic fishing, anglers from around the world head to Parksville, BC!

Wildlife viewing

bear in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
Bear safety is important in Mount Robson Provincial Park!

Mount Robson Provincial Park is home to some amazing wildlife, including deer, elk, grizzly bears, moose, and black bears.

You can also spot birds such as bald eagles and osprey, as well as smaller animals like squirrels, porcupines, marmots, and beavers. We found it super exciting to spot a grizzly bear in the wild (from a safe distance, of course!).

Related read: If spotting animals is a must, make sure you take in all the wildlife around Banff National Park!

7. What are the campgrounds in Mount Robson Provincial Park?

A tent at Whitehorn Campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park
A tent at Whitehorn Campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park

The campgrounds in Mount Robson Provincial Park are dotted along the Berg Lake Trail. We’ve listed the campgrounds in order of the distance from the entrance. There are some great campgrounds in the park, so if you want to stay overnight you have plenty of options! The Berg Lake Trail is a popular route so you’ll need to book in advance to get a spot, which you can do via the BC Parks website.

Kinney Lake Campground

Kinney Lake Campground reopens on May 15, 2023 with 14 sites after over a year of closure due to flooding. It’s a beautiful spot located right by Kinney Lake, and it’s a great place to camp if you don’t want to tackle the entire Berg Lake Trail. It’s 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the entrance and 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles) from the trailhead.

Whitehorn Campground

Whitehorn Campground is a backcountry campground that’s 10.4 kilometers (6.5 miles) along the Berg Lake Trail, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Kinney Lake. It’s a really well-maintained area with outhouse toilets, bear lockers, and a cooking area. It’s a lovely spot for views of Mount Robson and the surrounding area.

Emperor Falls Campsite

Despite its name, you don’t have a view of Emperor Falls from this campsite, but it’s right along the Robson River. The campground is 16 kilometers (10 miles) along the Berg Lake Trail, another 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) further on than the previous campground. There’s no cooking shelter here, but there are bear lockers and outhouses.

Berg Lake Campground

21 kilometers (13 miles) along the Berg Lake trail, you’ll find Berg Lake Campground, 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) past the Emperor Falls Campground. There are 26 sites here and a log cabin to shelter and cook in. It’s close to the Berg Glacier and offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

Rearguard Campground

A kilometer later, you’ll come to the Rearguard Campground, which is 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) along the Berg Lake Trail in total. It’s the smallest campsite along the trail and is set amongst some trees, which is great for shade and shelter. There’s no shelter here, but if the weather is bad you can head back to the Berg Lake Campground to cozy up inside the log cabin.

Robson Pass Campground

The Robson Pass Campground is at the very end of the Berg Lake Trail, and after a mammoth day of hiking, you can reward yourself by setting up camp here. It’s a beautiful spot, and you’ll wake up to be greeted with stunning views of Mount Robson, which is an amazing reward for all your hard work. Since it’s right at the end of the trail, this is one of the most popular campsites and it can get busy, so be sure to book well in advance.

8. Where to stay right near Mount Robson Provincial Park?

The Berg Glacier in Mount Robson Provincial Park
The Berg Glacier in Mount Robson Provincial Park

You can also stay just outside Mount Robson Provincial Park since there are a bunch of accommodation options just minutes away. This is a good idea if you’re not going to hike the Berg Lake Trail because all of the campsites listed above are along the trail. Plus, many of those campsites will remain closed until the trail re-opens, but you can stay at the options below right now.

Of course, you can also just stay in Jasper, Valemont, or Tête Jaune Cache and drive to the park for a day trip!

Robson Meadows Campground

The Robson Meadows Campground is 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) outside of the park, so it’s a great alternative to staying inside the park – especially if you’re not planning on tackling the Berg Lake Trail. There’s lots of shade and the campsites are large, and there’s a small store and restaurant which is handy.

Robson River Campground

Robson River Campground is 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) from Mount Robson Provincial Park, and it’s a great place to pitch a tent for the night so that you can explore the park in depth. There are showers and flushing toilets, as well as pit ones. The only downside is that you do hear quite a lot of noise from the highway, which we found interrupted our sleep a little.

Mountain River Lodge

This lodge offers B&B rooms or private cabins just a kilometer outside of the park, so it’s a great alternative to camping. All rooms have private bathrooms and there’s a living room with a fireplace where you can warm up after a day of exploring the park. Breakfast is also included, which is always a big bonus for us!

Mount Robson Lodge

Situated 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the park, Mount Robson Lodge is another great option if cozy cabins are your thing. The cabins sleep up to 4 people and include a private living room, kitchenette, and bathroom. The lodge is only open from May – October, and you have to book 3 nights at a time. You can check availability and book online here.

9. What facilities are in Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Daniel poses for a photo in Mount Robson Provincial Park
What a place!
Berg glacier on Mount Robson, Canada

There’s a gas station and coffee shop inside the park, as well as the visitor center where you can go to find information and plan your visit. The Visitor Center, gas station, and park campgrounds all have toilets and there are picnic areas throughout, too. The closest medical clinic is in Valemount, which is a 25-minute drive away.

10. Are dogs allowed in Mount Robson Provincial Park?

A man walks along a trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Canada
If you plan to hike far, make sure your dog is up to the challenge!

Dogs are welcome in the park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. You can take your dog with you on the hiking trails, but only during the daytime, so if you’re camping in the park then your furry friend will have to stay at home. This means that you can’t really bring your dog if you’re planning to hike the full Berg Lake Trail.

11. Is there cell phone reception in Mount Robson Provincial Park?

Views of the blue Berg Lake and Berg Glacier in Mount Robson Provincial Park
The lake really is that blue!

No, you can’t get any cell phone reception in the park. It’s best to download any maps or info you need in advance, just to be safe. You can also access WiFi at the Visitor Center if you need it, but other than that a trip to Mount Robson Provincial Park really is a chance to go off the grid.

12. Is visiting Mount Robson Provincial Park worth it?

A helicopter flies into Mount Robson Provicial Park with views of Mount Robson
Of course, Mount Robson is one of the most beautiful parks in Canada!

Yes, the park is super beautiful and if you’re a fan of hiking and/or fishing, then you’ll be in your element here. The alpine scenery is spectacular and you get the chance to really explore nature, as well as appreciate all of the wildlife that calls the park home.

Plus, it’s a great way to get away from town and just relax for a few days – so if that’s what you’re after, then we’d definitely recommend making the trip!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

A close up of Daniel in Mount Robson Provincial Park
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, this guide to Mount Robson Provincial Park has helped you plan your visit here! It’s definitely a hiker’s paradise. I’m STILL thinking about those views. I love that it’s not a busy spot, but you still feel like you’re in the midst of all the best the Rocky Mountains have to offer.

If you’re heading to this part of the world soon, make sure to browse around our other Canada blogs. From road trip ideas to hidden gems and tons of activities, we’ll help you make the most of your trip.

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