Marble Canyon – Kootenay National Park, Canada

Author: Dan Brewer

Last Updated:

Marble Canyon is an excellent short hike in Kootenay National Park, just minutes away from Banff National Park. A shallow tropical sea over 500,000,000 years ago, today Marble Canyon is a deep, dramatic slot canyon. Visitors to Marble Canyon can experience the magnificence of this natural wonder via a network of short, interpretive walking trails.

Tokumm Creek flows into Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, Canada.

Quick Stats

Distance: 1.4 km loop
Elevation Gain: 42 m
Marble Canyon Trail Map

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Marble Canyon Highlights

As you leave the parking lot, stop at the trailhead to read the interpretive sign about the geological history of Marble Canyon. It’s a quick read, but having this extra layer of information will enhance your enjoyment of this stunning slot canyon.

Just beyond the interpretive sign, you are greeted by Tokumm Creek, which is the body of water which flows through Marble Canyon. Take a moment and admire the beauty of the milky green water as it flows towards the Pacific Ocean.

The milky green water of Tokumm Creek as it leaves Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park.

There’s a short spur trail which allows you to go to the creeks edge – go down and feel how icy the mountain stream is. This is especially fun for visitors to the Canadian Rockies to appreciate how cold the water is!

The beginning of the Marble Canyon hiking trail is a short set of stairs, which are required to get to the walking trail at the top of the canyon.

One of the fun things about visiting Marble Canyon is that the walking trails are on both sides of the canyon. There are 7 bridges which cross the canyon, each affording you a new and interesting view of the canyon below.

a 10-year old girl crosses a bridge over Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies.

We recommend that you cross each and every bridge across Marble Canyon. Every bridge offers new perspectives of the canyon, be it new rock formations, a waterfall, a natural rock bridge, fallen tree trunks, etc.

Towards the far end of Marble Canyon, look for a short trail into the forest of pine trees which surround the trails. You’ll be rewarded with a chance to sit on the famous red chairs by Parks Canada. These iconic red Adirondack chairs are strategically placed throughout Canada’s national parks, and each promises an epic view.

an 8-year old boy sits in the iconic Parks Canada red chairs at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park in BC, Canada.

In this instance, the Marble Canyon red chairs offer great views of Vermillion Peak (2,636 m). Notice the large patches of burned trees on vermillion peak from a recent forest fire.

At the end of Marble Canyon, there are two walkways down to viewpoints. One of them shows where a little creek starts flowing into the canyon via a small waterfall.

The other viewpoint on the other side of the bridge gives you an up-close view of the first major waterfall into the canyon. The power of the water is quite a sight to behold.

A waterfall in Tokumm Creek marks the beginning of Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, Canada.

Now that you’ve reached the far end of Marble Canyon, be sure to meander back to the trailhead by using the trails on the opposite side of the canyon.

Marble Canyon to Paint Pots Connector Trail

Marble Canyon and the Paint Pots are two of the top attractions within Kootenay National Park. They are so close together that it’s only a 4 minute drive between them. You could drive, but did you know there is a beautiful short, easy hike between Marble Canyon and the Paint Pots?

The 3 km long connector trail between Marble Canyon and the Paint Pots follows the path of the incredibly beautiful Tokumm Creek between the top Kootenay National Park attractions.

The Brewer kids from the Travel Banff Canada blog, walk alongside the Tokumm Creek in-between Marble Canyon and the Paint Pots.

Read More

Wondering why you should also visit the Paint Pots? Find out in our full post about the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park!

In addition to the amazing river views, you’ll get to walk through the remnants of an old forest fire. Many of the burned giant trees are still standing, but my favourite part of this hike is the new growth.

With all the doom and gloom over forest fires in the news these days, I always find it so uplifting to walk through a forest that is regenerating. The new growth spruce and pine trees along the connector trail are so dense and healthy, and the undergrowth is booming with plant life, with a remarkable concentration of fireweed. This hike would be amazing when they are all in bloom.

the two kids from the family walk from Marble Canyon to the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park.

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If you love canyon hikes, don’t miss out on the Johnston Canyon hike and the Sundance Canyon hike. They are two of the most beautiful hikes in Banff National Park!

Marble Canyon Hike Stats

How Long is the Marble Canyon Hike?

The round-trip distance of the Marble Canyon trail is roughly 1.4 km (depending on how many bridges and spur trails you explore).

How Hard is the Hike around Marble Canyon?

Due to the length and elevation gain, we rate the Marble Canyon hike as “easy”.

It’s a bit of a stretch to classify this as a true hike, as it’s more of an enjoyable interpretive walk around a very beautiful natural attraction. The only challenge is the initial set of stairs, but virtually everyone will be able to manage them.

Aside from the stairs, the Marble Canyon walking trail is very easy.

the Marble Canyon hiking trail crosses over the Tokumm Creek in Kootenay National Park, Canada.

How Long Does the Marble Canyon Walking Trail Take?

If you were to walk the complete trail without stopping to enjoy the views, it should take most people around 20 minutes. Of course, with views as spectacular as at Marble Canyon you’ll want to stop and savor the experience.

Marble Canyon Trail Map

The Marble Canyon hike is very easy to follow and is well marked. If you’d like to learn more about this trail, or would like to record the activity as part of your vacation memories, you can use the Marble Canyon Trail Map on the AllTrails app.

Dan Brewer, of the Travel Banff Canada blog, walks the Marble Canyon trail with his son.

I use AllTrails to track every single activity I enjoy around the Canadian Rockies and around the world, but unless you have this need, you won’t need it. The trail is so well marked and popular enough that you’ll have plenty of people to follow.

Enjoy map downloads and many more premium features with a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

Celine Brewer, owner of the Travel Banff Canada blog, stands on a bridge over the Tokumm Creek at Marble Canyon.

I love looking at topographic hiking maps when planning my hiking outings in Banff and area. If you are like me, I highly recommend Gem Trek hiking maps.

We own the entire set of these excellent Canadian Rockies hiking maps. They are exceptional 3D topographic maps which we love looking at for hiking inspiration.

The Marble Canyon trail map is found in the “Banff & Mount Assiniboine Map” map.

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Marble Canyon Trail Logistics

On-leash dogs are allowed on the Marble Canyon hiking trail, but mountain bikes are not. There are toilets in the parking lot, but none on the hiking trail.

You won’t get cell service for the entirety of your hike, so don’t count on it for your safety.

Guide Along App

Recommended App

This GPS activated Canadian Rockies Audio Driving Tour is the perfect companion to your Banff vacation. It’s both entertaining and educational and will greatly enhance any drive in Banff National Park.

Get GuideAlong

What to Bring to Marble Canyon

This is a very short and simple walking trail in Kootenay National Park, so you won’t need a long list of hiking gear. The weather can change quickly in the Canadian Rockies, so be sure to dress in layers, so you can easily add or remove clothing as needed. Good walking shoes are also a good idea.

Read More

You won’t need much of this for Marble Canyon, but if you intend to do some real hiking in the Rockies, be sure to check out our list of hiking essentials for Banff National Park.

A wonderful easy hike around a beautiful slot canyon, Marble Canyon is a Kootenay National Park attraction you won’t soon forget!

Attractions Near Marble Canyon

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Dan Brewer, a life-long Alberta resident, calls Canmore home along with his wife and two kids. He is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada, where he gets to share his passion for the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dan, along with his family, love being outdoors doing one of the many activities they enjoy in the mountains: hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

When he's not in Canmore enjoying one of his favourite local hikes, you can find him hoping on a plane to explore a new country with his family or working on one of their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.