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How to hike the Zion Narrows as a Novice in Zion National Park
Dead Meadow - The Narrows

At mile 8. Just past these falls is a spectacular section of narrows. This was our favorite part of the hike. These walls are so tall and the canyon is so narrow, we were in awe of what we were seeing. By this point, Tim and I had been hiking on our own for several hours, and to experience this alone, without any other hikers, was magical.

At mile 9, Deep Creek joins the north fork of the Virgin River. For two miles, you hike past the campsites used by backpackers and the joining of Kolob Creek and Goose Creek. On the left hand side of this photo is campsite 1. If you look closely, you can see a small, yellow sign marking the campsite. At mile 11, you will see Big Springs. For those hiking from the bottom-up, this is the farthest north you can hike. Beyond this point you must have a permit. For two miles, the canyon walls tower overhead.

Even though it was a brilliantly sunny day, it was quite dark here, since the canyon walls are so tall and so narrow in spots. The water flow felt stronger here and it can be chest deep or deeper! Tim and I wore full body dry suits, which was a good thing, because in three places we actually swam part of the river. I wish I had photos of this, but cameras and water do not mix well and I was not willing to take the risk.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Wall Street ends at mile This is where Orderville Canyon joins the Virgin River. You can explore this canyon for about a mile if you have the time and energy. We skipped it, since we had limited daylight with it being late in the season. From Orderville Canyon, it is a gorgeous, relatively easy hike past boulders, forests, and more narrow canyons, until you get to the Riverside Walk at mile Approaching the end of the Narrows.

We Might Lose Access to the Zion Narrows Forever | Outside Online

The small crowd of people is on the riverbank near the end of the Riverside Walk trail. Hiking the Narrows was one of our favorite hiking experiences, ever! For almost 10 miles, Tim and I were completely on our own without another person in sight. Hiking through the canyons, navigating obstacles along the way, and at times swimming through the river when it was up over our heads, felt like a real adventure. Zion Narrows Top-Down vs. Which One Should You Choose? Does this look like something you would like to do? Comment below if you have any questions. Looking for more adventures in Utah?

Read all of our articles in our Utah Destination Guide. Note: This post contains affiliate links. Chamberlain's Ranch is accessed by the dirt North Fork Road east of the Park, and is situated in a rolling forest of aspen and scrub oak. No sign of the gorge ahead can be seen from the ranch. The hiker proceeds down the river and into an ever-deepening gorge, eventually getting to The Narrows and ending at the Temple of Sinawava.


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Permits are required before hiking the Narrows from the top and can be obtained at the Zion National Park Wilderness Desk. Reservations should be made ahead of time as permits can be difficult to get during the summer months. Hiking in the river is strenuous. The water is often murky and the bottom of the river is covered with rocks about the size of bowling balls.

This makes proper footwear and bringing in trekking poles or a walking stick essential. The Narrows may be closed in the spring due to flooding while the snow melts off the upland areas to the north if the flow rate is higher than cubic feet per second 3. Thunderstorms can cause The Narrows to flash flood during the summer. Rain showers upriver can cause flash floods in the canyon without it raining over the canyon itself.

Thus, hikers should exercise caution when hiking The Narrows during rainy periods as the winding canyon and sheer walls make approaching flash floods all the more sudden and difficult to evade. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. National Park Service ".

Hiking the Narrows in Zion: 11 Tips for Hiking with Kids

However, this is also the time of year that storms can cause life-threatening flash floods. Winter and early spring commonly means cold water and high water levels. The Narrows can be closed during the spring when snowmelt raises the river over CFS. Fall brings more stable weather, but days get shorter and the water temperature drops. Zion Weather and Climate. How high is the water? Water level fluctuates greatly from year to year and day to day depending on many factors such as rainfall and snowmelt.

When the river is running below 70 cubic feet per second CFS , walking is moderately difficult, with knee deep crossings on the slippery and uneven river bottom with frequent pools up to waist deep.


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When the current goes above 70 CFS, walking against the current becomes challenging and crossings of mid-thigh deep are frequent with pools that can be chest deep. The Narrows also closes when a Flash Flood Warning is issued by the National Weather Service, and remains closed for two hours after the warning is lifted. Current River Flow. What about flash floods? The Narrows are susceptible to flash flooding because much of the surrounding area is bare rock that does not absorb water.

During storms, runoff is funneled rapidly into the Narrows. During a flash flood the water level rises almost instantly--within seconds or minutes. Flash floods are common in Zion and hikers have been stranded, injured, and even killed by venturing into narrow, flood prone canyons.