The lower portion of Marble Canyon is widely regarded as one of the best canyons in Death Valley because it has spectacular scenery which includes a section of towering slot narrows made of marble walls. Difficulties encountered on the hike include needing high clearance (or better yet 4WD) to reach the ideal starting point for the hike and dealing with a basic bypass of a giant chockstone prior to the 2nd Narrows which should be easy for most hikers. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by visiting our very detailed Cottonwood-Marble Backpacking Loop page. GPS coordinates can also be found on that page.
Marble Canyon is well known to be one of the most famous canyons in Death Valley. However, it does not see a huge amount of visitation due to the fact that it is only accessible to those who have a HC (high clearance) vehicle, and sometimes only to those who have 4WD (if there has been recent flooding and washouts). But you will likely see other hikers in Marble Canyon when you go there. It just won't be overrun with tourists like Mosaic Canyon usually is. It is kind of hard to put into words what it feels like to walk through Marble Canyon. The place is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking from beginning to end. My favorite places within Lower Marble Canyon have to be the 2nd Narrows and 3rd Narrows. These narrows are very different from each other, as the 2nd Narrows feature high towering walls of marble rock and the 3rd Narrows have pretty white bands which color the walls. I've also heard that the Main Side Canyon in between these two sets of narrows is quite amazing, although I have not had the chance to explore it personally (as of 2015). This hiking report is put together from a different perspective than the view most people would have while hiking Marble Canyon. Our group was hiking down the canyon from the junction with Dead Horse Canyon, while most people would be hiking Marble Canyon starting at the bottom and going up. Thus, to look at things in the order in which you would probably see them, you would have to start at our last photograph and view them in reverse order. I'm not including a route map within this report since this canyon is fairly common knowledge and it is mostly family friendly, so it would be hard to get lost. But if you'd like to see a Google Earth route map, visit our Cottonwood-Marble Loop backpacking report. Our hike took place on February 23, 2009.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT