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Bourgeau Lake / Harvey Lake / Harvey Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 20.4km
  • 1,075m
  • 6-8h
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This hike to Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass is a sure-fire way to induce happiness. Though the numbers make this trail seem big, the feeling of being on a true adventure makes the day go easily and quickly. Definitely one of the best hikes near Banff!

Getting there

The Bourgeau parking lot is on south side of the Trans-Canada Highway, roughly 13km west of Banff. There is a turnaround on the Trans-Canada for those who are heading to the route from Banff.

elevation

Total Gain: 1,075m

About

Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Good
Toilets Trailhead
Family Friendly No
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do June through October

 Detailed Description

Start in the Bourgeau Lake parking lot and take the only path out of the parking lot, outwards into the forest. You will quickly replace the buzz of the Trans-Canada Highway with the songs of birds chattering and the delightful addition of a fresh forest smell. Spend about 7.5km in the forest trekking up to Bourgeau Lake. During this time, you will be near Wolverine Creek, with occasional crossings. Enjoy the tranquility as you gain 710 meters of elevation.

While for many people Bourgeau Lake is a trip in itself, the real magic is the journey up to Harvey Lake and Harvey Pass. After enjoying a break at the head of the lake, pass to the right of the water and follow the rougher path upwards, enjoying the wonderful views down upon the lake and the enormous cliff face of Mount Bourgeau.

As you rise, keep your eyes open for marmots, one particular stretch along here we often refer to as “Marmot Town”, having seen so many on previous trips.

Quickly, after 2km and 300m you reach Harvey Lake. Don’t stop here – although it’s lovely. Continue on the left of the lake and make it to the pass, another 500m. We recommend coming over the pass to get out of the wind. From here you have views to Mount Assiniboine as well as down over Healy Creek to Sunshine Meadows. For those who are adventurous, you can continue up to the top of Mount Bourgeau, roughly 2.7km and 400 meters higher.

Insider Hints

  • Keep your eyes open for marmot and ptarmigan between Bourgeau and Harvey Lakes.
  • If you’ve got the energy, you can scramble to the top of Mount Bourgeau.
  • There is faint cellphone signal at Harvey Pass, in case you wish to share the beauty on Instagram or Facebook.