Hike The Narrows in Zion National Park for an epic adventure. Follow the Virgin River as it winds its way through a breathtakingly beautiful gorge. It is a mind-blowing, must-do hike when visiting Zion National Park.
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Length: Up to 10 Miles
Trailhead(s): Temple of Sinawava
Elevation Gain: Maximum 344 (Negligible)
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dogs: Not Allowed
Difficulty: Easy to Strenuous
Permit Required? Yes – National Park Entry Fee $35
Considerations: Water Depth/Flow, Uneven Footing on Rocks, Flash Flooding
Season: Year Round
Hiking The Narrows is not just an epic adventure, it is an experience not to be missed when visiting Zion National Park.
ZION NATIONAL PARK – HIKING THE NARROWS
We hiked The Narrows in October. The weather was lovely, but the water was cold. Accordingly, we chose to rent equipment for our comfort and safety. In warmer summer temperatures hikers often choose to forego the dry pants, canyoneering shoes and neoprene socks we rented. Instead, they use their own sturdy hiking footwear and shorts. We saw hikers outfitted both ways. Those with rented gear looked more comfortable. We were definitely comfortable, and happy we chose to rent the gear. Even if you do not rent any other equipment, we highly recommend a sturdy wooden pole (included with our gear rental) for walking in the river on the slippery rocks. While we are huge fans of hiking poles, the sturdy wooden poles are much better suited to this environment.
No matter how you choose to outfit yourself, once in the water you are mostly in the water. Since it is 3 miles to Orderville Canyon, and another 2 miles before you must turn around, a lot of time is spent in the canyon – and in the water. As such, make sure you are outfitted to explore this canyon in a way that is comfortable for you. Bring water and snacks to stay fueled and hydrated, and a jacket for the shady, cooler areas of the canyon. This is an epic adventure, so make sure you are prepared to make the most of it.
Hike from the Temple of Sinawava
Depart the park shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava for a bottom up hike of The Narrows. A one-mile trail follows the Virgin River upstream from the shuttle stop. Paved part of the way to provide access for wheelchairs and strollers, the trail eventually turns to dirt. The Narrows begins where the dirt trail ends in a beautiful cirque of rocks at the rivers edge. Those continuing on must walk in the waters of the Virgin River, and this is where the adventure begins.
The Virgin River winds its way through a breathtakingly beautiful gorge. This is The Narrows. The colorful rock walls towering over the river are magnificent. The signs of water flow are everywhere. The deposits of rock sediment on the riverbanks and the scupted walls tell the tale of the forces of nature that created this wonder. It is truly impressive.
The canyon is generally so narrow that sunlight only shines on the river in a few places. Consequently, the canyon can be chilly – or a lovely reprieve from the heat. Although areas of dry land where the river has deposited its sediment and rock are present, water fills the canyon completely much of the time. Fortunately the riverbed is gently sloped, so any difficulty on this hike is mostly due to slippery rocks and the flow of the river.
Because water depth and flow rate change throughout the year, ascertain the river conditions before setting out. For instance, what was shallow in October may be much deeper in April due to snow melt. Although we waded through hip deep water a few times, the water was otherwise mostly below our knees. Even though the water is clear enough to judge depth and check footing, in deeper sections we had to feel for the bottom with each step to find navigable routes.
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The Narrows Slideshow
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