The king of views

Can’t believe it was 10 years ago that we were admiring this view. Still one of my favourite backpacking trips and I think about returning every time I see yet another Instagram post from this area…

Our first backpacking trip to the Rockies; indeed our first hiking experience in the Rockies (though not our first sight of them – we rode the Rocky Mountaineer train from Calgary to Vancouver when we first immigrated to Canada). And what a way to start, with one of the highest-rated trips from the book “Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies” (one of my favourite guide books ever written).

We were fortunate with the weather for our first couple of days with clear blue skies (if chilly nights) which meant we had the rare treat of seeing the summit of Mt Robson (also sometimes referred to as the King of the Rockies) free of cloud. This photo was taken on our second day on a short hike up past Toboggan Falls to visit the cave. Just an incredible view. We sat and admired it for quite some time before heading back down to the Hargreaves Shelter for dinner.

For the full photographic experience, check out the full set on Flickr.

I really can’t believe it’s been a whole decade since we hiked this trail. Like so many of the beautiful places we’ve visited, I want to return to this area and explore it some more. There’s always next year…

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Mt Robson

The classic view of Mt Robson from the visitor centre.

This in indeed the classic tourist photo of Mt Robson, but it’s far from the best angle. (That honour goes to the view from Highway 16 heading south-east.) From here at the visitor centre, the mountain is diminished by the presence of the foreground trees and the surrounding mountains that are not as high, but much closer. However, when the light is right, it’s still a spectacular sight, and we were lucky enough to have another of rare day when the summit was clearly visible.

The Mountain of the Spiral Road

There’s a pullout on this stretch of Hwy 16 for a very good reason – Mt Robson simply towers above this part of the Fraser Valley

The first time we visited Mt Robson back in 2007, we were driving east along Highway 16 and rounded a bend to be faced by this stunning view of the mountain. Thankfully, there was a large, wide pullout that we could more or less drift into, and we parked up to get out and take in the scale of the scene before us. We made use of that pullout again a year later on a trip with family from the UK. But in 2011 when we were touring the Rockies with my parents, we were driving *west* along the highway, heading back to Vancouver at the end of our trip. We’d already stopped at the Mt Robson visitor centre for souvenirs, the view, and breakfast at the cafe, so Mum and Dad had seen the mountain, but I really wanted to give them the full Robson effect. Plus, I’d seen someone else’s version of this photo and wanted to recreate it for myself.

We drove west with Mt Robson filling the rear-view mirror, and then turned around at a point where the road was quiet. I pulled off onto the shoulder (still a bit too close to the truck traffic for comfort really) so we could admire the view, and Dad and I waited for a gap in the traffic to dash across the road to get this shot. Our timing was perfect as the traffic died down to almost nothing so we had this glorious empty road leading straight to the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies.

For a peak with the traditional name “the mountain of the spiral road”, the road leading to its base is about as un-spiral as you can get. It’s almost as if the Romans had got here first…