Hiking The Narrows at Zion National Park
Visiting Zion National Park was one of my all time favorite US trips. Maybe because I didn’t grow up around mountains that I love being around them. Even though I wasn’t fully prepared to hike at Zion, it was still fun to experience the Riverside Walk Trail. This trail leads into one of the most popular trails – The Narrows. Here’s what you need to know if you plan to hike The Narrows:
The Narrows is a trail through the gorge of Zion Canyon in the Virgin River. Yes, hiking The Narrows means hiking IN the Virgin River. At the narrowest point, the canyon is only 20-30 feet wide. The trail is categorized as “strenuous” by the Park and stretches 9.4 miles or 15.1 km.
There isn’t really a destination so you can hike as far through the canyon as you want to before returning the same way you came. The return hike could take up to 8 hours. This is a day hike and no permit is required.
To hike The Narrows, start at the Temple of Sinawava and hike to the end of the Riverside Walk Trail. Riverside Walk is about a mile long on a paved trail and once it hits the Virgin River, that’s where The Narrows begins.
What To Expect Hiking the Narrows
Parts of The Narrows will require you to wade and the water can get waist deep. So there isn’t really a trail since the hike takes place in the river. Beware of the current, the cold water, and slippery rocks underneath. Before starting, check the weather and flash flood warnings as the water can get really deep.
How To Prepare For The Narrows
Make sure you’re wearing the correct hiking gear. This includes closed-toe and sturdy hiking boots. Sandals or even aqua socks would not be appropriate for the slippery rocks underfoot. The soaring canyon walls provide a lot of shade so it gets quite cool in there. You’ll want to wear a windbreaker or something warm.
There are a few places in Springfield such as Zion Adventure Company where you can rent canyoneering shoes, dry pants, neoprene socks, and walking sticks to hike The Narrows.
What to Pack
Bring drinking water, snacks like protein bars, a first aid kit, and store everything in a waterproof bag.
Proper planning and bringing the right equipment will make for a safe hike through The Narrows. Read my Introduction to Zion National Park here.