Features: Birding — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Be prepared to pack on some serious vertical... quickly! This is a pretty good trail run, but water can be limited (stream at the start). I would not recommend running back down the trail, take the Edith Pass
trail down, which is a gentler slope, though it has a fair amount of roots.
Cross the river (good place to filter and fill up on water). The trail is a slight descent for 1/2 mile, then you'll see the fork for Cory Pass (left) or Edith Pass
(Right). Stay left, then go up, up, up! You'll quickly pack on some serious vertical up this trail, which is why it is often linked to Edith Pass
for the return trip, to spare your knees with a longer but more gradual descent.
The Cory Pass trail itself is in very good condition, route finding is quite easy on this pass. About 1/2 way there is a seasonal runoff that may be flowing where you can fill a water bottle (filter it, of course). This is also a popular spot for sighting wildlife. Keep in mind while bear sightings are quite rare in Banff, it is definitely bear country so do your research on how you prepare yourself.
As you progress, you'll quickly be met with beautiful views over the surrounding land. You'll see the highway for a bit, but the tiny cars below will be a testament to the elevation you've gained! Don't worry, the run will taper off towards the top, yielding to the most beautiful views over Banff that few people are willing to earn! There is a definite reason this is often touted the most strenuous run in the park. In my opinion, also the most rewarding! Return the way you came, or continue straight ahead to link up to Edith Pass
Mostly meadow with some mixed forest sections mixed in.