When I'm in a new area I like to explore the popular "classical" destinations, but also look off the beaten path for attractions nearby that might also be worth a visit. When researching the trip, I discovered that directly adjacent to Jasper National Park was a small provincial park in British Columbia devoted to the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson. We set off on a day trip to the park, including a short hike to Kinney Lake that afforded lots of distant mountain views and close-ups of flora and fauna.
1Mist on Moose Lake Moose Lake is a long, narrow body of water encountered about two-thirds of the way from Jasper to the Mount Robson Provincial Park Visitor Centre. The Yellowhead Highway runs along its northeastern shore. Unfortunately, we didn't see any moose. :)
2The Reluctant King With a summit height of nearly 13,000 feet, Mt. Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It is also the most prominent mountain in the entire North American Rocky Mountain range (measured as the difference between the peak and the surrounding lower elevations).
Possibly named after trapper Colin Robertson, the mountain is called the King of the Canadian Rockies both for its status as tallest mountain, as well as its impressive bulk, imposing sheer cliffs and massive glaciers. It is readily visible from the meadow near the Mount Robson Provincial Park Visitor Centre -- at least, when it is visible. :) On a gloomy day like this, Mt. Robson can stay shrouded even when the clouds break up in surrounding areas, and it appeared this was likely the most we'd see of the mountain.
3Robson Daisies Daises (along with common vetch) carpet the meadow between Mount Robson and the visitor center for the park that bears its name.
4Fireweed near the Robson River The start of the famous Berg Lake Trail is near the swift-flowing Robson River. Some cooperative fireweed flowers provided a splash of color for me here.
5Tiger Fire Even more cooperative than conveniently-placed fireweed -- fireweed with a friendly tiger swallowtail! These striking insects seem to be common all over the mid-latitudes of North America: we have them in abundance in my home state of Vermont as well, many thousands of miles from where this image was taken.
6Raindrop Symmetry Mount Robson National Park is adjacent to the Continental Divide, and its tall peaks flush out a lot of moisture blowing in from Pacific Ocean storms. The result is what is almost like a tropical rain forest -- at least in the summer, anyway.
Interestingly, though Mt. Robson is the tallest peak in the Rockies, its summit is not on the Divide, but rather just south of it.
7Kinney Lake, Whitehorn Peak and Mount Robson Kinney Lake is a beautiful glacial lake encountered a couple of miles up the Berg Lake Trail. (Berg Lake is the highlight of Mount Robson Provincial Park, and I'd have loved to hike all the way to it, but it is over 10 miles each way and we weren't equipped for back-country camping.) It is named for climber George Kinney, who tried unsuccessfully to climb Mount Robson in 1907 and 1908, then succeeded in 1909 -- or so he thought. It turned out that he had missed the summit by only 50 feet, and thus was denied credit for being the first to scale the tallest peak in the Rockies; I guess his GPS must have been malfunctioning that day. :)
Visible on the left in the background here is Whitehorn Mountain. To the right, part of the gigantic mass of Mt. Robson, its summit still hidden in the clouds extreme right.
8Mushroom Microlandscape Another intimate scene of the lush rainforest along the Berg Lake Trail.
9Whitehorn Mountain The steep slopes of Whitehorn Mountain, as viewed from the south shore of Kinney Lake. Note the large avalanche chutes where the trees have been wiped away.
10Red and Green Vibrant Indian paintbrush along the trailside.
11Share, Please As we stopped for a picnic lunch, this handsome fellow watched us intently from a rotting log nearby. (No, we didn't.)
12The Berg Lake Trail Brilliant greens and muted browns comprise much of the Berg Lake Trail -- at least, the part of it we traversed. A very pleasant hike.
13Whitehorn Glacier A close-up view of Whitehorn Glacier, which flows down between the summit of Whitehorn Mountain (right) and a secondary peak south of it (left). Even the bottom of the glacier is located far above Kinney Lake, at an altitude of roughly 7,000 feet.
14White Admiral It seemed to be butterfly day on our visit to Mount Robson Provincial Park. This little guy is called a White Admiral, presumably for the white wing bands, even though most of him obviously is not white.
15Rearguard Falls Technically this cascade is not located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, but in a separate provincial park named especially for it, just to the west. It is a relatively short drop on the mighty Fraser River, but with impressive waterflow, and is famous for being the end-point of the Chinook salmon migration up the Fraser, since most of the fish cannot cross the fall.
16The King's Glory We were pleasantly surprised when, after completing our hike to Kinney Lake and back, we returned to the Mount Robson Visitor Centre to find that the clouds had mostly cleared from Mt. Robson. This is a wide panorama taken from the meadow behind the centre; a few minutes after this, the whole mountain was buried in clouds again.
17Mount Robson A closer view of the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Note the small "cap cloud" right at the very summit.
18Fast-Moving Storm I stopped to take another couple of shots of Moose Lake on our way back to Jasper from Mount Robson. We ran out in front of a storm as we traveled east, and it was quite amazing to watch it move in on us as we paused for a few minutes at the lake.