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The Subway - Bottom Up

Virgin, Utah

4.9/5
based on 14 reviews

Details

Distance

6.82 miles

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Lindsay Daniels

See Zion's famous Subway feature and cool off by walking in the river for most of this hike. There's also an opportunity to swim in the pools 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!

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Features

Photography
Hiking
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

The Subway - Bottom Up Reviews

This was a really awesome hike!! As previously mentioned it takes quite a bit of scrambling over and around large rocks; not really a marked trail to go by, just follow the river. Everyone in our group ran out of water and we all carried our own 3L hydration packs, so I'd recommend bringing iodine pills or Life Straw as backup. Lastly, make sure you have enough energy and leg strength to get back out of the canyon! Hardest hike out I've ever done. But in the end, it's worth it!

This is a prime photo spot in the fall so permits have been getting harder to come by. The nice thing though is that you'll escape the usual crushing crowds of the main canyon. I use neoprene socks with grip to walk in the Subway itself and just hiking shoes to get there.

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.

Leave No Trace

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

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