Home > Scenery, Traveling > Marble Canyon, Ochre Paint Pots

Marble Canyon, Ochre Paint Pots


Our drive today took us from the Banff area to Radium Hot Springs.  We followed highway 93, which cuts through the mountains of Kootenay National Park.  Our first stop was at Marble Canyon.  This is an impressive display of the power of water,  as the river has cut a deep Canyon through the limestone.  The progression of the canyon over time has resulted in some very deep channels and unique configurations.

Our next stop was at the Paint Pots, where the Vermilion River runs through iron rich soil and gains a deep orange  yellow.   This ochre color was important to the native residents, as the color played an important role in local rituals.  In the 1890’s the ochre earth was mined and used as a base for colored paint.   Active mining ended in the mid 1930’s.  The area is still considered sacred by the First Nation people.

The water starts its journey high in the mountains

The river just before it enters the canyon

The first deep pool starts the erosion process. Note the shadows of the bridge we were standing on.

Down stream in the canyon

The water even made a natural bridge by undercutting

Finally, the water joins another river and heads further downstream.

You can see how the Vermillion river changes to bright orange/yellow which makes the colored soil

One of the pools or pots where the color was mined.  A clear creek feeds in giving it the greenish color

There still is a lot of color left on the grounds

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