• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Point-to-Point

  • RT Distance:

    16 Miles

River
Scenic
Waterfall

A hike like no other through a deep gorge with colorful sandstone walls looming thousands of feet above created thousands of years ago by rushing water in one of the most beautiful National Parks.

THE NARROWS

This by far one of the most scenic and awesome hikes available in any National Park. There is no place in Zion National Park more sublime in its beauty and awe inspiring in its creation as you hike through the crystal clear Virgin River and marvel at the myriad of red, orange, yellow, and green colors seen in the sandstone walls towering thousands of feet above. It is a marvel water could carve out such beauty.

SEASONS AND NOTES

Depending upon what time of year you hike The Narrows, the water level and temperature can differ. For some of the lowest levels and warmest temperatures it is recommend to hike the trail in the late spring and summer. During the winter the trail is typically closed due to water levels, flooding, and water temperature.

Dry suit pants are recommended, especially for first time visitors, however anyone hiking this trail needs a good pair of hiking shoes to navigate the slick and smooth rocks that line the riverbed. Attempting to hike without footwear is highly ill-advised due to the slickness of the riverbed and other potential hazards along the trail. Be aware of current and future weather conditions when preparing to hike or when being on the trail.  Quickly developing rain storms and flash floods can be deadly in this canyon.

ROUTE: Top Down (16 miles end to end)

Hiking from the top of The Narrows trial requires either a day use or overnight permit. (Zion Permit Info)

Starting from the top requires beginning from near Chamberlain's Ranch just outside the park's northeastern border. This requires added transportation logistics in the form of two vehicles, one parked at the top and one at the bottom near the Temple of Sanawava, or at the visitor's center if the trams are running.

To get to the trailhead from the park's southern entrance just past Springdale, UT head through the park's entrance and head east on the Zion- Mt. Carmel Highway approximately thirty minutes (approx. 20 miles). A few miles before Zion Mountain Ranch you'll turn left and head north up North Fork Canyon Road for about an hour (approx. 20miles). North Fork Canyon Road is mostly dirt, but passable by most all vehicles during late spring to early fall. Once you cross the river you'll make a left turn to the Zion Narrows Upper Trailhead and a small parking area.

The hike starts out on a dirt road that parallels the stream before entering the canyon. About three miles in you'll see the abandoned Bulloch's Cabin where the trail soon hits water and enters the canyon.

The North Fork of the canyon is much calmer and shallower than the lower, more famous and popular, section of the canyon. It sports more foliage and forested areas of the trail as the canyon walls rise higher and higher as you progress. 

Around the eight and a half mile mark you will see the North Fork Falls and a boulder log jam easily bypassed by using a small passage to its south.

Around the nine mile mark you will pass by Deep Creek a canyon where the water volume has doubled compared to the North Fork of the Virgin River.

Many of the camp sites can be found along the next three miles littering the banks. Knob and Goose Creeks are found along this stretch of the trail and can also be explored.

Near the trail's center the hike gets more technical with deeper sections littered with boulders before reaching the lower portion of the canyon at Big Spring at around the eleven and a half mile mark where those who hike the bottom up must stop.

By mile thirteen and a half in the lower part of the canyon you will find Orderville Canyon to the east. Not fair from there is Mystery Falls and the end of the trail. The trail end is located at the bottom of the one mile paved Temple of Sinawava/Riverside Walk Trail at the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Loop.

NOTES

  • Middle sections of the trail near the trail's center require passing through several areas of deep water including waist deep and above. 
  • Day hiking the trail can be strenuous and is only recommended for hiker with extensive experience as it often takes 12 hours to complete. 
  • Overnight hikers, who also must be permitted, are able to use one of 12 assigned campsites along the trail for one night only. Group sizes are limited for both day and overnight permits.'
  • Most of the year the tram system is the only way to get from point to point on the Zion Canyon Scenic Loop, however parts of the year you are permitted to drive a personal vehicle within the canyon to reach points of interest such as the Temple of Sinawava.
  • All trash and waste must be packed out of the canyon due to the lack of receptacles along the canyon's trail itself.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots, water shoes, or athletic shoes
  • Drypants, waders, wetsuit (recommended for colder months)
  • Daypack with food and water (dry sack recommended) 
  • Hiking poles (if desired for river crossings)
  • Backpacking gear (if camping overnight with permit)
  • Camera gear (Camera, tripod, neutral density filter)
  • Light jacket (recommended for colder months)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Mayson Algeyer Storyteller

I am an avid outdoorsman and photographer with an enormous passion for the outdoors and sharing moments worth capturing from my adventures. These are the stories behind my adventures to share with you.

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