One of the most popular hiking areas and a top of the must-do list in Zion National Park is the Narrows. This is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, stretching for 26 km and narrowing up to six meters in some spots, and what's more, the hike involves wading or even swimming across the Virgin River. Known as one of the world's best slot canyon hikes, it annually attracts thousands of tourists who come for the most dramatic and inspiring sceneries in the whole country.
There are different ways to hike the Narrows. Bottom-up is the best choice for the first-time river hikers and people who don't have too much time to enjoy the park. This trail will take you from the Temple of Sinawava via the Riverside Walk to the section, known as Wall Street where the walls are higher than 600 metres. It takes from two to three hours and almost 2/3 of this time for the way back.
Another and longer way is to hike the Narrows from the top to bottom with a starting point at Chamberlain's Ranch. It could be a one day hike best suitable for experienced hikers, or you can split it in two days and overnight in the canyon.
The season lasts from late May to September. Winter is too cold to walk across the river. In spring, the trail is closed as the water level is too high for flash flooding. The best season for this refreshing experience is summer and early fall. The best time to make fascinating light pics is usually between 10 am and 3 pm during the summer season. Sometimes flooding can also occur after thunderstorms in July and August. Thus, the water level should always be checked in the visitor centre while planning the hike.
When is the best time to hike the Narrows in Utah?
To hike the Narrows in Utah, it's ideal to go from May until September. Summer and early fall are the best times to make excellent light photos, usually between 10 am and 3 pm, while winter is too cold. Floods may close the trail during the spring, and it's probably best to check water levels at the visitor centre before starting the hike, as July and August may pose flooding risks after thunderstorms. Show more
Where is the starting point for the top-to-bottom Narrows hike?
Chamberlain's Ranch marks the starting point for the top-to-bottom Narrows hike, which is about 1.5 hours from Springdale by car. Visitors need a high clearance 4WD vehicle to access the site. For those without a proper vehicle, several companies in Springdale provide transportation to the starting point. Hikers who desire an overnight trip can camp in the canyon, while experienced hikers can complete the hike in one day. Show more
What level of physical fitness is required to hike the Narrows?
It's essential to be moderately physically fit to complete The Narrows hike successfully. This hike requires walking upstream in the water and maneuvering through rocks and boulders. Hikers should be comfortable treading through waist-deep water that is cold enough to cause some discomfort. Wearing waterproof gear is essential, including shoes that provide proper ankle support and hiking poles to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Show more
What are the potential risks when hiking the Narrows?
The Narrows hike holds potential risks that include flash flooding, falling, hypothermia, and dehydration. It's best to begin early and keep an eye on changes in the weather and flash flood conditions. Avoid hiking when there's an afternoon thunderstorm. Hikers should be prepared to pass through waist-deep water and traverse slippery rocks. Moreover, it's critical to pack ample water and snacks to avoid dehydration. Show more
Is it possible to hike the Narrows in winter?
Hiking The Narrows in winter is not feasible since it is too cold to walk across the river safely. The season between May and September is the best time to hike the Narrows in Utah, as spring floods can cause the trail's closure. If winter months' planning is underway, there are plenty of other winter activities in the park, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Show more