A Marble-ous Canyon

Marble Canyon to Cottonwood Canyon Road
(5 miles, +0/-1,600 feet).

The wind last night was eerie.  We could hear it roaring as it snaked its way through the narrow channels up canyon. But as it approached us where the canyon widened, the sound lessened.  By the time the gust hit our tents it was hardly a gust at all.

In my worry about the wind, I closed the storm doors on my tent and went to sleep.  But Quercus chose to lie half in and half out of his own tent so he could gaze at the extremely bright stars that filled the sky.

A cotton candy sunrise greeted us in the morning as we packed up for our final few miles through Marble Canyon.


The morning light brought out the rosy tones of the canyon walls and glowed on the plants struggling to survive in this harsh environment.

A rosy glow
A pinkish hue
A bonsai-like plant in the middle of the wash
A cactus cluster clinging to a cliff

The sun peeked above the ridgeline as we made our way into the most impressive marble formations of the canyon.

Morning light
Quercus rounds a marble bend
Huge striations line either side of the canyon where it widens
More marble
Even more marble

Near the end of the narrow part of the canyon the trail heads high up on a traverse on the northern side.  We didn’t understand what was going on until we saw that the canyon was blocked by an elephant-sized smooth boulder.

That would be tough to climb around

It was nice to climb a little because the view down canyon was really pretty.


From there the canyon really widened up as we neared the end of our trip at the intersection of Marble and Cottonwood Canyons.

Heading out
We can see for miles and miles
The End

This was a great trip!  If I were to come back, though, I think I would just go straight up Marble Canyon to Upper Marble Canyon to Goldbelt Spring, then up to Hunter Spring, back down to Upper Cottonwood Canyon, and then back out Marble Canyon again.  On this trip we might have needed microspikes for that alternative loop since it looked like there were a few inches of snow on the ground above 6,000 feet.

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