Hiking the Narrows of Zion National Park is undoubtedly one of the most iconic hiking experiences on Earth. The Zion Narrows hiking trail is our recommendation for everyone searching for:
- Stunning sceneries
- Ease of access for active hikers of all ages
- A completely unique hiking experience
Taking a hike in the Narrows is truly a bucket list item. Last year, we were able to cross it off our list. If you asked us to explain and describe the experience, it would be near impossible to do. Why is this? There are no words to accurately describe what it feels like to walk this trail.
Below is some information on the Narrows hike, as well as some stellar tips for hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park.
The Narrows: what and where
Chances are high that you have already heard of The Narrows before coming to Beautiful Zion. Consistently rated as one of the top ten hikes in the United States, the Narrows is unlike most any hike you’ve probably done before. Here is how the National Park Service describes this incredible hike:
The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. You can see The Narrows by hiking along the paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava. If you wish to see more, you will be walking in the Virgin River. This can involve wading upstream for just a few minutes or it can be an all day hike.
What makes the Narrows so special?
The Narrows is synonymous with adventure. In fact, hiking in this Virgin River is a true one of a kind experience. It brings hikers who travel there closer to nature. You will go back to your roots and become one with the water and the rocks and the sheer walls.
However, this same distinct set of natural features make the Narrows risky and challenging. This hike is not for the faint of heart! This is why hiking here requires some level of preparation. This is where we come in.
Tips for hiking the Narrows
Naturally, it is crucial to know what to expect when about to hike the Narrows. This will make you far more comfortable with the adventure to come. We have pieced together a few important tips that you will hopefully find incredibly useful.
Most people who hike the Narrows do so in the spring or simmer. This is because the water levels drop in these seasons, and the streams warm significantly. However, in this time period, there are occasional storms that can lead to extreme flash flooding. This flooding is not rare, and can lead to severe peril and even death.
Awareness of water conditions
When hiking the Narrows, remain cautious of changes in the water. If you notice the water going from clear to muddy, it’s time to turn around. Additionally, if you notice water levels rising, seek higher ground immediately. Remember, water changes rapidly here, due to 2,000+ feet of cliff faces draining into this narrow slow canyon.
Wrap up in layers
The most important rule for hiking is to ensure comfortable dress. This means wearing shoes that are comfortable and dressing in layers for changing temperatures. The Virgin River and its high canyon walls will cause the environment here to be cooler than other areas of Zion National Park. For this reason, it’s vital to dress in layers that can be removed and put back on when needed.
Also vital is waterproofing. We recommend renting the necessary gear through Zion Adventures. When we did this it was inexpensive, quick and hassle free. We just got their footwear package, which included canyon shoes, neoprene socks and a hiking stick for $25. While it can be done without these, we highly recommend them.
It’s crucial to bring water with you, and to remain hydrated. Fill up a backpack with a few water bottles, because you will need them. Hiking in an actively moving river, half the time against the current, is going to tire you out quickly. It’s comparable to hiking in the sugar sand on a beach.
Bring snacks too
Hiking is tough, and with the above you can work up quite the appetite rather quickly. This is why recommend packing some delicious snacks to maintain your engine. For instance, we carried some macadamia nuts and granola bars with us. These are ideal for quick bites in between rocky shorelines.
Final Thoughts on Hiking the Narrows
If you love hiking in crazy places, you will love the Narrows. We recommend putting this towards the top of your exploratory bucket list. We guarantee the experience will be spectacular, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
For more, please check our our in-depth page on The Narrows.