Distance: 20 km
Elevation gain: 1050 mView mapDownload GPS track
After a snowed-out attempt one September several years ago, we finally found the time to attempt Harvey Pass again. While we hoped to have the energy to continue to the top of Mt. Bourgeau, bringing the days stats to 24 km and 1500 m, we chose instead to lounge around the pass.
The trail to Bourgeau Lake is remarkably well graded and the 750 m elevation gain over the 7.5 km to the lake is hardly noticed. It is up the entire way as well, so no regaining lost elevation and making the hike out equally fast. It's entirely in the trees, however, and with only two small views along the way it does seem a little long and wouldn't be worth it if you were only going to the lake.
After the lake the trail steepens dramatically and ascends a rocky slope. Make sure you stay to the right of the stream at this point. Although the main trail is obvious, there is another trail ascending on the other side of the stream that looked remarkably steep and unstable and a few seemed to be having difficulty on it.
Reaching the top of the rocky slope you are greeted by a beautiful alpine lake. While the presence of an actual pass seems unlikely at this point given the steep walls dominating the view, looping around the lake, ascending a grassy slope, and heading left (south) brings you to Harvey Pass. Centered in the middle of the pass is Harvey Lake, and looking south across the lake is Mt. Assiniboine and Sunshine Meadows. Reaching the other end the lake, south and west are larch-strewn meadows (and beyond that to the west, Healy Pass) as well as a view of the ascent route up Mt. Bourgeau. We didn't attempt the ascent, but it certainly looked like nothing more than a hike on stable rock.
All in all a great hike, but be prepared for the tedium of 16 km of hiking in trees. The views past Bourgeau Lake do adequately compensate for this, however, and an ascent of Mt. Bourgeau would make this hike as spectacular as it would be tiring.