It has been a wild couple of years across the globe, and last summer in B.C. was no exception. The heat dome that covered B.C. in late June 2021 caused higher than normal temperatures in the alpine, which triggered extensive snowmelt from the Robson Glacier in Mount Robson Provincial Park. As snowmelt was accelerating, a significant amount of rain fell on the evening of July 1 All of this extra water led to high stream flows in the Robson River watershed, resulting in major flooding on the Berg Lake Trail.
From severe trail erosion and picnic tables being completely submerged, to bridges covered in several feet of debris and two to three feet of standing water along the lower half of the trail, the world-renowned Berg Lake Trail was left in a precarious state.
The trail was immediately closed, and staff worked diligently to get the remaining 250 hikers off the trail. Many of the hikers were below Whitehorn Campground and were able to hike out themselves with some assistance. The remaining 27 visitors were isolated along the upper portions of the trail and were airlifted out on July 2. With the help of BC Wildfire Service staff, park operators, search and rescue, RCMP and colleagues from Jasper National Park, all hikers were safely removed from the trail.
With several bridges missing, much of the trail being in a precarious state, and the likelihood of the Robson River changing course, the entire trail will be closed throughout 2022 to complete additional assessments and begin repairs. For 2022, BC Parks’ focus will be repairing several bridges, updating the Kinney Lake Campground, and repairing the first 7 km of the trail (trailhead to Kinney Lake Campground). Due to the scale of damage, the brief construction window, and considering climate resiliency in rebuilding, BC Parks plans to reconstruct the trail over a staged, multi-year process.
Check the Mount Robson park page for updates as more info becomes available.