Cory Pass is a 13.0 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sawback, Alberta, Canada that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,168 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wildlife

scramble

hiking
28 days ago

Hiked up clockwise to the steep downhill rock band at kilometer 4. However the trail was amazingly dry all the way to this point, we decided to turn back due to the steep icy rocks and higher risk of slip and fall. It would have been nice if there was a chain installed at this point to increase safety of this beautiful trail.

1 month ago

Amazing trail, as everyone has said it's not easy. I took the clockwise route up to cory pass but the snow was so thick at edith pass I couldn't tell where the trail was. if you're going to attempt this hike in this season I would strongly recommend crampons and poles. the elevation gain is intense and coupled with snow and ice it makes for quite a treacherous climb. the scrambles in the snow were interesting but definitely manageable. again. crampons, wouldn't have been able to complete this hike without them. No bears but saw lots of tracks!!

1 month ago

Great hike. Started in clockwise direction stunning view of Banff and mountains. Pretty cool once you get to the saddle and hike through the snow for 2k. I'd recommend keeping on the left on the trails between km 1 and 4 as this is the most direct route but steeper. I measured the loop as 12.5 km in total for 5 hours of hiking. You'd want to be fairly fit taking this one on, as the elevation gain between km 1 and 4 is cruel but definitely worth it.

2 months ago

Great trail. Worth doing for those who like adventure. Like everyone said went went clockwise. Try and stay left if there are any forks during the trail for the couple kms. Challenging hike but well worth the grind up. Do not do if your scared of heights. 6hrs flat with some picture time. Worked out to 16kms. The 13kms must be a short cut we didn’t see

hiking
2 months ago

Got lost several times between mile 2 and 4; as has been said, it is difficult to differentiate between the trail and runoff paths. Around mile 3.9, after a scramble up some rocks, the trail appears to end at a 15’ rockface. You must go up this rockface (not as scary as it first seems). Then once on top, walk slightly right and you will see a hiker sign post. It appears to point right off the cliff. You must then scramble down the other side of the rocks. This is scary and I crabwalked partly down; there are small trees along the way to help you get down - treacherous. A large amount of the next part of the trail is traveling over scree on a path along the edge of the mountain. After a while you are used to it and just a couple of tense parts. You reach a high overlook (Corey Pass) and then must go down the backside of the mountain on a soft scree path which can be somewhat slippery; we found it best to lean backwards and dig in with your heals. Then the views ARE OUTSTANDING. You continue on thru larger scree with no issues and then thru bolders with the path marked by cairns. The last treacherous part is up a muddy, rocky, root filled runoff path with bushes to stabilize you. Then a long, boring walk back thru the forest with a couple of good views. Even tho I was freaked out at certain points, this was by far our best hike as it had the most outstanding views. Took us 7.5 hours with breaks and getting lost in the beginning.

2 months ago

Incredible hike well worth the effort! Be prepared for rapid weather changes, as it was clear at the base, raining/sleeting on the way to Cory Pass, snowing as we made the turn, and raining again on the way down. The trail was muddy in sections, but manageable. Also, there’s a small bit of climbing down rocks required on your way up to Cory Pass, but it’s doable if done slowly (would also have been helpful if it was dry). We measured about 20km total. The landscapes are absolutely amazing!

2 months ago

Cool hike. Tough in the beginning, but rewards you near the top. Liked the fact it was not heavily traveled.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is incredible! It is also no joke - lots of elevation gain. As said in previous reviews, go clockwise to Cory Pass first so the second half of the loop is easier. Views are amazing!

2 months ago

What an incredible hike, the views once you round the corner into the pass are absolutely stunning and otherworldly. We measured that it was in fact 17 km total, not 13. When starting out, go clockwise around the loop to have the easier part of the hike for the end of your journey :) Would 100% recommend this amazing hike and I would love to do it again!

hiking
2 months ago

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t do this trail.
At several points you have drops both sides.

I wish I knew it sooner...

Si vous avez le vertige, ne faites pas cette rando!
À plusieurs endroits il y a le vide des deux côtés !

J’aurai aimé le savoir avant...

hiking
2 months ago

Best hike my wife and I have ever done and also the hardest!!! Like everyone has said, the uphill is intense!! At one point we were leaning so far forward we were almost parallel to the mountain! Not only was the grade of the uphill intense but also the distance that you continually went upwards. There were points that leveled out but they were far inbetween and didn't last long. Not for the faint of heart!! Also we took the clockwise direction of the loop which most people suggested and found it much easier! Although easy is not a word to describe this hike. However, once you finally make it to the mountain pass you realize all of the pain getting there was well worth it. It is breath taking!!! After you walk through the pass you then continue the down hill in the forest which is shaded and not to steep. Overall the hike took us 7 hours to complete but we figure we could have done it in 6 had my foot not been injured during the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Spanish girl from Madrid, apologize my spelling. I consider myself an average medium hiker. I loved the trail. After 1km from the parking we arrived to the fork and we took left lane towards Cory pass, we read that going down it was better through the forest going clock wise and totally agree with it. The way up is one of toughest "ways up" I have ever done, but when you reach Cory pass, it is worth the effort! Stunning, the trail itself it is a bit technical, you need good hiking shoes as there are stones and until you get to Cory Pass there is a stoney exposed slope where you need to be careful.
A bit windy on the top, and watch out your way down to Edith pass as it is a bit slippery.
The way back is nice, after you cross Cory pass follow the path and some cairns till you get to a small muddy path towards a yellow sign to get into the forest that will lead you down all the way. Overall, it took us 6 hours including 30 mins lunch brake. Amazing views, diversity of sights, forest, mountains, stones... worth the effort and sweat of the way up. No bears on the way!!!

hiking
2 months ago

As seems to be the consensus, I would recommend going clockwise. There is some really great exposure on most of the northern half of the route. The first mile after the initial split is pretty ruthless if you go left, but definitely worth it. Did the Mount Edith addition and, aside from the final push being a little sketchy, its absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, attempted the route during the fires which made visibility pretty awful, but still had a great time and got some great views. Finished in just over 5 hours.

3 months ago

This trail is tough, but worth it. It took us 7 hours to complete, which is long for us. We lost most of our time on the climb up- which is steep!! Once you get through that, it’s much easier. The scrambles weren’t bad- just watch your footing. Overall, the hike was gorgeous- it seemed that each section of the trail offered something different. Bring an extra layer- the top of Cory Pass was windy and chilly. Poles will also help to navigate through the scree and the boulders.

hiking
3 months ago

This was easily one of the best, if not the best hike I've done in Canada thus far, intense but an awesome experience. Walked clockwise and recommend others to do so as the beginning is steep and would be a difficult descent, plus coming down the Edith pass section was a nice way to finish but watch out for bears in this section, lots of berries around the trail (I did not see any bears).

3 months ago

Superb hike, everything one could ask for with diversity on the trail. Ranging from the switch backs with shade on the way up the early steep to the longer climb over to Cory pass and down through the forest on the decent. Feels longer than 13k.
We would agree with the trail rating but worth doing for sure.

hiking
3 months ago

This is no joke!
Steep incline on the way up but breathtaking views at the top. The scree on the descent was fun and the forest trail was a welcome change.
This is a challenge for even a physically fit hiker but well worth the climb.

3 months ago

Did this with the family ages 15 - 53. Loved this hike, but it is no joke! The first 1/4 has steep inclines that will challenge even “fit” individuals. Poles are very helpful for the scree field coming down. The combo of the 4 mile up hill climb with the overall 8.1 length make this hike more than moderate by my book.

3 months ago

This was my favorite hike in Banff. I would recommend doing it with fresh legs at the beginning of a stay in Banff as it’s a bit tough. Views are rewarding and worth the fatigue. Some light scrambling and climbing required. It has everything...Forrest, boulders, views, etc. Very easily found trailhead as well which is always nice. I agree with other posters that you should definitely go up Cory and down Edith.

We started early and were done by 1:30pm and had massages afterwards at the Fairmont Springs...a great reward!

3 months ago

This trail was great. It's a good uphill but not too challenging. I would classify more as moderate to hard but I have found that too be true for many of the trail ratings. The views are spectacular. I wish we had time to summit Mt Edith or Mt Cory while we were there but the winds picked up when we got to the top of the pass. Well worth the trip. We brought bear spray but never saw any signs of bears. Bug spray is recommended though.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hiking experience on this trail! Although the description says that this trail is "only recommended for very experienced adventurers", I'm a novice hiker with this only being my third hike ever completed! I completed this with a friend in about 6 hours.

Highly recommended to complete this trail clockwise as there is very steep terrain that would definitely be difficult to go down during the descent. We got lost a couple of times but were able to figure out the continuation of the trail. In terms of wildlife, we saw some Bighorn Sheep close to the halfway point. We were really hoping to see some Black or Grizzly bears but didn't! The most enjoyable part of the hike was around the halfway point in the rocky area. It was really fun navigating through the rocks and then ending up in the forest for the last stretch of the trail at such a high elevation!

hiking
3 months ago

Fantastic trail. Can be very challenging if you do some "off trail" like we did to much higher. Nice view to take a lots of pics but not for beginner

3 months ago

This trail is rewarding and challenging. I enjoyed the hike up to the pass and than down the scree hill back in to the forest. Although, bringing bear spray would be wise. The forest section has lots of evidence that bears frequent the area.

hiking
3 months ago

Outstanding hike! The climb up was long but by no means overwhelming. When you reach the top the views are phenomenal. As everyone else has said, definitely do the clockwise route. It makes the end of the day much more enjoyable. Be sure to take bug spray for the way down as the woods are beautiful but swarming with mosquitos. Also bring poles if you have them. We met a couple of people who had turned around because they felt uncomfortable continuing without poles. They definitely help winding your way through the scree. All in all a great day!!

hiking
4 months ago

Fantastic Hike. We started around 7am and only ran into 2 other people. It was cloudy when we started, but after the first 2,000 feet or so we got above the clouds and the views were incredible. I'd say it was very challenging, but well worth it. Probably my favorite hike at Banff.

4 months ago

Fantastic trail! Beautiful views and varied terrain. Watch for bears - we saw some.

hiking
4 months ago

The views from this hike were exceptional. Definitely do the circuit clockwise (going up to Cory Pass first rather than Edith Pass) as Cory Pass is very steep and would be challenging to descend. The trail up to Cory Pass was a bit hard to follow at points and had a lot of side trails branching off so it was tough to tell what was the correct route. Once you reach the ridge it's easier to follow though. At the pass you can follow a trail up to Mt. Edith (which I did not but it looked like scrambling was required near the top). Descending into Gargoyle Valley after Cory Pass was beautiful and once you exit the valley it's pretty easy hiking through forest. Vastly different from the other side of Mt. Edith though with lots of different vegetation. Overall a physically challenging and sometimes hard to follow but very rewarding hike!

4 months ago

fantastic hike, take a left at the first Y and avoid climbing up scree.

4 months ago

I did this hike on June 25, 2018. I went up Cory Pass and came down Edith Pass. I'd recommend doing it this way. Going down Edith Pass from the top you are hiking on loose rock. I find it easier to slide down the steep loose rock slopes rather than trying to hike up them.
Hiking up Cory Pass was a lot of elevation gain at first. It did somewhat level out, but you were always gaining elevation. There is a bit of scrambling up and down part of the trail where it is mountain rock wall. However there are some signs when you start to feel lost at this scrambling section.
At the Pass I accidentally followed a trail to try and summit. Summiting was slow going and difficult. There is loose rock and dirt that easily slides out under your feet. I ended up turning around and sliding down the slope on my butt. I should have just gone up and over the Pass and started descending.
Going down from the Pass is a bit of a guessing game as to where the trail is. After you finish hiking along the gravel rock trail, you read a section with bigger rocks and some dirt. This area is easily navigated by following the cairns.
Once you reach the wooded area, the hike becomes fairly boring. You hike through woods with only a few breaks in the trees to see the mountains. There are mosquitoes in the forested hiking section, so be sure to bring bug spray. The trail goes by a creek a couple times and crosses the creek at one point. There are fallen trees everywhere, including across the trail. I had to step over or climb over more logs than I could count.

hiking
4 months ago

We did the hike on June 22 this is our third hike of the year and we did it in four hours and 20 minutes. After the one kilometre walk to the Y section we went left up the steep section 1st and came back down the mountain in the valley side. It was overcast and rained a little bit on our hike but all-around a great hike there is still a little bit of snow at the top, but nothing more then a foot.

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