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The Narrows, Zion NP

Springdale, Utah

based on 60 reviews



9.73 miles

Route Type



Added by Jason Hatfield

Enjoy one of the most unique experiences in a National Park. Hike for miles in a river at the bottom of deep slot canyon surrounded by waterfalls, trees, natural springs, wildlife, beaches, and the incredible colors of the sandstone walls.

Hiking the narrows in Zion National Park is one of my favorite hikes and something I return for almost every year, I can still remember my first visit as a kid. There's no other place like it in the National Park system and the stunning beauty of its towering walls and vibrant river make it a top destination for visitors to the park. 

Depending on the water level most of this hike is partially submerged in the Virgin River making for a refreshing summer hike or cold fall adventure. If you're visiting in the colder months you'll need to pack or rent a drysuit, dry-pants, waders, or wetsuit; there are a couple outfitters in town. The hike is easy-intermediate level in low water and intermediate in high water, water shoes will make a big difference in traction and safety but many people also use old running shoes. Don't attempt this hike barefoot as it can be painful and potentially hazardous.  During spring melt, high rain, and flash flood potential, the hike is closed for public safety; do not ignore closures, people have died in the Narrows. You can check water levels in advance, the Narrows will close at 150 CFS or greater.

There are two options to hike the Narrows: 1. From the bottom entrance up and back, 10 miles round trip. Most hikers travel 3-4 miles to Wall Street as the last mile requires wading deep pools and boulder obstacles. The mandated turn-around point is an area of natural springs called Big Springs. No permit is required for this route and it contains the most interesting sections of the canyon.  2. From the top of the canyon down, 16 miles total in 1 day or split if backpacking. This route requires planning, a permit, campsites, and crossing obstacles and deep pools.

To reach the trail, start at the Temple of Sinawava area and follow the 1 mile river walk. Depending on the time of year you'll most likely have to take the free shuttle from the Visitor Center to the trailhead, as the park gets busier every year the weeks allowed for personal vehicle access are reduced. Use the bathrooms at the beginning of the TH as there are none during the hike and you must pack out all waste. At the end of the paved trail is a sitting area and beach where you can put your wet gear on and start hiking in the river. When you finished you can grab a shower in Springdale for $5 at Zion Outfitter.

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The Narrows, Zion NP Reviews

[1] If you have had recent knee (or other ankle/leg) surgery, perhaps give yourself an extra month prior to hiking this; or have confidence that your knees are up for this hike, as often the water is thigh-deep and you are hiking over bowling-ball sized rocks that can be and are slippery. If your knee is not fully recovered, it could be painful. Just saying. Trekking poles help, or a hiking staff helps also to tripod yourself. [2] Camp overnight, approx half-way through, or hike all 16 - 17 miles in a day, do-able if you are fast and strong.

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park, this HAS to be on your list of things to do if you are able. I almost didn't due to minor time constraints. Man would that have been a mistake! There are many outfitters that can provide you with the necessary pants to keep you dry and warm through the waters. Trans-Zion Trek, Narrows, and Angel's Landing - the epic triumverate of the Park.

Just did the bottom up portion of the Narrows last weekend. We had permit for the Top/Down but because of the road conditions we couldn't get to the trailhead. Call the ranger station to see what the road conditions are before you get to the park. We had some crazy afternoon thunderstorms roll in and flash flood warnings were a concern. We ended up catching the Zion Shuttle Bus to do the Bottom up portion of The Narrows. Most of the iconic sections of The Narrows are in the last few miles. We saw "Wall Street" which is a narrower section of the canyon and it was incredible. Go early in the morning (first bus is at 7am) to capture the morning light! Also highly recommend renting shoes from Zion Adventure Company in Springdale. The shoes are designed for this hike and are great for maneuvering over the wet rocks. The neoprene socks are surprising warm and cozy. All and all one of the most epic and truly inspiring hikes I've ever been on. Enjoy!

If you hike the 5 miles in to the waterfall along your way you will pass some really good jump spots probably about 5 or 6. They range from probably 8-20 feet. Nothing huge but they are still fun.

I did this hike in April and rented gear from a local outfitter and had a wonderful experience. There were plenty of other people around, but it didn't take away from the hike at all. This is definitely a bucket-list worthy adventure!

Greatest winter hike I've ever been on hands-down. The rocks are very slippery so definitely use a hiking stick or poles. I went down more than a few times, saving my precious camera like an Olympic athlete each and every time Just make sure you wear the proper gear and don't assume it's safe to remove your sweaty shirt while eating a warm meal to cool off when it's 40 degrees out. That's what I did and developed hypothermia. Ruined the night, but not the trip. Plus, if you go in the winter the Zion Lodge is cheap, you have car access to every trailhead, and you don't have to worry about the crowds. I imagine hiking in the summer or fall is an even better (and safer) experience. Oh...didn't see any virgins in the water, so not sure why the river is named that. Park Rangers couldn't come up with a suitable answer. Maybe the lodge should stop serving beer after a certain time...

Leave No Trace

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