Marble Canyon – Kootenay National Park – Hiking British Columbia

 

Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, BC provides a unique perspective of a slot canyon.

 

 

Winter hiking may require a frequent change of clothing.  The trunk of the car is filled with clothing, as well as emergency and avalanche gear, crampons, boots, poles, and snowshoes.

Exact requirements are never known as temperatures and snow conditions can fluctuate suddenly and dramatically in the mountains, particularly at higher altitudes.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada The signed marker at the Continental Divide and border between Alberta and British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon is 4 kilometers (2½ miles) south of the trail-head for Boom Lake, on the other side of Boom Mountain, and it requires crossing the Continental Divide into British Columbia.  Marble Canyon is past the trail-head for Stanley Glacier. 

The hike is very short, just under 2 kilometers, but the visual impact is amazing.  Marble Canyon is like an awesome work of art.  From the parking area the trail takes a short dip down to the crystal-clear, turquoise water at the junction of Vermilion River with Tokumm Creek.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Flags and Mountains at the Continental Divide

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mountain views near the Marble Canyon trail head

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mountain views from the Marble Canyon trailhead

 

Marble Canyon has been created over thousands of years by Tokumm Creek.  The walls of this slot canyon contain layers of white and gray marble coursing through predominantly gray limestone.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Tokumm Creek at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, British, Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Tokumm Creek near the confluence with Vermilion River in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Gaining elevation in the snow over Tokumm Creek and Marble Canyon

 

The short, interpretive trail ascends up, over, and back and forth across the canyon on 7 rustic bridges which, on this day, are heavily snowbound.  To step off the narrow, packed trail means post-holing an entire leg. 

At the far end of the canyon the 21 meter (69 ft) waterfall is totally frozen over and covered with snow.  This is a popular ice climb for the accomplished, somewhat masochistic ice climber.  Tokkum Pole WI 5 / 5+.

The photography is challenging.  Most of the slot canyon pictures are captured looking straight down.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mountain view from the top of Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Caution:  People have lost their lives here going off trail for a special photo at the canyon edge.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, on the retreat from the loop

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Gentle creek surrounded by snow sculptures.

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Tokumm Creek back near the trail-head

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Heavy weather forming up over Vermilion Valley Mountains

 

Marble Canyon - Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park at the end of Banff Avenue in Alberta, Canada

 

A stop in Banff creates an opportunity to soak for an hour in the hot springs prior to a brief stop on Banff Avenue which acquires a picture of Cascade Mountain in late afternoon light before heading home to Calgary.

 

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