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The Narrows, Zion NP

Springdale, Utah

4.9/5
based on 60 reviews

Details

Distance

9.73 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

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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Features

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The Narrows, Zion NP Reviews

This is an AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL adventure that you NEED to do while in the park. Bring water shoes, and a walking stick. It is usually shaded. Be safe!

My wife and I did the bottom up day hike for about 5 hours and had an absolute blast. We rented shoes, neoprene socks and a walking stick for about $20 from Zion Adventure Co. and it really made the hike better, I'd strongly recommend renting those things from somewhere in Springdale. The whole hike is gorgeous, walking in the river among the canyon walls... Can't recommend this enough. Also, I've seen The Narrows listed as "strenuous" and "for experienced hikers" but that's not the case. I thought it was pretty straightforward, especially if the river is a bit lower; anywhere below 100 cfs is fine. Totally doable for families.

The narrows are gorgeous beyond words. It's a humbling experience and magical as the colors change throughout the day. Easy to do.

We did this hike in March and didn't think we would have enough time to squeeze it in. But we ended up finishing previous hikes faster than intended so we made our way over to the mouth of the narrows. We weren't expecting to be hiking it, so we did not rent the equipment. Within a couple of minutes my feet went from full feeling to numb. After a while I couldn't tell whether my feet were hockey pucks or still feet. However, the hike was absolutely gorgeous and well worth feeling like your feet have turned into ice cubes. I strongly suggest renting the equipment or you will be absolutely miserable.

Went to the Narrows in March and it was amazing!! We rented the Narrows wetsuit package for $45 at Zion Mountain School (wetsuit, neoprene socks, water shoes, walking stick) and it was perfect for the 45 degree water temps. Wore a fleece and down jacket over my wetsuit in the canyon, it's a lot colder in there than out in the park. Went up about 2 miles until the fork and took the right for the Orderville track which added about 2 miles round trip, so about 6 miles total. Definitely recommend!

For being relatively easy, this hike is so awesome! Must haves: good traction water shoes, neoprene socks, walking stick. The rocks are large, slippery and generally not visible below the water at all, so you have to feel out your footing almost every step. Gotta have that walking stick to help with stability! All in all, this hike was phenomenal. The only downside was how popular it is... Pretty thick crowds navigating the river with you but it thins out eventually. You won't get much peace and quiet on this hike unless you go a lot further in.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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