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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Zion Narrows, UT

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166 32 2
Guide 32 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
Rated
4.1
4.1 of 5 by 15
 
4
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 2
Grade1
WaterB
Risk
TimeIII
Statistics
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Distance One Way 16 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,855 feet
Elevation Gain -1,865 feet
Avg Time One Way 12 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.11
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
6  2018-05-21 KBKB
10  2017-09-07 John9L
5  2016-08-15 Jim_H
8  2015-08-01 ddgrunning
17  2015-07-12 Johnnie
6  2015-03-15 leonesiegel
15  2014-06-25 charlieaz
10  2014-06-24 autumnstars
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct
Sun  6:15am - 6:37pm
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0 Alternative
 
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Carving the Gorge
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
The Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon: 16 miles long, up to 2000 feet deep, and at times only 20-30 feet wide. The Zion Narrows; walking in the shadow of its soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens can be an unforgettable wilderness experience.


It is not, however, a trip to be underestimated. Hiking the Zion Narrows means hiking in the Virgin River. At least 60% of the hike is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the stream. There is no maintained trail; the route is the river. The current is swift, the water is cold, and the rocks underfoot are slippery. Flash flooding and hypothermia are constant dangers. Good planning, proper equipment, and sound judgment are essential for a safe and successful trip. Your safety is your responsibility.

Weather forecasts, flash flood potential ratings, and stream reports are available at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, (435) 772-0170. Permits are not issued when the flow is greater than 120 cubic feet per second.

When to Go: Entering the Narrows is safest when the Virgin River is low, clear, and relatively warm. Conditions change from day to day, and are impossible to predict. Check at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for the latest weather forecast and possible advisories. Flash floods can occur at any time, but are more common in mid-summer and early fall. From November through May, trips through the Narrows usually require wet or dry suits and special cold-weather preparation.

Day-Hike From the Bottom and Back: This is the easiest way to experience the Narrows. Ride the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, walk one mile to the end of the paved Riverside Walk, and begin wading up the river. Almost immediately the views are breathtaking, and each bend of the river brings new delights. There is no formal destination, and you return the same way you came. Many hikers try to reach Orderville Canyon, a tributary creek approximately 2 hours upstream from the end of the paved trail. In the vicinity of Orderville Canyon the Narrows are at perhaps their most majestic. No permit is required for this day-hike. Travel upstream beyond Big Springs requires a permit.

Day-Hike From Top to Bottom: Walking the entire length of the Narrows can be a grueling experience. Under favorable conditions, the 16-mile route takes an average of 12 hours. Even for well-conditioned hikers, this makes for a long and strenuous day. Because the trailhead at Chamberlain's Ranch is a 1 1/2-hour drive from the Temple of Sinawava, either two vehicles or a shuttle is necessary. A backcountry permit is required. Permits may be obtained at either visitor center, on the day before you plan to hike. A maximum of 80 people daily will be granted permits.

Overnight Hike From Top to Bottom: To enjoy the Narrows at a more leisurely pace, some visitors choose to spend a night in the gorge. There are 12 numbered campsites, each located above the high water mark at a different spot along the route. Only one-night stays are allowed. Campsites are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis upon completion of a backcountry permit. Permits may be obtained at either visitor center, the day before the planned hike or until noon on the day the hike begins. Campsite capacity is limited, and only two sites can accommodate groups larger than six.

Waste: With the increase in recreational use along Zion National Park waterways, the National Park Service has introduced a human waste disposal program for overnight users in the Narrows. An environmentally friendly human waste disposal bag, complete with use and disposal instructions, will be provided to all party members with every Narrows overnight permit. The bag is called Restop 2. It is a lightweight, sanitary way to pack out waste. The bag within a bag design and ziplock closure securely contains waste and odor, while the special blend of polymers instantly breaks down waste and turns it into a deodorized gel. The contents of the bag are safe for landfills and may be deposited in the trash. Use of this waste disposal system is strongly encouraged as a means for protecting the Virgin River.

Transportation: If you are hiking the Narrows from top to bottom, there are several ways to arrange transportation.

Commercial shuttle service is available to Chamberlain's Ranch. There is a fee charged per person and seating is limited. Call Zion Canyon Transportation toll free at 1-877-635-5993, Zion Rock and Mountain Guides 435-772-3303 or Red Rock Tours at 435-635-9104

If you have two vehicles, you can shuttle yourself by parking one vehicle at Chamberlain's Ranch and the other at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.

In either case, at the end of your hike at the Temple of Sinawava, you must catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle back to the visitor center.

Directions to Chamberlain's Ranch: Chamberlain's Ranch is a 1 1/2-hour drive from Zion Canyon, along paved and dirt roads. The dirt roads are passable for normal cars only when dry. When wet, they may be impassable even for 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Snow closes the road in winter. From the park's East Entrance station, drive 2 1/2 miles east on Route 9. Turn left on a paved road and continue 18 miles to a bridge that crosses the North Fork of the Virgin River. Turn left beyond the bridge and drive 1/4 mile to the gate of Chamberlain's Ranch. Please close the gate behind you. Drive 1/2 mile further and park just before the road crosses the river. To begin your hike, cross the river and follow the road for approximately 3 miles. Enter the river at the end of the road. Chamberlain's Ranch is a private ranch outside of Zion National Park. Please respect private property.

Limit: Large groups produce increased impacts on the backcountry. Group size is limited to a maximum of 12 people sharing the same affiliation (school, club, scout troop, family, friends) in the same drainage, route, or backcountry trail on the same day. This is strictly enforced; violators will be cited.

Footwear: Hiking the Narrows is like walking on slippery bowling balls. It requires balancing on algae-coated rocks in the middle of a swiftly flowing river. Sturdy footwear is essential. Hiking boots with good ankle support are best. Sandals, river shoes, and bare feet are not appropriate... they result in twisted ankles and in crushed toes.

Clothing: Even in mid-summer the Narrows is chilly. The water is cold, breezes blow steadily, and very little sunlight penetrates to the canyon floor. Although you'll probably hike in shorts (nylon shorts are best... cotton ones will stay wet), take plenty of extra warm clothing. Clothing made of wool or synthetic fibers provides the best insulation.

Drinking Water: Water in the Virgin River and its springs is not safe to drink untreated. It has passed over rangeland and may be contaminated with an illness-causing bacteria called giardia. Either treat the water you collect by filter, tablets, or by boiling, or carry in all the water you'll need.

Walking Stick: To help maintain your balance, a walking stick is recommended. Hiking the Narrows without one increases your chance of injury and fatigue. Walking sticks usually can be found in an informal depository at the north end of the Riverside Walk or may be purchased in town. Cutting trees or bushes to make a walking stick is strictly prohibited, both in the park and at Chamberlain's Ranch.

Waterproofing: Even the most experienced hikers fall occasionally in the Narrows. It is therefore a good idea to waterproof your belongings. Many hikers line their packs with large plastic garbage bags. Smaller, resealable bags provide extra protection for cameras and other valuables.

Water Depth: Water level varies in the Narrows. Under ideal conditions, when flow is under 70 cubic feet per second, most crossings are around knee-deep. Higher flows mean higher water, a stronger current, and may include wading in waist-deep water. Be prepared to swim. Even when the river is low, chest-deep holes are common.

Note: Chamberlains Ranch is at 5720 feet 37.378 -112.855

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2008-06-03 HAZ_Hikebot
  • nps related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Zion Narrows
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My wife, my daughter, and I hiked from the Temple of Sinawava to the narrows and then entered the narrows until we reached Orderville Canyon. We went about half a mile into Orderville and then returned to the narrows. We continued another half mile up-canyon in the narrows before returning.

We made it one waterfall further up Orderville this year. This didn't add a tremendous amount of distance, but we felt like we had accomplished something nonetheless. We stopped at a waterfall which would have required ascending a right leaning log and then perhaps stepping onto a floating log to gain the ledge above. My daughter started to go to the log, but I told her to return when I saw the water go to neck level.

Also, we hadn't been up the Narrows beyond Orderville in the past - it was nice to see that part of the Narrows past the intersection with Orderville.

It seemed easier this year - I think that the water level was lower. Most of our hiking through water ended up being no higher than crotch level. It got somewhat higher in a few spots last year.

It was a busy canyon on the day we did it, but a lot of fun regardless.
Zion Narrows
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For my last trip I headed into the Narrows. I planned on hiking a couple of miles up canyon and then I would return to Phoenix that evening. I left a very crowded shuttle stop around 5pm and started in. The first mile is paved and easy going. Lot's of people were hiking out as I made my way to the Narrows. After a bit the walls narrowed and it was time to get your feet wet. I grabbed a stick propped against the wall and started in. The going is fairly straightforward and the stick helped a lot with balance. I continued in and made a few turns. I was keeping a close eye on the time as I took a variety of pics. The Narrows are just breathtaking and I wanted to see more. I soaked in what I could and then headed out. I jumped on a bus and returned to the visitor center and loaded up and made the drive home. Another trip in the books.
Zion Narrows
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Braved the very, very, very crowded river walk trail, or whatever it is called, and headed up the cold river in to the canyon. With the crowds up in the river, and the swift current and frigid waters, this is something I would do once and probably never do again. If there was one thing that really hit home, it was that America's National Park are visited by virtually everyone but Americans.
Zion Narrows
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Went to Vegas for a wedding and hit this on the way back to Page. Didn't leave Vegas as early as I hoped so I only had about two hours of hiking available. Made the most of it and nearly ran the first mile of the river-walk to get to the good stuff. Sprinkled in some photography and made it about 2/3 of a mile past the end of the trail before having to turn back. It was super-pretty back in there and I'd love to go back for more. Not sure when that will be as my season at Glen Canyon ends on Oct. 17th and I'll be back in the Valley again.

Foliage
A few yellow leaves here and there, but still overwhelmingly green for the most part. Fall is definitely coming to Zion soon, however!
Zion Narrows
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This was the highlight of our week-long stay in Zion NP. We secured an online permit to stay overnight in the narrows at campsite #12 which is just around the corner from Big Springs. When we do it again we’ll probably choose a campsite a little further upstream. The 11 mile first day was a bit challenging with our packs, even though they were lighter than usual. We secured passage to the trailhead via one of the local shuttle services (about $35/person). We already had good water shoes and decided to invest in some neoprene socks at Sportsman Warehouse for $20 a pair. Well worth the money!

The Virgin River water level was really low. I expected it to be low since it was late June, but it could hardly be called a river when we did this hike. In fact, just before we reached Deep Creek it was all but dried up. But Deep Creek was a roaring river.

The first day we only saw a couple of people in the canyon. They were on the same shuttle as us driving up to the trailhead. Other than that the canyon was ours. The solitude was great and I guess the silver lining in the low water level was it was fairly easy going.

The advantage of being in campsite #12 is that day two means only 5 miles to go. We were visited by park rangers early in the morning on day two and another couple of hikers after that who apparently didn’t know or care that Big Springs is the stopping point for those coming from the bottom.

The first half of the second day was my favorite part of the hike. There was lots of water, beautiful canyon walls and few people. But as we closed in on the end of the hike the massive number of people coming from the bottom up surprised me . . . and I was expecting a lot of people.

This was a spectacular hike filled with a lot of adventure and fun, beauty and serenity. The night in the canyon was so peaceful listening to the birds and running water while I dozed off in my hammock. There were swimming holes everywhere; one right next to camp. The temperature was perfect. I didn’t even need my sleeping bag most of the night.
Zion Narrows
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Phenomenal scenery top to bottom, not even the hordes of tourists near the end could diminish the grandeur. Nice water temp, flow was about 40 CFS, low for this time of year but very pleasant, made for easy crossings, only a few waist-deep wades. $30 for the commercial shuttle to the start.
Zion Narrows
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The Virgin River was still flowing at 400cfs so we couldn't do a full narrows up to Orderville Canyon :? and had to settle by enjoying the short & sweet riverside walk up the sidewalk to its end and back. :)
Zion Narrows
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I had some extra time to burn after doing Observation Point, so I ran back to my car to get my water hiking gear. I made pretty good time up to the confluence with Orderville and continued up that all the way to Guillotine Falls thanks to some logs placed at the 3 lower falls. :)

Permit $$
information is in description

Zion National Park
Zion Per Car/7 Day Entrance Fee (Permits such as backcountry and such may pertain too)


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page created by joebartels on Jun 03 2008 1:06 pm
3 pack - loud whistle
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