I’ve got something quite unique, quite extraordinary, quite Canadian — if you’re interested. This does come with a warning. Careful, it may just cause you to rethink your travel plans this year.
Know What Turns Your Crank?
How far would you let your guard down for a crown jewel? How about a little tease by the crown jewel of the Canadian Rockies? Interested in a little embrace with world famous Mount Robson? Up for a challenge along the breath-taking Berg Lake trail? How much of a sucker are you for a little trail run that is guaranteed to tantalize?
Does running like a wild man or woman through the woods nurture your soul? How about running like a wild man or woman through a valley of a thousand waterfalls?
Wanna indulge yourself under the soothing pulse of a roaring waterfall or gorge your moisture-starved skin in the radiating mist you’ll find yourself immersed inside? How about a little dare — see how close you can get to the edge of thundering Emperor Falls. Careful! Step too close and it will pound you into submission.
Ahhh.. at 21km envision submerging a pulsing, sweat-drenched body into the invigorating, icy, turquoise-blue Berg Lake.
Are you a Canuck? Wanna be a Canuck (maybe for 10 minutes)? Wanna make famous Bondi’s Icebergs in Sydney, Australia look like child’s play. Yes — that’s Berg lake. Go on submerge yourself, submerge your head. Can you do it without a whine?! Open your eyes and watch an iceberg float by 30 feet in front of you.
Now look up, straight up. Gaze up at a thundering glacier heaving ice chunks into your 100% natural, 100% stress-relieving bathtub.
The best bit – you’ve just completed half a marathon into heaven.
And you know what?! This is a vacation you’ll remember!
Can We Say Hot!?
It’s other worldly and it’s incredible.
As far as beautiful mountain places I’ve been, Berg Lake has a special place in my heart. Once you’ve seen it, it implants itself in your mind forever and ever.
On every side the snowy heads of mighty hills crowded round, whilst, immediately behind us, a giant among giants, and immeasurably supreme, rose Robson’s Peak ( Milton and Cheadle, 1865 ).
At 3,954 meters (12,972 feet), Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, towers over the lesser surrounding peaks; winter or summer, this is one of the finest views in the Rocky Mountains.
Trail running to Berg Lake details:
- 26.2 Miles / 42 km
- start at Mount Robson Visitor Centre — located about an hour outside of the town of Jasper, in British Columbia
- 2km flat paved road to Berg Lake trailhead
- mostly gradual climb along Robson River through cedar rain forest to Kinney Lake picnic area
- short up and down and then flat along the shore of Kinney Lake to Kinney Lake campground
- gentle incline through coniferous forest onto the gravel flats of Robson River
- moderately steep incline followed by descent to Whitehorn Campground
- the hard part — up Valley of a Thousand Falls to Emperor Falls campground
- gradual climb to the shores of Berg Lake and the turnaround
- the trail is very well maintained, and is mostly hardpacked ground with very few exposed roots or protruding rocks
- an elevation gain of 825m (2,700ft) over the 21km to the turn-around point
- a detailed description of the marathon route
How To Turn This Into An Ultra
Don’t miss Snowbird Pass, an incredible, challenging 8km (5mi) run from Berg lake (note it may be closed in May and June so hikers do not disturb caribou who are calving).
- Elevation gain: 756 m (2,480 ft)
- Maximum elevation: 2,408 m (7,898 ft)
- The trail branches from the main Berg Lake Trail near the B.C. Parks warden cabin, 1 km south of Robson Pass. A shortcut to the trail begins directly across the creek from the Robson Pass campsite.
- Start north of Rearguard campsite, follow Robson River then travel up to Robson Glacier’s moraine. Hike up to an alpine meadow, beyond which is Snowbird Pass.
If you have some extra time, and feeling a little foolhardy, run down to an ice cave at the glacier’s edge on Mount Robson’s backside, just after veering to the left of Robson river.
Perhaps even take a quick run inside!
Would love to hear about other unique and incredibly amazing MARATHON/ULTRA experiences! Please share them along with your blogs in the comments below.