Between Marmot Basin Road and Troll Falls Trail, Marmot Creek skips and plunges its way down the hillside to its ultimate drop-off at Troll Falls. It’s a gorgeous piece of water to be savoured by all waterfall lovers, at its best during snowmelt in May or after a week’s rain in June.
The trail running down its northeast bank in pine forest is reserved for the more adventurous: it ’s sometimes steep and has rougher variations that are easy to stray onto when hiking the trail in the downward direction. This is my preferred direction of travel, but for a first visit the main trail is much easier to locate going up. Combine with Troll Falls Trail, Skogan Pass Trail, and Ruthies to make a 5.4 km loop back to Stoney Trail parking lot.
Hike to Troll Falls to check on water levels. Then backtrack a short way and cross Marmot Creek on a log. The crossing place is identified by flagging on the far bank. Straightaway the trail climbs very steeply up left, levelling off above Troll Falls which can’t be seen without risking life and limb. Right from the onset you’ll be exploring side trails to “Lower Canyon Falls” and “Marmot Falls” (a Troll Falls lookalike and as high). Above is a calmer piece of water until you hit “Boulder Falls” where the river, dashing itself against a large boulder is forced to make a right-angle turn. Next up is a series of picturesque falls culminating in “Double Falls” which is hard to photograph unless you stand in the middle of the creek!
When you arrive at a sharp bend in the creek to the right, don’t cross it via the crude branch bridge. Rather stay on the good trail that heads way out right to a T-junction on a grassy hillside. Turn left. (Right leads to a bluff with a view of the Kananaskis Valley.)
The trail climbs through increasingly stoney pine forest back to the creek, here encased in a deep canyon featured in the long-running German TV series Forsthaus Falkenau (Ranger Station Falconfield). In 2006 an Indiana Jones bridge with missing slats was slung across the narrowest part and for a while provided hikers with a dizzying view of “Upper Canyon Falls.”
Hike carefully along the canyon edge to its end where the valley opens out a bit at a Water Survey of Canada groundwater site measuring water flow. A little upstream of this cross a metal bridge and climb the bank to a grassy track taking you out to Marmot Basin Road (alias Skogan Pass Trail).
To return, turn left on the road, then left again down Skogan Pass ski trail. At a 4-way junctiion, turn left and descend Ruthies to the 4-way junction near Troll Falls trail.