Hiking the Narrows was one of our main draws in returning to Zion National Park. We got really lucky with the weather being so beautiful and warm. There was a very low chance of rain, and the river was relatively low.
Hiking up the Narrows is synonymous with hiking in the Virgin River. Only around 30-40% of the time is spent out of the water. The water was cold, the river current is swift, and the hardest part is navigating past the rocks under the water. My hiking poles were a total lifesaver. I also got a pair of neoprene socks for my Keen hiking sandals, which I loved. They kept my feet warm in the cold water and protected my ankles from rocks.
We set out early in the morning for the hike, and I’d recommend that to anyone looking to enjoy the Narrows in some peace and quiet. The shuttle dumps tons of visitors at the trailhead, and the Narrows are very popular. We had to fight the crowds quite a bit on our way back. By the end, it was so crowded, it felt like we were at a water park.
Miles: 6-8 miles, out and back; There is no set “end point”/ destination.
Duration: 6-8 hours
Permit Required?: Not if hiked from the bottom up
We started our hike by parking our car at the Visitor’s Center and riding the shuttle up to the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. We walked the 1 mile up the Riverside Walk and immediately started wading up the Virgin River.
Hiking the Narrows is such an unforgettable experience. Standing below the gorge as the Virgin River rushes past you could make anyone feel vulnerable and infinitely smaller. The fear of a flash flood was always lingering in the back of my mind. The canyon walls are so high. I have no idea how one would get out if they needed to find higher ground quickly. That’s all part of what makes the Narrows such a unique experience. There, nature envelopes you and surrounds you with its beauty and power in such a way that you can’t escape it. I hope we have an opportunity to do the full 16 miles the Narrows one day.
Entering “Wall Street”, the narrowest part of the Narrows
We took a detour up Orderville Canyon, which consisted of quite a bit of obstacles to climb up / balance on / swim through.
The waterfall at the end of Orderville Canyon.
These pools of water in Orderville Canyon were so beautiful. I highly recommend taking the time to visit Orderville Canyon.
PHOTOS BY: KELVIN KUO