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Marble Valley Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Well built Canyon Creek trail leading to Marble Valley (B. Hope)
Historic Forest Service cabin in the Marble Valley (B. Hope)
White marble mountains west of the Marble Valley (B. Hope)
Map of the hike to Marble Valley (B. Hope)
  • Start point: Lovers Camp TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Lovers Camp Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop or Out-and-Back
  • Distance: 13 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,400 feet
  • High Point: 6,400 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No (except weekends in Summer)


Hike Description

This hike accesses Marble Valley and the Sky High Lakes from Lovers Camp and is the most popular trail in the Wilderness. The trail up Canyon Creek is about a 7 mile hike of moderate difficulty and, along with its connecting trails (including the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), offers dramatic scenery and excellent camping. Hikers can expect to share the trail with horse traffic. This trail passes beneath the essence of the Wilderness Area - Marble Mountain itself. A side trip to the Marble Rim is worth the effort. This is a great choice for a two or three day backpacking trip - a loop through Little Marble Valley, through Sky High Lakes, with a stop at Shadow Lake or day hikes to the ridges above the valley can be accomplished in three days with minimal effort. If you plan to backpack, get a free permit at the USFS ranger station in Fort Jones, CA.

The Canyon Creek trail leaves the Lovers Camp trailhead going west and, after 3.3 miles, comes to a trail junction. Going right (or straight ahead) here will take you, in 0.6 miles, to the Forest Service cabin in the Marble Valley and a junction with the PCT. Going left at the 3.3 mile junction will take you on a loop through the Sky High Lakes and then up to the PCT, which you can then follow north back to the cabin in Marble Valley. If you go to the cabin first, you can continue south on the PCT to a saddle at about 6250' for a view north of Marble Mountain and the Marble Rim. This is a good out-and-back option. Sadly, the area west of this saddle (toward Big Elk Lake) was ravaged by a forest fire in 2014 and is, at present, not a very attractive place to hike.

For a longer hike, go to the cabin and then south on the PCT past Shadow Lake (a worthwhile side trip or good place to camp) to a junction with the Red Rock Valley trail. Turning east (left) on that trail will return you to the Lovers Camp trailhead in about 5.2 miles, for a loop hike of about 16 miles.

NOTE: Cows may be present during the summer months.


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Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan (Third Edition, Hike #89)

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Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.