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