Marble Canyon is located in the northern area of Kootenay National Park and is a very popular short hike that is easily accessible from the parking lot just off the highway. The hike is under 2 km return and although the trail itself isn’t long, you will find yourself spending a lot of time here, marveling at the canyon and the water below. The trail begins along the Vermilion River and then turns and takes you up beside Tokkum Creek.
At the entrance of the canyon there would have been a waterfall, which is now found much farther up the trail. Over the past 11,000 years erosion from a receding glacier and the rushing water from the creek has worn away at the canyon walls creating a very narrow gorge. The once one-kilometre thick glacier may be long gone, but the beauty it left behind is undeniable.
There are interpretive signs along the way, and bridges that will take you from one side of the canyon to the other. The railings and bridges, took four years to rebuild after the 2003 forest fire that destroyed so much of this area.
As you meander up the trails, crossing back and forth across the bridges to view the gorge below, you will be amazed at how quickly the depth increases and how narrow it becomes. Before long the creek is barely visible below you and the canyon becomes little more than a crack in the earth.
There’s more than just the canyon to photograph and enjoy. Take time to relax in the red chairs found near the end of the hike and soak up that mountain view. You’ll also notice the number of burnt trees and the new growth which has taken over the hillside.
At the end of the trail you will find the waterfall, which when you consider how far you’ve walked is quite a distance from where it was thousands of years ago.
This short hike was a highlight of our trip and we couldn’t have asked for better weather! The next day the clouds rolled in and it was time to pack up our tent and head back home.
Keep in mind that this trail can get quite busy so mornings or later in the evenings are better for parking. Also, you are in bear country and even though this is a popular hike, bears were spotted close to the pathway. Do not wander off the trail and stay in groups.