Mt. Bourgeau was idealistic74 and my 6th "hiking day" in the Rockies. The previous day we had done the Plain of Six Glaciers hike out of Lake Louise- nice views but VERY busy.
The trailhead for Mt. Bourgeau is just off the #1 highway west of Banff. There were two other cars at the parking lot when we arrived just after 9am. Another car with a couple girls pulled in after us, but they stuck around waiting for a friend. Their intention too was to summit Mt. Bourgeau. There are pit toilets at the parking lot, which were disgusting and almost unusable unless you have absolutely no sense of smell or a feces fetish.[xx(] For the most part, I was extremely impressed how well maintained everything was around Banff/Yoho/Lake Louise including trails, signage, visitor centres and washrooms - this shitter was the one exception.
Off we went, through the fenced wildlife gate at the trailhead to start the hike. The hike begins in the trees, then follows Bow Valley to Bourgeau Lake. The trail is a well maintained mixture of dirt paths, boardwalks, rocky trail and some scree.
Just before reaching Bourgeau Lake we met a couple heading back after reaching the lake. Shortly after that we ran into another couple who turned around after Harvey Lake. After Bourgeau Lake the trail climbs up to a couple small unnamed lakes and then passes Harvey Lake.
After Harvey Lake is a fairly steep, but non-technical hike to the summit. We would be the first people summiting that day. The winds from Harvey Lake up to the summit were steady and gusting near 100km/h! Fortunately the trail up avoids any steep drops and is easy to follow. Halfway to the summit looking back we saw more people heading up. We had lunch on the top behind the shelter of a small portable building at the summit. Shortly after arriving another hiker showed up... the friend of the girls we met at the parking lot. Turns out the girls got blisters and turned around at the lake.
Summit weather station and view of Banff
Bourgeau Lake from above
On the way back down we passed a half dozen or more people making the trek up to the summit - and getting blown around in the wind. An older gentleman said he figured the winds were at least 60mph.
I was very tempted to go for a swim in Harvey Lake on the way down, but I was cold enough from the high winds.
One of my favourite hikes so far in this area and f you need some good quick food in Banff I recommend the burgers at Barpa Bill's.[