Marble Canyon – Kootenay National Park

Marble Canyon – Kootenay National Park

Marble Canyon - Gorgeous geology in Kootenay National ParkSometimes you need easy days in the Rockies! We were camping at Marble Canyon Campground, just opposite the actual Marble Canyon; So it would have been mad for us not to take a peek at this famous geological feature. Even if you are not staying nearby, Marble Canyon offers more of those crazy blue glacial waters as well as epic mountain views by a spectacular canyon. You should definitely visit here as you explore Kootenay National Park or Banff.

A quick walk in Marble Canyon will let you see the amazing blue waters, the spectacular gorge as well as a pretty waterfall. There are seven bridges that cross the canyon allowing you to peek down at the limestone. It’s great for Geology nerds like me.

 

Marble Canyon Map

Marble Canyon – The basics

Distance: 1.4 km
Elevation gain
: 50m
Time: 30 mins
What to bring:
This is super short. You only really need your camera.
Facilities:
There are loos in the car park.
Dogs: Yes (on a leash)
How hard is it? Easy-peasy. This is more like sightseeing than hiking.
Extra notes: There is no cell service in Kootenay National Park. Download maps and details before you drive into the National park!

Marble Canyon – Getting started

There is a small car park right next to the highway (Banff-Windermere Parkway.) You can’t really get lost as you just cross the Vermillion river then start walking up along the beautiful bright blue waters of Tokumm Creek.

So many bridges

The trail for Marble Canyon crosses the canyon multiple times on small bridges. This gives you some fantastic views of the long steep drops (40m+) where the gorge has been carved out of the limestone out by Tokumm Creek. As well as the seven bridges, you look down at a couple of natural stone bridges.

Top of the Canyon

The views are pretty impressive at the top. You can see the surrounding cliffs as well as some of the grey stumps from the giant forest fire that ravaged this area back in 2003. More bright green trees have now grown in around the destruction, so the area is starting to be beautiful again!

Waterfall at Marble Canyon

At the top of the pathway, there is a beautiful waterfall. Stand just above it and watch as the water drops into a huge hole in the rocks. The water disappears from view, but you can still hear it far below.

Here’s a quick video to give you the idea…

 

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There are great views above the Canyon, looking out to Vermillion Peak.

How busy is Marble Canyon

There were quite a lot of people around, but it still didn’t seem too busy once people are spread out along the trail. It’s very empty compared it to the crowds at the nearby Johnston Canyon. This was actually the busiest place we visited in Kootenay National Park, but it was still easy to keep social distance.

Heading back

I thought the views were even better on the way down. The natural bridges stand out more against the blue waters when you see them from this direction.

Fab picnic area

Right at the base of the Canyon there is a gate you can go through to access the shoreline. A few people had stopped here to admire the views and eat their lunch.

Keep walking to the Paint Pots

If you fancy stretching your legs a bit more, there is an easy trail that follows along the Vermilion River for 4km to the nearby Paint Pots. Or, you can pop back in your car and drive down the road to them. They are mineral pools with bright orange and green waters, in contrast to the blues you see in Marble Canyon. (I’ll write about those in my next post!)

After a few epic days hiking, it was really nice to wake up a bit late and do some sightseeing rather than a super long hike. Marble Canyon (and then the Paint Pots) was perfect for this kind of relaxing day. It would also make a great picturesque stop-off if you are driving through Kootenay national Park.

Kootenay National Park's Marble Canyon Marble Canyon - Gorgeous geology in Kootenay National Park Marble Canyon - Great place to stretch your legs near Banff

32 thoughts on “Marble Canyon – Kootenay National Park

  1. I am so envious of all of these stunning hikes you have available! Looks like I need to spend some serious time out west to explore these trails. The scenery is so gorgeous. I’m constantly amazed by the blue water.

    1. Yes! You need to get to the Rockies too Sarah! To be fair, we never get to spend long at these epic places in the Rockies but it is soo worth it each time we make it over there!

  2. WOW – beautiful. We have always wanted to check out places in the Canadian Rockies. The color of the stream – incredible. I love how you have the map on your post. Saving for another day!

    1. Thanks Ashlee! Those AllTrail maps are really helpful when you’re on the trails too (you just need to download them before you get to this part of the Rockies as there is no cell signal in Kootenay National Park)

  3. What a stunning hike! The scenery is spectacular and your photos are beautiful! I love how picturesque it looks like the blue waters! Thanks for the wonderful guide!

  4. This is so lovely, and I agree, the views on the way down are pretty impressive. Sort of a bonus reward for having done the hike. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Kootenay National Park before (and now it’s on the bucket list).

    1. Thanks Rhonda. Yeah Kootenay is right next to Banff national Park, but far less famous. You still get all the amazing views and hikes but there are fewer people around.

  5. Oh wow! This is such a beautiful spot and I cannot believe I have never been! I will be saving this post for suuuuuure for my next trip to the Rockies. Looks absolutely amazing.

  6. “This is more like sightseeing than hiking” – I loved that (*inserts laughing emoji*)

    As simple as this hike is, it would probably be one of the more difficult ones for me because I am so scared of bridges. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to visit, but all those bridges are daunting!

    Always, I always assumed you did some editing to your photos, but that video still has the water that clear, crystal-ly teal!! It’s amazing!

    1. Thank you!

      I do normally edit the photos a little (normally to crop/ adjust the skyline and make them pop) but I like to leave the colours as they are because they are pretty unbelievable. Those crazy colours are just caused by tiny bits of rock that has been ground up by the glaciers.

      p.s. The next post have even crazier colour waters – all orange and green!

  7. The waterfall pictures at Marble Canyon are amazing! What a gorgeous place! Def being added to my Canadian bucket list!

  8. This is absolutely gorgeous! I haven’t been to Canada yet but would love to go one day. Definitely need to put the Canadian Rockies on my bucket list!

  9. Wow, this place looks absolutely stunning. I’d love to have a picnic here as you suggested! Need to go to Canada once things are back to normal 🙂

    1. Yees that was such a nice spot. We ended up walking a little further along the trail for our picnic. There were sooo many pretty spots along the Vermilion River if you do visit.

    1. Heh! I always think the same thing about your gorgeous road trip posts Katherine! We’re both super lucky…we’ll just have to swap places once the vaccine is ready so we can hike in each others footsteps.

  10. Seriously, the Rockies are so beautiful!! The Paint Pots especially would probably be my favorite part haha. AND I just got a new backpacking backpack! IM READY!!!

    1. Yeeees! Plus you like the cute things, so I have a feeling you will be in love with the chonky squirrels, pikas and marmots that live near here!

    1. The grass is always greener isn’t it!? I would looooove to go hiking in the mountains or Korea. It’s really different, but those bright green volcanic mountains look stunning to me (plus you have the pretty temples and fantastic food after the walks…)

  11. Now that is a trail I would do. 🙂 Your photos of the trail are spectacular. Amazing what you can see on such a short and easy walk. The last waterfall we saw where we live was almost dried up. I am definitely adding Banff to my list.

  12. I loved Marble Canyon when I visited in the winter and have always wanted to return again during summer (or whenever when it’s not snowing). It’s definitely the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic and I didn’t even realize there were 7 bridges! Did you count all of them?

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