Hike the Zion Subway - Bottom Up

The Subway, Zion National Park - Search Nearby - Added by Lindsay Daniels

See Zion's famous Subway feature and cool off by walking in the river most of this hike and swim in the pools that are above the Subway. This is the non-technical part of the Subway. Make sure you have a permit.

Start your day early at the Left Fork Trailhead on Kolob Terrace Road from the town of Virgin outside Zion National Park. This 6.5 mile out and back hike will take you to one of the most beautiful features in Zion National Park: The Subway. You'll start with a steep descent into the canyon. This will also be your exit, so make sure to orient yourself once you're in the canyon and remember where you came from. It can be easy to miss on the way out!

Don't be afraid to get wet! This hike is meant to be through the river, so make sure to wear the appropriate clothing/footwear. Along the way, wander a bit off trail to see dinosaur tracks (37°17.986 N, 113°04.207 W). Right before you reach the Subway, you'll reach beautiful cascades where many photographers stop to take photos. A little further up the trail is where a band of water shoots through slick sandstone. Just around the corner from the slots of rushing water is the Subway. Be careful in this area as it is really slippery! Meander your way up above the subway and look down into the curved canyon walls. When the sun is high, the light bounces off these walls and creates an amazing orange glow. Go further up the canyon to reach a waterfall and some deeper pools to take a dip.

After you've cooled off and enjoyed the beauty of the Subway, head back the way you came.

Be aware of flash floods possibilities and talk to park rangers about any potential dangers.

To obtain a permit, go to Zion National Park's website and apply for one. You'll have to pick up the permit in the park the day before your hike, so plan ahead.

Remember, this is an all day hike, so start early!

Distance

6.5 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Swimming, Hiking

River
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

Nearby Lodging

From $199/night

Under Canvas Zion

Virgin, Utah

St. George / Hurricane KOA

Hurricane, Utah

Cedar City KOA

Cedar City, Utah

Panguitch KOA

Panguitch, Utah

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

One of the most memorable hikes I've ever done. I went during February and was the only person on the trail- though I wasn't prepared for how cold the water would be. I would recommend getting some Neoprene socks or dry pants if you're thinking about doing it during a colder season.

Great hike, but be prepared (and have good shoes)

When I did this hike with my Dad, we rented neoprene shoes/socks from a local outfitter - which was a great idea, however, one of the two must not have been fitting properly for either of us. After our week long trip in Utah we had several bruised toenails since there is a lot of downward hiking and scrambling involved with this hike. I think that's the one thing that made it difficult for us - our feet were killing us on the way back (from our feet being jammed into the end of the shoes) and we had spent so long photographing that we just barely made it out before sunset (and we did get an early start!). The exploration during the hike and around the Subway was well worth it, but we would have wished we'd had better fitting shoes and definitely more water!

Love this hike and can't wait to do it again!

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