Panorama from Mount Bourgeau scramble in Banff National Park
Panorama from Mount Bourgeau scramble in Banff National Park

Mount Bourgeau Scramble

Banff National Park
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Mount Bourgeau Scramble

Distance: 13.9mi
Elevation: 4,731ft
Time: 7-10h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The scramble up Mount Bourgeau gives way to a commanding view of the Bow Valley near Banff. The trip takes you by scenic Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass en route to the summit, which means you’ll still have an amazing day even if you abort your summit bid.

Mount Bourgeau Scramble Map

Getting there

The Bourgeau parking lot is on south side of the Trans-Canada Highway, roughly 8.1mi west of Banff. There is a turnaround on the Trans-Canada for those who are heading to the route from Banff.

I’ve done this 11 people have done this
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About

When to do

July - September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Scarmbling Rating

Grade 1

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Mount Bourgeau
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Mount Bourgeau

Mt. Bourgeau is a popular and demanding route in the Canadian Rockies. Reaching the summit of Mt. Bourgeau is little more than a hike, though it is technically a Class I scramble. Getting to the top takes you on a 14.9mi round trip with over 4921ft of elevation gain. Energy and motivation are key, especially as a full 9.9mi of the hike is in the forest. This being said, the views in the alpine section more than make up for this, if forests aren’t your forte.

The signed trailhead is located to the west of Banff, just west of where the highway becomes divided by a small forest. Follow the highway signs, which will guide you to the correct location. Arrive early, as it seems to be on Banff Tourism’s list of places to send people and the small parking lot fills up quickly.

Initially the trail is wide, hard-packed, and slippery, with a 2297ft ascension at a gentle to moderate grade. At a good pace, 2 hours of hiking will take you the 4.7mi to Bourgeau Lake. From here the trail heads up through the obvious gap to the west and passes another lake. Next it heads to the left to crest Harvey Pass, 1.2mi further and 984ft higher than Bourgeau Lake. This is a very pretty viewpoint, and many come just for this view.

From the south end of the lake (locally known as Harvey Lake) the route up Mt. Bourgeau to the east is visible. Still, the summit is still over 1.2mi away and 1640ft higher, so should not be underestimated. A reasonably clear trail guides you all the way to the top.

Views from the summit are truly incredible, but be warned, weather this high up is typically windy and cold, even if it’s clement in the valley below. Make sure you bring layers, so you can spend some time up high in relative comfort.

Return the way you ascended.

Insider Hints

  • Keep your eyes open for marmot and ptarmigan between Bourgeau and Harvey Lakes.

  • This is a long day, and the hike to Bourgeau Lake is popular, so make sure you start early.

Comments

Lars Steinhoff 3 years ago

Great hike!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
9h 10m Time Taken
Otis Webster 3 years ago

This hike is long and rigorous. The climb was not easy, especially if you're wearing a big bag and a liter of water.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
alexjensen 3 years ago

What a day! Each part of this has something cool to see. Harvey Pass on the way is awesome. My poor girlfriend got a little nervous on the one hands-on part, but it was worth it. Little bit of everything in this one. Great hike.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Alex Lavinson 3 years ago

The trail was particularly steep, as we have expected, so we brought some trekking poles. They helped a lot, and they lessen the stress on our soles and back.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Rocco Ellysia 3 years ago

We were feeling adventurous, and we explored all the corners to unveil the natural beauty of the place. It was a nice experience.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Wicked T 3 years ago

It was really windy. I mean really windy. My face felt as if someone was throwing needles at it. I would recommend getting something to cover your face and a good windbreaker jacket.

8.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
8h 00m Time Taken
6 Comments

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