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The Narrows, Zion NP

Springdale, Utah

4.9/5
based on 59 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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Reviews

Done in April 2021 - a true experience of a lifetime. Got very lucky to get tickets on the lottery the day before. Rented all the gear. Definitely watched a lot of people attempt the hike without preparing. I am 6’ tall and the water came up to my chest and was close to coming into my bibs in several places. No easy feat hiking against a current but I loved every minute of it. I would like to go back and do it in the summer when you don’t necessarily need boots and bibs and would consider doing the overnight trip.

Get there early, pack plenty of water, and don't rent wooden sticks and waterproof booties. (seriously your regular hiking boots and trekking pole will work just fine) Awesome hike, easy to catch shuttle at the park entrance and it brings you directly to the Narrows stop. Highly recommend at least hiking to the Wall Street area for the most beautiful views on the day hike section. The further you go the quieter it becomes. Overall plan for this incredible experience to last the better part of your day. It is worth it.

so unique that you have to do it at least a little. There is no minimum required to experience the awesome atmosphere in there. Kids will absolutely love it just watch the little ones, as the currently is stronger than you would expect with such a shallow river. If you can handle the summer crowds, this is a perfect hike for the hottest days of the year without a wetsuit or any gear except shoes you want to get wet and ideally a walking stick.

This is a great hike and a Zion Classic. Unfortunately there has been a toxic algae bloom this year in the river. You can hike up to Big Springs before having to turn around. The lower portion of the Narrows has a lot of hand prints and names written on the canyon walls. It's quite sad really. Remember to leave no trace!!!

This is one of the most popular and best places to visit in Zion. Whether you do half a mile or 5 it is worth the trip. Make sure to rent water boots if you plan to go a long distance.

Unique experience. Rent the gear (dry pants, neoprene socks, waterproof boot, etc..) depending on the time of the year. We went Oct. 2016 and were very happy to have the dry stuff from waist down. Also were happy to have their walking/hiking stick. We already had a dry bag, so brought that with. We had such a great time. It's beautiful and an incredible experience. The further into the Narrows you get, the less people. Take your time, soak it all in, and rent the recommended gear!

Bucket list hike! Be prepared for waist deep water in places. A strong walking stock and good shoes are recommended. Also, start early to avoid the crowds.

We were told once we arrived in Zion that once you arrive at the river where the narrows is located, hike back two miles and then the first split off, take the first split off! We took it and it was the best decision we ever made! The water got deeper and more clear!

Did this hike as far as “Wallstreet” with a few spur slot canyons. Loved it! We didn’t rent boots or sticks and we were able to get this far wearing an old pair of Nike Free sneakers with thin socks. But if we were to go any further I would have gotten the rental gear, it becomes necessary. Don’t wear water shoes - they were pointless after a few miles for my partner. We are fit and avid hikers and we were sore for a few days - hiking in the water forces you to use different muscles. Great adventure!

This was truly an amazing experience. With the 2000 ft walls above you, raging river beneath you, you cannot go wrong!

Leave No Trace

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

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