Zion National Park – The Narrows

Zion National Park - The Narrows

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.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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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.


The Equipment

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.  Alternatively, if hiking in warmer summer temperatures, hikers may 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.

The Commitment

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 Narrows

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.

Water Safety

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. 

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

 Additional Information

 The Narrows Slideshow

(Click image to expand.)

Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

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Articles About Other Regional Outventures

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SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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