How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (2022)

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How do you hike The Narrows at Zion?

At Zion National Park, the narrowest part of Zion Canyon on the Virgin River is commonly referred to as “The Narrows.”

This slot canyon is one of the most popular hikes at Zion.

The Narrows is an absolute MUST DO at Zion National Park.

Lately, it seems like everybody has been hiking The Narrows. You have probably seen the pictures in your feed, hikers trekking through the water with narrowing rock walls encapsulating the trail.

It looks like a difficult place to access, but to be honest, it can be accessed pretty easily.

The bottom-up trail, which is the one we did, is probably one of the easier hikes to access and complete in Zion, pending how far you go on the trail.

There are two ways to navigate The Narrows.

You can start from the bottom at the Temple of Sinawava and hike for as long as you can go. The endpoint for the bottom up would be Big Springs.

(Video) HIKE THE NARROWS | ZION NATIONAL PARK | A BEGINNERS GUIDE & GEAR RENTAL

At Big Springs, the hike requires permit access to go further. It’s about 10 miles roundtrip until the trail turns into permit access only. Or, you can start from the top, which is over a 16-mile trail and requires a wilderness permit.

The top-down hike is recommended only for experienced hikers and something that I would recommend researching greatly before you complete it.

This post is going to discuss how to hike The Narrows from the bottom, starting at the Temple of Sinawava entrance point. This is by far the easiest and most casual way to see The Narrows. You do not need a ton of advanced preparation to do the trail.The trail is rated as “moderate-intensity” for a river hike.

How To Get To The Bottom-Up Trail Of The Narrows

How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (1)

To get to The Narrows, you need to first gain access to Zion National Park.

The parking lots at the park fill up rather quickly.

If you do not park inside the park, you can find paid parking outside of the park on the street and either walk in from your parking space or take the town shuttle to the park gate.

Once you are inside Zion, the trailhead of The Narrows is accessible by the Zion park shuttle.

In fact, you cannot drive to the trailhead, you have to take the shuttle.

It is the last stop, stop 9, on the shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava. F

rom the first shuttle pick up point, it is about a 45-minute drive through the park to the Temple of Sinawava. Enjoy your time on the shuttle; it’s a beautiful drive through the park with stunning landscapes and mountain views.

How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (2)

The shuttle drops you off at a shuttle stop with a bathroom and direct access to the Riverside Walk trail.

Once you enter, there are no other bathrooms along the trail.

(Video) The Narrows Zion National Park 4K

To access The Narrows, you have to walk down the Riverside Walk trail for about a mile until it opens into the access point for the Virgin River.

The Riverside trail is very flat and easily accessible.

How Far To Go

Once you complete the Riverside Walk trail and get into the Virgin River, you can hike as much as you want to without a permit, up until Big Springs. Big Springs is about a 10-mile roundtrip hike from the shuttle stop. At Big Springs, you need permit access to go further.

My group hiked to Orderville Canyon, which is about 2.5 miles from the beginning of the Riverside Walk.

We would have gone farther, except we got a late start and wanted to leave the park before it got dark.

When you are in the water, it definitely feels easier to hike than if you are on a mountain trail. I felt like I could have hiked forever and ever. Be mindful of the time and remember that you need to return as far as you hike in.

How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (3)

What To Pack

As you pack and prepare for this hike, remember that you will be hiking through the water.

While the water is mostly below your knees, there are portions of the river where the water is waist-deep (I’m 5’9”). Be prepared with appropriate clothes, shoes, and gear. I

f you need to rent any gear once you arrive, please check out this store: Zion Adventures. This is where I rented my pole and they had everything you need to rent to hike The Narrows.

Gear

Water shoes: First and foremost, I recommend having sturdy water-resistant shoes. If you don’t have appropriate footwear, you can rent water-friendly shoes. I would not recommend doing the trail barefoot or in sandals. The rocks on the bottom of the river are slippery and hard to grip.

Hiking Pole: You will want to maintain balance during the hike because if you don’t, it could mean falling into the water. If you have hiking poles, I definitely recommend bringing them for this hike. If you don’t have poles, you can rent a hiking stick at the store located outside of the walk-up entrance to the park, Zion Adventures. I rented a stick for $7 and found it to be extremely useful for walking through the river and keeping my balance.

(Video) The Narrows Hiking TIPS | Zion National Park

Dry Bag: You are hiking through a river and anything can happen. You can fall in the water, get splashed, or end up in waist-high water. Bring a water bag for your valuables to keep them dry.

Quick Drying Clothes: You will surely get wet as you hike The Narrows. I recommend wearing clothes that dry quickly. Once you get out of the river, it will probably be at least 1-2 hours until you get to your car, so you don’t want to be in super damp clothes.

Food/Water: Make sure you pack adequate food and water. There are dry places to stop on the trail to take a break and eat food or have a drink of water.

How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (4)

Flash Flooding and Water Current

Given the nature of this hike, you want to be cautious about water levels and flash flooding.

There are certain times during the year when the trail is completely closed.

It is mostly recommended to hike The Narrows during the summer and autumn months. Flash floods can happen in an instant with rain and can cause injury and even death to hikers.

Check the weather forecast before you go to the park and avoid hiking if rain is in the forecast.

You can also check the flash flood potential here.

When you are hiking the bottom-up way through The Narrows, you will be walking upstream against the river current and returning downstream with the current.

One of the mistakes I made at the beginning of the river was attempting to walk in a straight line through the river, instead of following the ebb and flow of the current.

By attempting to walk in a straight line, I pushed myself through some of the harsher parts of the current and made the walk harder on myself.

When I started to follow the river current and criss-cross through the river to follow the calmer parts of the current, I made the hike a lot easier on myself.

(Video) Zion National Park The Narrows, virgin river, relaxing music and travel

How To Hike The Narrows At Zion - The Traveling Traveler (5)

How Much Time Does It Take To Hike The Narrows?

You can spend a varying degree of time in The Narrows.

When entering the park, remember that it will take you at least 45 minutes to take the shuttle to the trail and 45 minutes to get back to the gate.

This is the time my group did not account for and it limited the amount of time we spent on the trail.

Once you reach the trailhead, it is about 30 minutes down the Riverside Walk to the opening of The Narrows.

From there, you can decide how much time you want to spend exploring The Narrows.

I would recommend spending at a minimum of 4-6 hours on the trail. More time if you want to explore further and go to Big Springs.

Conclusions About The Narrows At Zion

Hiking The Narrows at Zion is one of my all-time favorite hikes!

Starting from the Riverside Walk, the bottom-up path is a hike that anybody can try.

While the water can be strenuous to navigate at times, you can turn around at any time. Be prepared for walking through the river and have the appropriate gear. From the bottom-up trail, you can hike as far as you want to, up until a permit is required, and turn around at any time. This is a must-do hike at Zion National Park!

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(Video) Tips for Hiking the Narrows with Kids

FAQs

Is The Narrows an easy hike? ›

Snowfall or heavy rains may also make the dirt road to Chamberlain's Ranch impassible. The difficulty of hiking the Zion Narrows is greatly affected by water flow. A flow below 50cfs indicates relatively easy hiking conditions while flow above 100cfs can be difficult and dangerous.

Do you need a guide to hike The Narrows? ›

If you are planning to hike the Narrows from the bottom up—starting at Temple of Sinewava, you do not need to obtain a permit. However, if you are hiking from the top down, either as a day hike or an overnight trip, you will need a permit.

How difficult is The Narrows hike in Zion? ›

Not very difficult, unless you want to hike the entire trail length for an all-day adventure. How many miles is the Narrows hike? 16 miles total if you hike top-down, but most people just hike in 1-3 miles bottom-up and turn around and come back, considering you have to hike out whatever you hike in.

How long is the hike through The Narrows in Zion? ›

This 17-mile day hike (or more casual overnight backpacking trip) is a great wilderness adventure and requires advance permits, which you can get from the Wilderness Desk at the Zion National Park Visitor's Center or online. The Park Service limits Overnight Narrows permits to 40 persons per day.

What shoes to wear when hiking The Narrows? ›

Closed-toe shoes — sturdy, closed-toe hiking shoes with excellent ankle support are essential for this hike. Hiking in the river is challenging, and it's easy to roll an ankle or smash a toe. Sandals or other open-toe shoes will not protect your toes from getting crushed between the rocks as your feet slide around.

What is the best time of day to hike the Narrows? ›

The morning is the best time of day to hike the Narrows if you plan on doing the whole trail. If you are only looking to do a small portion of the Narrows, then we recommend visiting in the late afternoon when it has warmed up a bit.

Can you swim in the Narrows? ›

Water Depth and Dry Bags

Water levels in the Virgin River Narrows, even when the CFS of the river is low, can range from ankle deep to full swims. Most of the time the river is ankle to knee deep, but all top-down hikers should be prepared for deep sections where swimming is required.

Can you get to the Narrows without a shuttle? ›

Luckily, you can still experience the best of Zion National Park, like hiking Angels Landing and The Narrows, without the shuttle!

Should I hike The Narrows in the morning or afternoon? ›

The morning is the best time to hike the Narrows to avoid crowds which arrive from 9 – 10am. By late afternoon people start leaving too, so you may enjoy a quieter walk.

Are there snakes in The Narrows? ›

There aren't water snakes in Utah. Occasionally rattlesnakes or garter snakes will swim, but they'll most likely avoid the narrows where there's not enough sun and too many people. I did the narrows in June a few years ago and didn't see any snakes the whole trip.

Is The Narrows safe to hike? ›

The Narrows and Keyhole Canyon

While not dangerous on a normal, dry day, they can become deadly in only a matter of seconds if it begins to rain. Flash floods can fill the canyons, washing hikers and debris downstream and making it almost impossible to escape.

Can you hike the Narrows in one day? ›

As a Day Hike

Hiking the Narrows top-down in one day is no easy feat. You need to be fit and fast in order to do this. The average amount of time to hike the Narrows from the top-down is 10 to 13 hours, but it takes most people 12 hours, once you factor in time for rest breaks, photos, and meals. A permit is necessary.

Can you day hike the Narrows? ›

The Narrows day hike is an out and back trail, it is as long as you want it to be and however far you decide to go you must come the entire way back on yourself.

Can you hike Angels Landing and the Narrows in the same day? ›

Yes you can do but it will be tough. Angels landing is a very strenuous hike. Narrows is not strenuous but will take about 3 to 3.5 hours and Angel Landing could take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

What do I need to know before hiking The Narrows? ›

Here are nine things you need to know before you go.
  1. Keep A Close Eye On The Weather. ...
  2. Waterproof Your Phone/Camera. ...
  3. The Water Depth Will Vary. ...
  4. Bring Closed-Toed Water Shoes With Grips. ...
  5. Rent Neoprene Socks And A Walking Stick. ...
  6. Wear Quick-Dry Clothes, Preferably Shorts. ...
  7. It's Flat But Tiring. ...
  8. Save Energy For The Return Trip.
Jun 20, 2020

What gear do you need to hike The Narrows in Zion? ›

Zion Narrows
  1. Capris, zip-off pants, yoga pants, or lightweight hiking shorts, board shorts - No jeans, No Cotton.
  2. Light rain jacket.
  3. Light fleece top for cool mornings.

How cold is The Narrows water? ›

Please note: These are general guidelines based on today's average water temperature of 56°F in The Narrows.

Can I hike the Narrows in crocs? ›

-Crocs, flip flops and low-profile shoes are not your friend on this hike. You should have proper footwear to give strong ankle support (breaking your ankle in there would not be enjoyable) and shoes that offer protection of your toes and feet.

What is the scariest hike in America? ›

America's deadliest hike is Mount Ranier in Washington State. It has claimed over 400 deaths. Anything but a “walk in the park,” Mount Ranier features extreme and fast weather changes, avalanches, falling rocks, and an unpredictable volcano. Hypothermia is common, along with broken bones, drowning, and heat stroke.

Can you wear tennis shoes in the Narrows? ›

Just hiked the narrows about 5 days ago. Everyone in my family brought an older pair of tennis shoes for the hike. It worked perfectly.

Where do I start the Narrows hike? ›

The starting point is the Temple of Sinawava. You'll need to ride the shuttle into Zion Canyon, to Temple of Sinawava, and that takes about 45 minutes during the summer season.

How deep is the water in the Narrows Zion? ›

Even at 50 cfs, the water can be up to 5 feet deep in some places, so time your hike for days when the water level is below 50 cfs if you can. Also, check at the visitor center about the possibility of flash-flooding. If there's even a remote chance of flash-flooding, DO NOT HIKE THE NARROWS.

Do you need reservations for the Narrows? ›

You do not need a permit or reservation to enter the park. You do need to pay the park fee.

Do I need a wetsuit for the Narrows? ›

To successfully hike the Narrows in winter, you absolutely need to rent some gear. Zion Outfitters or Zion Adventure Company are two locations that offer drysuit packages in Springdale. Wetsuits are not recommended because of the variable water height.

Do I need neoprene socks to hike the Narrows? ›

If you plan to hike a small part of The Narrows, up to half an hour one way and the water is shallow – you will make it in any shoes and without neoprene socks. Take a trekking pole or find a big stick in the forest. It will help you keep your balance on slippery stones.

Do you need a waterproof backpack for the Narrows? ›

Waterproof protection is especially important if you plan to carry a camera on your hike. Though it is not expected that your backpack will be submerged during your hike it can happen! Having the proper protection for your equipment will provide peace of mind during your experience in the Narrows!

Can you get to The Narrows by car? ›

During the late spring and summer months, the park shuttle takes visitors through Zion, and the rest of the year you are able to drive your own vehicle into the park. For the day hike, the Narrows is accessible from the last shuttle stop, called the Temple of Sinawava.

Which Zion entrance is best? ›

The South Entrance to Zion Canyon is the most visited entrance to the park.
  • Don't forget to check the wilderness area rules before going. ...
  • Wilderness permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips within the park.
  • Read more on NATIONAL PARKS.
May 22, 2021

Does the Zion shuttle take you to The Narrows? ›

The Zion Canyon Line, or park shuttle, runs from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to destinations including the Zion Lodge and trailheads for hikes to Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, West Rim Trail, and the Narrows.

How much water should you bring on The Narrows? ›

You should bring along a minimum of three liters of water. The Zion Narrows hike can be extremely strenuous, and you will probably be on the trail for most or all of the day. This makes it critical to stay hydrated.

Are there grizzly bears in Zion National Park? ›

' Summer sightings in Zion, tips for safe encounters. ZION NATIONAL PARK – Considered the most dangerous of Zion National Park's inhabitants, bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes are rarely seen.

Are there tarantulas in Zion National Park? ›

Tarantulas are rarely seen in Zion—they are nocturnal and spend most of their time in underground burrows--but sightings are most common on park roads in late summer and fall, when the males are out cruising for females.

What do u do if u get bit by a rattlesnake? ›

Stay calm • Call Dispatch via radio or 911 • Wash the bite area gently with soap and water if available • Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling • Immobilize the affected area • Keep the bite below the heart if possible • Transport safely to the nearest medical facility immediately.

How do you survive a flash flood in the Narrows? ›

If you are caught in a flood:

If you can move out of moving water, you are more likely to survive. Try to grab and hold onto something sturdy to keep going downstream. Go over not under objects. It's better to break an ankle than your skull, so point your feet downstream.

Does it get windy in the Narrows? ›

Historically, the wind in The Narrows during May blows at an average speed of 16.1 mph (25.9 kph). The windiest month is October with an average wind speed of 16.6 mph (26.7 kph), while the calmest month is August with an average wind speed of 13.8 mph (22.1 kph).

Are the Narrows cold? ›

First of June, the water is cold, but as the summer progresses the water becomes warmer and warmer. High summer is, however, thunderstorm season in the desert southwest. The Monsoon pattern can set up anytime during high summer, making the Zion Narrows hike dodgy at best.

Should I hike Angels Landing or the Narrows? ›

The earlier you start The Narrows the less people you will also encounter. However, safety and sun exposure are less of a threat on this hike. If experiencing The Narrows is your primary bucket list item for visiting Zion National Park, hike it first. Otherwise, I recommend starting on Angels Landing.

Can a beginner hiker Do Angels Landing? ›

But the trail to Angels Landing is far from a beginner-friendly hike. In fact, even those with some hiking experience will want to consider their abilities before attempting it. At 5.5 miles roundtrip and climbing nearly 1,500 feet in elevation, the trail is physically demanding.

How scary is Angels Landing? ›

First of all, it is quite strenuous, you hike about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) straight up. The last kilometer is the scary part, the pathway is very narrow and, on both sides, there are sheer drops of 1000 feet (300 meters). So hiking this trail might not the best idea if you're afraid of heights.

How many permits do I need for Angels Landing? ›

For both seasonal and day-before lotteries, applicants may enter each lottery once and apply for a permit up to six people (including the applicant). When applying, up to seven dates or date ranges along with preferred start times may be selected in preference order.

How long does it take to hike to Wall Street in the Narrows? ›

Depending on water flow, this hike is easy to moderate in summer and ok for most kids 4 feet or taller. You can hike in as far you would like and turn back at any time. From the parking lot, it is usually only 2-3 hours into the section of Narrows known as Wall Street.

What is the best time of day to hike the Narrows? ›

The morning is the best time of day to hike the Narrows if you plan on doing the whole trail. If you are only looking to do a small portion of the Narrows, then we recommend visiting in the late afternoon when it has warmed up a bit.

Can seniors hike the Narrows? ›

But for September, the nicest parameter for hiking the Narrows is water temp, where it can be in that 55-60 F range. Watch weather, as the Narrows is prone to flash floods in late year stormy weather. For a very good experience with the Zion Narrows, I would suggest going as far up as the junction of Orderville Canyon.

Can you swim in The Narrows? ›

Water Depth and Dry Bags

Water levels in the Virgin River Narrows, even when the CFS of the river is low, can range from ankle deep to full swims. Most of the time the river is ankle to knee deep, but all top-down hikers should be prepared for deep sections where swimming is required.

Can you hike The Narrows in one day? ›

As a Day Hike

Hiking the Narrows top-down in one day is no easy feat. You need to be fit and fast in order to do this. The average amount of time to hike the Narrows from the top-down is 10 to 13 hours, but it takes most people 12 hours, once you factor in time for rest breaks, photos, and meals. A permit is necessary.

Can you float down The Narrows? ›

Normally they rent tubes for $25, put you in the river right there, and you leisurely float for 2 hours, where a shuttle then picks you up down river. That's on a normal day. When the river is low, however, you're on your own.

Should I hike the Narrows in the morning or afternoon? ›

The morning is the best time to hike the Narrows to avoid crowds which arrive from 9 – 10am. By late afternoon people start leaving too, so you may enjoy a quieter walk.

How cold is the water in the Narrows? ›

Please note: These are general guidelines based on today's average water temperature of 56°F in The Narrows.

Can you hike Angels Landing and the Narrows in the same day? ›

Yes you can do but it will be tough. Angels landing is a very strenuous hike. Narrows is not strenuous but will take about 3 to 3.5 hours and Angel Landing could take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.

How deep is the water in the Narrows Zion? ›

Even at 50 cfs, the water can be up to 5 feet deep in some places, so time your hike for days when the water level is below 50 cfs if you can. Also, check at the visitor center about the possibility of flash-flooding. If there's even a remote chance of flash-flooding, DO NOT HIKE THE NARROWS.

Videos

1. MUST WATCH BEFORE HIKING THE NARROWS // What to do in Zion National Park | The Narrows Experience
(Radical Travelers)
2. Zion National Park, UT
(The PT Traveller)
3. 4WK SOLO ROAD TRIP | Hiking Horseshoe Bend, Bryce and Zion Narrows | Ashton on Adventure | Ep.12
(Ashton on Adventure)
4. 11 Tips For Visiting Zion in Summer 2021
(Nomads with a Purpose: Adventure Travel Family)
5. Visiting Zion National Park | Solo Travel | Angels Landing | The Narrows | Vlog
(Yesenia Martinez)
6. Zion National Park 2021 // Emerald Pools + The Narrows + Canyon Overlook
(Evelyn _ The Road Let's Travel)

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