Cornice Ridge is a great off-trail hike exploring ridges and peaks in Stagleap Park. The area has good landmarks and easy access. And once you get up to the ridge, the alpine wandering is spectacular!
Stagleap Provincial Park has great access – parking is at the summit of Kootenay Pass by Bridal Lake. This is popular backcountry skiing area in winter, but the summer hiking is just as worthwhile.
Up Cornice Ridge
A trail begins to the left of the ski hut. Follow it and begin to climb up to Cornice Ridge. It’s about 2.1km and +329m to the top of the first peak and you’ll pass an avalanche control station on the way up.
At the top of the peak, the views open up all around! Looking ahead, you can see Cornice Ridge stretching away into the distance. It’s easy to follow the ridge line and there is even a faint trail leading the way.
Walking the Line
Following Cornice Ridge involves a bit of elevation gain/loss, but it’s worthwhile. There are panoramic views all around!
As you near the end of the ridge at 3.5km, the rocks grow to massive white boulders popping with trees. Very scenic.
Onwards to Wolf Peak? Or… not
The original plan was to descend Cornice Ridge and follow a lower ridge over to Wolf Peak. After a steep decent, we crossed a hydro line and began to edge closer to Wolf. However, looking ahead at the route, we noticed movement on the slopes. A bear! And then not long after… a second bear! A grizzly wandering across our intended path.
A decision was made to turn back, rather than cross paths with a foraging grizz. We took a different route back to Cornice, following the hydro road and then turning up towards a middle peak. This was a harder climb, with some scrambling involved, but very fulfilling.
Our wandering route is below, with the bears marked too!