Trailhead: Located on the west side of the Trans-Canada highway 1.5kms past the Sunshine Village Ski Resort exit, approximately 8kms west of Banff. You can access the parking lot traveling either direction on the Trans Canada highway. Banff National Park.
Description: This hike is considered moderate to difficult depending on how far you go. Bourgeau Lake is 14.8kms return with an elevation gain of 725m, allow 4 to 5 hours. From Bourgeau Lake you can continue on to Harvey Pass and then the summit of Mount Bourgeau. Harvey Pass is another 300m of elevation and 5kms return to lake, (Total of 19.8kms return, 1025m elevation gain. 6-7 hours return trip).
Harvey Pass is a must do. Views of the meadows, Harvey Lake and the Southwest mountain ranges are absolutely stunning. Mount Assiniboine can be seen directly to the south. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating for photo’s of Mount Assiniboine. The summit of Mount Bourgeau is another 451m plus 3km return to Harvey Pass (Total of 22.8kms return, 1476m elevation gain).
For the summit attempt, expect a long day 8 -10 hours return trip. From the parking lot walk through the wildlife gate making sure it closes behind you. Keep on the main trail as it slowly climbs the valley ahead of you. Wolverine Creek will come in and out of view several times as you cross over it.
After a somewhat boring 1.5 hours, cliff faces on Mount Bourgeau tower up on your left. In a short distant you’ll reach the outlet stream Wolverine Creek and surrounding meadows. Once you arrive at the lake you’ll see a waterfall at the far end. Harvey Pass is located near the top of this waterfall. If you have more energy locate the Harvey Pass trail sign near the start of Bourgeau Lake and keep on going. In a short distance you’ll start to climb above Bourgeau Lake. Keep your eyes out for Big Horn Sheep traversing the surrounding scree slopes.
Stay on the trail as it climbs higher past an unnamed lake. Views behind you will recharge your enthusiasm. Before you know it you’ll arrive at a second unnamed lake surrounded by a beautiful meadow. Harvey Pass is a short distance from here to the south. Stay on the trail as it crosses a few small stream braids then gently climbs the remainder of the slope to Harvey Lake and Harvey Pass.
Just before you arrive at Harvey Lake to your left you’ll see the top of the ridge and the waterfall you viewed from the start of Bourgeau Lake below. Keep going a short distance past Harvey Lake to the saddle of Harvey Pass. WOW, from here the views pop into site. Mount Assiniboine on the south Horizon, Sunshine Ski Village and Meadows below. The distant meadows seem to go for ever. You’ll appreciate a good pair of binoculars here. Mount Bourgeau is on your left and Mount Brett is on your right. This is a good spot to have your lunch.
From Harvey pass you can keep heading up towards the summit of Mount Bourgeau. The going is relatively easy but feels like a long gruel as you pass 4 or 5 false summits. Avoid this attempt if there is any snow on the slopes ahead of you. Once you reach the summit you may be disappointed to find a large industrial looking repeater station that blocks your view. Bourgeau Lake and Mount Bourgeau were named after Eugene Bourgeau a botanist. Bourgeau Lake offers excellent Cutthroat Trout fishing, you’ll need a fishing license to try your luck, check regulations for closures. The pictures below were taken in Mid July. The trail is usually snow free by late June to mid July. This Is Bear Country.