Panorama from the Buller Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore
Panorama from the Buller Pass hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis near Canmore

Buller Pass hike

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien
View Photos
Dead forest on the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreApproaching the mountains on the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreBeautiful views from the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmorePath of the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreApproaching the pass on the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near CanmoreViews from the top of the Buller Pass Hike from Smith-Dorrien Trail in Kananaskis, near Canmore

Buller Pass hike

Distance: 9.1mi
Elevation: 2,247ft
Time: 4.5-6.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.4 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The hike to Buller Pass is one of the most spectacular in Canmore. It’s perfect for intermediate hikers, and despite the region still recovering from a forest fire, there are beautiful views and wildflowers throughout the trail. Once above treeline enjoy stunning views all the way to the pass!

Buller Pass Hike Map

Getting there

From the Canmore Nordic Centre, take the Smith-Dorrien Trail (Highway 742) 19.9mi all the way to the Buller Mountain Day Use Area. The parking lot is on the west side of the road.

I’ve done this 19 people have done this
I want to do this 66 want to do this route

About

When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Buller Pass
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Buller Pass

From the parking lot, head back across the Smith-Dorrien Trail. The hike starts out in a thick forest, gently climbing upwards towards the meadow, gradually increasing in grade as you approach. The climb feels surprisingly long, but the shade of the trees keeps the temperature milder. Additionally, along the way you’ll pass a waterfall, another great way to cool off during a hot summer hike.

Right before the pass, you’ll encounter a flat, two-kilometer meadow. As you approach the pass, there are a number of switchbacks leading up to it and the pass itself is quite steep as well, with a scree slope near the top. Pace yourself. When you reach the top, take a lunch as a reward for all your hard work.

As you hike, you’ll also notice that the forest morphs from thick and lush to burnt out, with numerous wildflowers. The terrain then turns to an alpine meadow, and finally to the scree scramble above the treeline. Additionally, the overall difficulty of the hike gets progressively greater as you approach the pass. However, the trail is excellently marked.

Those with energy can continue on to Ribbon Lake, Guinn’s Pass or to North Buller Pass.

Descend on the same route you took up.

Check out other amazing hikes in Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien:

Insider Hints

  • Try to spot the marmots and chipmunks in the meadow – they are too cute!

  • If you are feeling adventurous, continue another 2.5mi down the other side of the pass to Ribbon Lake. Just keep in mind that you will have to do the pass another time.

Comments

MartiniC 2 years ago

Buller Pass has quite steep ascends and descends, but it comes with excellent adventure and views along the way!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 15m Time Taken
hannahthorns 2 years ago

It was extremely windy when i went here but I enjoyed it a lot.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Coll A. 2 years ago

There's a waterfall where you can cool off during a hot summer hike. Some parts of the trail were steep. You can have lunch at the top.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
lindsaaay 2 years ago

Pretty strenuous and it keeps getting harder as you ascend. Definitely try and go while the wildflowers are out, it's so beautiful. We wanted to go further after the peak but it was already a longer day. Next time!

LyleM 2 years ago

Had a lot of fun with this trail. Was challenging but well planned out. Steep climbs then slow inclines to allow you to catch your breath. Great views.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Lambert Y. 2 years ago

Most of the spots are open and exposed. Not many trees and greeneries to see, but quite enjoyable.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Sean Kater 2 years ago

It's quite amazing, but it would be better if there are more trees along the way.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Linby SK. 2 years ago

Buller Pass is for the adventurous soul. I really enjoyed the hike. It's challenging but rewarding.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Elmer J. 2 years ago

Hope it recovers soon! So much potential in it.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Pristine Blue 2 years ago

most of the trail was exposed to elements so make sure to use sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
16 Comments Show all

Similar hikes to the Buller Pass hike

Pig’s Back Trail Map

Pig’s Back Trail

Difficulty:
6.3mi
2185ft
3.5-5h

The Pig’s Back is a route to a prominent feature along the Commonwealth Ridge Traverse. You will hike up Commonwealth…

Marl Lake Trail Map

Marl Lake Trail

Difficulty:
2mi
262ft
1h

The Marl Lake trail is a moderately trafficked trail near Lower Kananaskis Lake that is accessible for all abilities. It…

Tryst Lake Trail Map

Tryst Lake Trail

Difficulty:
4.5mi
1302ft
2.5-3.5h

The trail to Tryst Lake is used year-round by many different types of adventurers. The summer trail is easy to…