Backpacking in the Canadian Rockies with a toddler (part 1)

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― J.K. Rowling

Back in the summer of 2017 we spent 5 weeks of backpacking with Lotta in the Canadian Rockies. It was a hot and dry summer. On those 5 weeks, we only experienced 2 days of rain. Good for us, but not so for British Columbia‘s wild backcountry. It was the summer with a huge amount of wildfires in British Columbia. Hazy air caused by the cluster of wildfires has spread over the Rockies. Some days the mountain backdrop was invisible due to the haze, but we we’re never affected by smoke during our backpacking trips.

Lotta was 19 months old on this long backpacking trip. It was one year before her brother Bosse was born. She was carried in the Thule Sappling. It was the last trip on which we could do longer multi-day treks with distances covering over 20k per day. Since Lotta walks for herself, future trips would be much shorter…

Maligne Lake Viewpoint is a 12 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

Maligne Lake Viewpoint is a 12 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Jasper National Park


After some acclimatisation hikes near Jasper, we headed off on our first 5 day backpacking trek onto the Berglake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park. We spilt up our 60km-hike over 5 days so we’d have lots of time to enjoy the scenery and to go on day hikes from the different base camps. There are seven campgrounds along the trail, each with several tent pads. Each campground comes equipped with bear-proof food storage lockers, pit toilets and grey-water pits. You won’t find any showers or flush toilets, and there are no fires allowed. You’ll have to use a camp stove for cooking. Campground reservations for each season become available on October 1 of the prior year (for instance, on October 1, 2019 reservations opened up for the 2020 hiking season).To book your reservation on the Berg Lake Trail, click here.

The Berg Lake Trail is a world-renowned backcountry hiking trail. Gaining just under 800 metres in 23 kilometres, the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones in the Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.

The Berg Lake Trail is a world-renowned backcountry hiking trail. Gaining just under 800 metres in 23 kilometres, the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones in the Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


The Berg Lake Trail winds through old-growth cedar/hemlock forest as it follows the Robson River to Kinney Lake.

The Berg Lake Trail winds through old-growth cedar/hemlock forest as it follows the Robson River to Kinney Lake. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Crossing the suspension bridge near the Whitehorn campground in the Valley of a thousand falls.

Crossing the suspension bridge near the Whitehorn campground in the Valley of a thousand falls. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Our first night at Whitehorn campground in the Valley of a thousand falls.

Our first night at Whitehorn campground in the Valley of a thousand falls. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Emperor Falls

Emperor Falls. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Higher up along Robson River.

Higher up along Robson River. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


We arrived safely at Berg Lake, over!

We arrived safely at Berg Lake, over! Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


We arrived safely at Berg Lake, let's camp!

We arrived safely at Berg Lake, let’s camp! Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Robson Glacier, spilling off from the northeast flank of Mount Robson!

Robson Glacier, spilling off from the northeast flank of Mount Robson! Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Viewpoint above Toboggan Falls, high above Berg Lake and Mount Robson!

Viewpoint above Toboggan Falls, high above Berg Lake and Mount Robson! Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Robson Pass camp!

Robson Pass camp Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Robson Pass camp!

Robson Pass camp Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Berg Lake reflections!

Berg Lake reflections! Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Near Marmot campsite. Berg Lake.

Near Marmot campsite. Berg Lake. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Playing in Kinney Lake.

Playing in Kinney Lake. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Bed time.

Bed time. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


Kinney Lake in the morning light.

Kinney Lake in the morning light. Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.


There are many hiking and backpacking trips to pick from in the stunning Jasper National Park. The Tonquin Valley’s scenery is unrivalled. The trail takes you into one of Canada’s premiere alpine regions, a unique combination of barren peaks, ghostly ice and fertile lakes. The valley is popular for its stunning views of Amethyst Lake at the base of the Ramparts mountain range. It’s famous for its variety of wildlife, which includes grizzlies, black bears, and mountain caribou. It does also have a reputation for its muddiness and an abundance of mosquitoes, so be prepared for a bit of everything.

We hiked to the Wates-Gibson Hut and stayed over for 2 nights. Altough it was peak season in the mid of July we didn’t see any other tourist during our 3 days in the Tonquin Valley!

Well deserved rest at Chrome Lake, after hiking for hours through rain, snow and a thunder storm.

Well deserved rest at Chrome Lake, after hiking for hours through rain, snow and a thunder storm. Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Tonquin Valley map, Jasper National Park

Tonquin Valley map, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Map from Alpine Club of Canada.


Crossing the plains of stunning Eremite valley.

Crossing the plains of stunning Eremite valley.. Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Afternoon coffee!

Afternoon coffee at the Wates-Gibson Hut Hut! Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Wates-Gibson Hut Hut!

The cosy and comfortable Wates-Gibson Hut Hut in the Eremite valley! Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Lunch at Amethyst Lake!

Lunch at Amethyst Lake. Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Eremite Valley. Jasper National Park.

Eremite Valley. Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Wildfire haze spills over the Ramparts Range in the morning light.

Wildfire haze spills over the Ramparts Range in the morning light. Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Wildfire haze spills over the Ramparts Range in the morning light.

Wildfire haze spills over the Ramparts Range in the morning light. So we continue our Tonquin Valley trail, Jasper National Park


Selfie!

The Ramparts Range, Jasper National Park



On the next update we will take you on our 5 day trek on the 80km loop over the Brazeau Plateau. The “grand tour” of the southern ranges, this circuit includes one of the park’s largest backcountry lakes, two passes and an extraordinary alpine traverse with glaciated peaks, lush wildflowers and a variety of wildlife.

Nap timezzzzzz!

Nap timezzzzzz, Brazeau Plateau, Jasper National Park



3 comments

  1. Thanks a lot for posting this, and sharing your movies on Youtube. We are expecting our first born in March and have been a bit worried about hiking with our son in Canada, next September. This really helps us in gaining more confidence. We’ve been confidently hiking together for 10 years, but going out there with a baby is something else. Groet, HMP


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