This is a lovely trail that gives you a taste of everything a mountain hike has to offer. The trail starts out in fairly thick forest, on a gentle elevation. As the trail progresses the slope increases into a fairly long uphill climb to the alpine meadow, passing a nice waterfall on the way. Once you reach the meadow, it is about a 2km fairly flat hike to the actual pass, in which you'll rise above the tree line. The pass itself is very steep, but the view the top is well worth the climb. When all is said and done, you'll have gained over 650m elevation from the parking lot.
To to top of the pass is approx. 6.5 kms one way. You can continue from the top of the pass, down the backside to Ribbon Lake, which is another 4km. This may be tough to complete on a day hike for a beginner, as you'll have to overcome the pass again on the way back. However, Ribbon Lake is home to a nice back country campground, and this hike offers a nice alternative to the "chains" of the Ribbon Creek trail.
The trail from the top of the pass to Ribbon Lake also intersects Guinn's Pass, which is a difficult 3km hike to Galatea Creek trail and Lillian Lake.
Take the Smith-Dorien/Spray trail from either Canmore or Peter Lougheed Provincial Park to Buller Mountain day use area. Park in the lot to the west of the road, and hike back across the road to the trailhead.
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Posted By: penskie
- Sun Jun 20 23:34:37 EDT 2010
UpsideBeautiful start to the trail, tall spruce trees and lots of moss everywhere. It was pretty good most of the way until just over half way up. Thats where the snow was and plenty of it, but if your willing and able to plow through its well worth the wet socks.
DownsideStill plenty of snow this time of year.
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Fri May 07 23:03:18 EDT 2010
UpsideDefinitley one of the best trails in all of Kananaskis Country. It provides the hiker with everything as it starts out in the forest relativley flat, and then it climbs up to the pass!
DownsideThere really isnt a downside to this one. The only downside that I could think of is that it is quite strenous up to the pass.
CommentThis is an outstanding hike that really rewards the hiker. It has a more remote feeling compared to trails accessed from Hwy. 40. It also provides alternate access to Ribbon Lake that does not require the use of the chains on the cliffs. And honestly, its my preferred way to access Ribbon Lake.
Posted By: macker
- Thu Jul 30 15:39:52 EDT 2009
UpsideAmazing views, rewarding hike
DownsideThe begging of the trail is a little tough to see from the Spray Lakes Trail
CommentExcellent hike, spectacular views, but be prepared for a workout.
Posted By: rthrbcurling
- Thu Jun 25 01:28:30 EDT 2009
CommentAbsolutely one of Kananaskis' BEST! Myself and 3 friends went up today as we got lucky as it just opened up yesterday due to a nice bear that was apparently feeding on a moose carcass by the lake. We climbed right to the peak, doing some back country trails as a lot of the trail was still snow covered. This is definitely a fairly demanding hike, as the first 8+ km is generally an uphill slope. There is a little bit of everything if you're looking for scenery, but I don't think anything can beat the view at the absolute peak of the mountain. One side you have a gorgeous view of the pass, and over a ridge you can see more mountains. On the other side you see the lake. It doesn't sound like much, but it is completely worth it when you get up there.
I highly recommend it to everyone!
Posted By: davidblacklaw
- Fri Aug 22 18:33:20 EDT 2008
UpsideGorgeous but varied scenery all the way up.
CommentStarting out through the pine forest, this hike is beautiful from the start, and just gets better. While the day was hot, the earlier part of the walk was shady, and the steady climb was not too onerous. The forest is open enough to allow sunlight through, and to catch glimpses of imposing mountains through an occasional clearing. Once we got clear of the forest, a small canyon marks the change in surroundings, as the valley walls come into view. Walk through a short section of sparser trees and a gorgeous Apline valley opens out before you. Lots of gophers and associated Grizzly scratchings to watch for. Out the other end of the valley and past a pretty little waterfall, you enter a 'bowl', the only way out of which is a steep climb up to Buller Pass. Watch your footing on the climb, but be sure to turn around to admire the view! You'll need your camera at the top of this climb, too. As you reach Buller Pass, you can see Ribbon Lake, surrounded by some impressive rock formations. If I had only one day to go hiking in Kananaskis, this is probably the one I would choose.
Posted By: MChaisson
- Mon Jun 23 13:26:38 EDT 2008
UpsideGood trail through the valley up to the pass....the pas was steep,snow covered and exhilirating. The views in this area are worth the sweat.
DownsideTrail conditions on Ribbon Lake side are less than stellar at this time of year.We turned back after witnessing a half dozen small avalanches throughout the day, but we did summit and it was well worth the effort!
CommentExperienced all 4 seasons in one day....a great day all around. Nothing like a hot cup of coffee down in the valley, watching the sun go down after a 20 minute snowstorm.
Posted By: hikingkelly
- Mon Jul 23 15:21:07 EDT 2007
UpsideGood trail, when the inclines came...they were tiring! Nice waterfall about an hour in. Passed the creek a few times, nice to cool down with and good for the dogs! Overall, I enjoyed the hike, next time I will have to do the summit.
CommentThis hike took my sister and I 3 hours to get up to the pass, we stopped right before you started your climb to the unnamed summit. Too hot and getting late in the day for us to continue. I am sure it would take other shorter than 3 hours, but with my asthma I took my time.
Posted By: MELdad
- Wed Nov 16 15:35:53 EST 2005
Upsidethis is a good trail - at least the early parts of the trail- for kids, lots of water and lush vegetation (and mushrooms), bridges etc.
Downsidethe pass is too steep for smaller kids
Commentbuller pond, near where you park for the trailhead, is great for early season ( nov-dec) ice skating as it is pretty shallow and protected and freezes over early. get there before the snow flys and either have a romantic skate with your babe or let the kids go wild. Christmas at Engadine Lodge is fantastic too!