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Harvey Pass

Trailhead The Bourgeau Lake parking lot is 11.8 km west of Banff (W. exit) on the west side of the Trans-Canada Hwy.
Distance 9.7 km (6 mi.)
Elevation Gain 1,035 m (3,395')
Maximum Elevation 2,470 m (8,102')

Harvey Pass is one of the best day trips near the town of Banff. Despite an elevation gain that is imposing by Rockies standards, the pass is a reasonable objective for most hikers. About two-thirds of the climb is fairly evenly distributed over the first 7.5 km to Bourgeau Lake on an easy, well-maintained trail, so that the majority of the ascent and descent goes quickly. The emerald-coloured lake is an attractive body of water that lies in a small sub-alpine meadow on the northwest side of Mt. Bourgeau. But unless it is a perfect sunny day, or it is too early in the season to hike the higher elevations, Bourgeau Lake, by itself, is a mediocre destination. The scenery that justifies the effort is in the alpine amphitheatre that lies above and to the west of the lake.

The first part of the route is straightforward, and just before Bourgeau Lake there is a signed junction with the side trail to Harvey Pass. After a short walk across the meadows, the Harvey Pass trail begins a steep ascent up the Bourgeau Lake inlet stream. There are trails on both sides of the stream, but the one on the left (north) side gives slightly better footing in wet conditions. A small lake at the top of the headwall marks the entry into an attractive, tarn-studded meadow. From this point, there are plenty of options for off-trail rambling, but the trail heads to the left, passes a second tarn, and makes a short climb to Harvey Lake at the summit of Harvey Pass. The top of Mt. Bourgeau (2930 m) is 460 m higher and can be reached via an easy scramble on the west ridge. This map, based on a Parks Canada pdf brochure, shows the general location of the trail, north of Mt. Bourgeau, and this website has some good pictures. Additional photos are posted here.

This page was modified on Aug. 3, 2012