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Photo: Looking west to Mount Bourgeau from the Trans-Canada Highway

Mount Bourgeau

  • 2930 m (9613ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
  • Hiking and Trails
51.1319N -115.776W
Located in the Bow River Valley north of Healy Creek

Range: Massive
Province: Alberta
Park: Banff
Headwater: Bow
Major Valley: Bow
Visible from Highway: 1
Ascent Date: 1890
Ascent Party: J.J. McArthur
Ascent Guide: Tom Wilson
Year Named: 1860
Named by: James Hector
Named for: Bourgeau, Eugene (Eugene Bourgeau was the botanist with the Palliser Expedition.)
Popular Hike: Egypt Lakes

The view to the west from near Banff Townsite (below Cascade MountainJames Hector in his journal entry for 17 August, 1858: "Looking up the valley to the W.S.W. we had before us a truncated mountain, evidently composed of massive horizontal strata, and which I named Mount Bourgeau." Eugene Bourgeau was the botanist with the Palliser expedition.

Bourgeau's career began with his love of flowers in the French Alps where he tended his father's herds. Sir William Hooker, the first Director of Kew Gardens in London, (see Mount Hooker) had received many specimens from distant lands through Bourgeau's work. He referred to Bourgeau as a "prince of botanical collectors," and recommended him to those who were organizing the expedition. Bourgeau was not a disappointment. During his time with the Expedition he collected specimens from eight hundred and nineteen species as well as a great quantity of seeds.

When Bourgeau left the expedition in 1859 to fulfill a previous commitment to do botanical work in London and in the Caucasus in Europe, he had obviously made an impression with Palliser and other members of the expedition. Palliser wrote that Bourgeau was, "always hard at his work in which his whole soul seems engrossed, and no matter what his fatigues or privations may be, his botanical specimens are always his first care. We were very sorry indeed to lose our friend, who was a great favourite with us all. In addition to his acquirements as a botanist, he united the most sociable, jovial disposition, ever ready not only to do his own work, but assist anyone else who asked him."

The Bow Valley turns abruptly to the northwest at the foot of Mount Bourgeau and it is at this point that more snow begins to accumulate in the Bow Valley during the winter. During the summer months, the summit cliffs of Bourgeau rising behind a lower feature, remain highlighted with the previous winter's snow and and often contrasted with brilliant blue skies.

Mount Bourgeau is part of the Massive Range that includes Pilot Mountain, Mount Brett, Mount Bourgeau, and Massive Mountain. The range lies to the southwest of the Bow Valley, between Redearth Creek to the north and Healy Creek to the south. Lost Horse Creek lies to the west of the range.

For a panoramic view from the summit of Mount Bourgeau visit

Photo: Looking northeast to Mount Bourgeau from Monarch Ramparts

Morning sun on Mount Bourgeau from Vermilion Lakes

Mount Bourgeau from the Bow Valley Parkway

Looking west to Mount Bourgeau from the Trans-Canada Highway

Looking west to the summit block of Mount Bourgeau from the Trans-Canada Highway

Looking west to Mount Bourgeau from Tunnel Mountain Drive near Banff Townsite

Looking west-southwest across Vermilion Lakes to Mount Bourgeau

Looking west-southwest to Mount Bourgeau from Tunnel Mountain

Looking north-northeast to Mount Bourgeau (courtesy Brenda Everitt)