Upper Marble Canyon is the section of canyon located between the mouth of Dead Horse Canyon and the Goldbelt Spring area that contains a beautiful section of banded narrows and increasingly heavy portions of brush while heading up canyon. Difficulties encountered on the hike include needing high clearance (or better yet 4WD) to reach the ideal starting point for the hike and hiking a long distance of over five miles one-way to reach the beginning of the upper canyon. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the beginning of the upper canyon are 36° 34.981'N, 117° 22.354'W.
The hike through Upper Marble Canyon begins at the junction of Marble Canyon and Dead Horse Canyon, which is about five miles from the end of the Marble Canyon Road. Because the starting point for this hike is so far away from paved roads, very few people have ever visited the upper portion of Marble Canyon. Most people only make it as far as the 2nd Narrows of Lower Marble Canyon, while some continue on to the Main Side Canyon which is just beyond. And only a few keep going farther to visit the 3rd Narrows. Thus, it was with great excitement that Brandon, Kathy, and I had a chance to walk through Marble Canyon's 4th Narrows. These narrows are extremely beautiful with wavy white bands decorating the walls throughout. Along with this spectacular feature, there are also hanging gardens of plants adding to the charm. We did this hike as a side trip during our Cottonwood-Marble backpacking loop, and I have to say for me personally, visiting the 4th Narrows of Upper Marble Canyon was the highlight of the entire trip. Continuing beyond the narrows, we hiked to the first spring in Upper Marble Canyon where I was surprised to find flowing water. There was a good amount of water in this spring, about the same as what was flowing in Dead Horse Canyon. However, I have no idea as to whether or not this spring is a reliable source of water for backpackers. But the spring in Dead Horse Canyon seems to be reliable. In summary, I don't think that a hike through Marble Canyon is complete unless you pay a visit to the 4th Narrows, which are located about six miles away from the ideal parking area in Lower Marble Canyon. Our hike took place on February 22, 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