• 50 Walks Banff

    50 Walks and Hikes in Banff National Park

    By : Brian Patton and Bart Robinson

    1st edition

    ISBN: 9780978237530

    160 pages
    6.5 x 4.5 inches
    April 2008


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    Bourgeau Lake

    LENGTH: 7.5 km (4.6 mi) one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 725 m (2,380 ft)
    WALKING TIME: 2.5 to 3 hours one way
    STARTING POINT: Trans-Canada Hwy., 3 km (1.9 mi) west of the Sunshine Village interchange
    ORIGIN OF THE NAME: Eugene Bourgeau, a botanist on the 1858 Palliser Expedition

    Of the numerous high elevation lakes along the Bow Valley, Bourgeau is the nearest to the town of Banff and has been a favoured hiking destination for many decades. Surrounded by lush subalpine meadows and cradled between the highest and most spectacular mountains of the Massive Range, its popularity is well deserved.

    Bourgeau Lake
    Bourgeau Lake is one of the most beautiful hiking destinations close to the town of Banff.

    The trail climbs through dense forest above the Wolverine Creek Valley and doesn’t achieve open views until reaching km 2.4 (mi 1.5), where you can look back over your shoulder to the Bow Valley and the serrated summits of the Sawback Range. After a steady climb along slopes well above the valley floor, the trail crosses Wolverine Creek beneath a series of waterfalls at km 5.5 (mi 3.4). This is a good spot for a break before tackling the steep switchbacks that complete the climb to the Bourgeau Lake amphitheatre. At the top of this 1.3-kilometre (0.8-mile) grade, the trail enters a long meadow—a lush, well-watered area filled with an array of colourful wildflowers through late July and August. At the lake’s rocky shore, hikers are welcomed by pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, chipmunks, and white-tailed ptarmigan.

    OPTIONS: Beyond the lake, a steep trail leads to HARVEY PASS, 2.2 kilometres (1.4 miles) and 310 vertical metres (1,020 feet) from Bourgeau. The signposted trail traverses the forested north shore of Bourgeau Lake, then climbs steeply across an open, rocky slope, where a stream drops from between Mounts Bourgeau and Brett. After skirting a shallow, rockbound lake, it emerges into an alpine bowl, where you turn south (left) and climb to a tiny lake in Harvey Pass. From here, views extend into the distance as far as Mount Assiniboine.

    This text is from 50 Walks and Hikes in Banff National Park.