“Enjoy exhilarating views on one of Banff's most strenuous hikes.”
— Dave Mencel
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This hike is often touted as one of Banff's most strenuous. With 3300' gain in about 3 miles, it's easy to see why. Bring ample water, you'll cross a river upon starting and can filter there, but depending on the time of year may not encounter any water on the climb.
My favorite was going through the loose gravel descents - you can almost glissade down the pea-sized rocks, that eventually gives way to a larger boulder field. Some may find it a bit precarious.
Varied terrain ranges from open meadows to prairie, to partial exposures and finally ending in the best smelling pine forest I've ever been in!
Need to Know
Be sure to bring a lot of water. Resources may be limited on the ascent, but are generally ample on the descent.
Snow runoff at approx halfway up seems dependent on weather, may provide a filterable water source along the way.
Cory and Edith Passes are beautiful hikes often linked together.
A brief gentle descent lures you into a false sense of simplicity for the first 1/2 mile. Enjoy the warm up. It'll quickly break into a very steep ascent for most of the first 2/3 of the hike, breaking slightly towards the top. You'll start through light forest and mostly meadows on the way up, and upon entering the pass between the two mountains, you'll wind through smaller gravel and eventually larger stones as you descent. There is no scrambling, but be prepared for the loose terrain on the first portion of the descent. The views are absolutely stunning, so don't forget to stop and take it all in as you go.
The remainder of the descent is through dense forest and follows a river, so water is in ample supply. The forest is beautiful, but the views of Banff and the surrounding area are limited. Expect to see fewer people on the way down than on the way up.