Banff Roadtrip Part 2: Jasper and Mt Robson National Park
Finally, I am writing to you about part 2 of our road trip, which is really the best part! For those of you reading, if you go to Banff I would absolutely make the time to drive from Banff to Jasper National Park, this drive alone is breathtaking and you may have a few life revelations. After our hike around Lake Louise we started the drive, but landed early at a campsite to wake up to beautiful blue skies for our morning coffee and breaky.
From Banff to Jasper you are on Icefields Pkwy, which again is insane. We stopped and did a stunning hike called Parker Ridge, which was 1,000 feet elevation gain and 5 miles total. We wanted a fairly short hike given our long hike the day before and the effort put in was SO worth the views. This short hike brings you to a ridge-line with views of peaks and glaciers! What more can you ask for? A bit chilly at the top, but this hike is doable for beginners to advance, just be prepared for the elevation gain in 2.5 miles:).
We spent the rest of the day driving into Jasper, taking in all of the glorious views, each way you looked for about 2 hours there were lakes, glaciers, and mountainous terrain. Jasper is a less touristy version of Banff in my opinion. I would love to go back to Banff and explore more, but it was nice to get out of the crowds to unwind and connect with nature, what we had came out there for in the first place. Jasper is a little ski town with breweries, coffee shops, and lots of local outdoor shops. We grabbed a bite at a local brewery and then stopped at a local grocery store to grab one of my must haves (dairy free- coconut ice cream) and found a campsite nearby. If you need a place to do laundry, get connected to WiFi, take a shower, and grab a good cup of coffee (holy genius right?!) check out SnowDome Coffee Bar ! There were also little shops in the area to pick up gear if you forgot anything.
After grabbing a bite, we decided to head up towards Miete Hot Springs and came across a lake that was so shallow you could walk to the other end and the water only went up to your thighs! As far as the hot spring goes, I wouldn't suggest going here for a natural hot springs experience, but it was nice to get a little soak and also take a shower since this was the first of the trip. I felt pretty phenomenal after the soak and shower, so we quickly found a place to pull off and camp for the night as the sun was beginning to set. The next day we would make the drive to Mt. Robson National Park. Below is a quick map of the driving route, so you have an idea of what that looks like. We had to drive back down towards Jasper, then NW to get to Mt. Robson National Park which is in British Columbia, as this is where we would be starting our 3 days, 2 night (or so we thought) backpacking trip to Berg Lake.
I had done a lot of research to find one of the most beautiful and diverse backpacking trips in the Canadian Rockies and continued to stumble upon the Berg Lake Trail. Google pictures of it yourself and I guarantee you will add it to your bucket list. It's a 26 mile (42 km) hike, which takes you through diverse landscapes including turquoise lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and around the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies - Mount Robson, landing you smack dab in front of the beauty herself, Ms. Mt. Robson. We packed up our gear, slapped on our bags, checked in at the visitor center and got ready for the first part of trek to our campsite for the evening at Whitehorn.
On a personal note, after all the initial excitement of our longest backpacking trip to date with just the two of us, we realized we didn't think about the fact that I was about 3 1/2 months prego, would it be okay to strap the bottom strap of the backpack? But without the strap it's extremely bad for your back, especially with the distance we were going. We decided to put all of our heavy stuff in Rob's backpack and the lighter items in mine. Still, we were a little freaked out, so my amazing hubs carried both packs (one on the front, one on the back and trekked 6 miles to the campsite.. practice for future baby hikes if you know what I'm saying). This was our first fail, but let's get back to the hike. After hiking about 4 miles, you will pass the first campsite, Kenny Lake. It is absolutely stunning and I would not have minded camping here but it just doesn't make a significant dent in the trip, so we made it to whitehorn.
It started to rain us, so we were excited to get to the little shelter and make dinner, but this is where we discovered we FORGOT fuel. So guys, lesson to everyone, enjoy this hike, just make none of the same mistakes we made. Luckily, we met a friendly family (who actually were hiking to Berg Lake to get married, HOW FUN!) who let us borrow their fuel so we could heat up our Good to Go meals. The catch is that we were also counting on boiling water for hydration, so we were in a predicament. With this being said, our original plan was to spend the night at Berg Lake the following night, then hike back down to head to the airport the third day. We decided we would leave our packs and tent at the first campsite and do 19 miles in 1 day. Call us crazy, but we didn't want to miss out on essentially one of the biggest reasons for our trip!
So with this, after a good nights sleep, we woke up as early as possible, had breakfast and began our trek. This part of the trail is up hill, but oh my goodness it is worth every step. At this point, I was happy to not be wearing a backpack. After about 3.5 miles up hill, you are rewarded with the beauty of a waterfall. We were pushing through the hike, so unfortunately I didn't snag any pics, but definitely take a second to grab a snack, drink some water, and savor the views.
The trail does flatten out after you pass the falls and just over a mile further you will begin to get your first glance at Mt Robson. From there you will hike through valleys, across the Robson River to what was our final destination, Berg Lake. In an ideal situation, I would recommend spending a few nights at Berg Lake. There are so many side trails you can explore. This will be one I add to the list to do again and spend a few days exploring and really getting to take in all this area has to offer! After taking in the views and eating our lunch, to make a long story short, we headed back to our first campsite, picked up our packs and made the trek back down to our van. I will save all the details, but we were dead, delirious, ate a HUGE meal consisting of burgers, fries, and all the things but in all honestly had a blast and would do it again.