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Zion National Park Narrows Hike

Zion National Park rv camps, swimming fun, rigourous trail reviews and hiking information. Without a doubt the Zion Narrows is the best hike in the park. National Geographic Adventure ranked the Zion Narrows No. 5 in America's Best 100 Adventures. The Narrows is a slot canyon carved by the Virgin River 16 miles long and up to 2000 feet deep of sandstone walls. At the bottom of the gorge are natural springs, hanging gardens, sandstone grottos, and an experience you will never forget.

All this splendor comes with a price though. The river is the trail. 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.

In July the water temperature can be 57 degrees. And 60% of the hike is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the river. You navigate in and along the river, crossing from shore to shore through water calf to neck deep. There are occasional paths of soft sand on the side of the river. I love it.

This is one of Zion National Park's most popular and strenuous off-trail hikes. Thousands of people from kindergartners to grandmothers hike the Zion Narrows each year. This is a crowded trail from the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop, down Riverside Walk, and about the first hour of hiking the Narrows. The elevation gain and loss is mild making it cardiovascularly easy but its the logistics that are challenging. The further into the Narrows you hike the less people you will see. But, as soon as you step into the river and start walking the views are immediately breathtaking and each bend of the river brings new delights. The Narrows hike is an out and back hike, no destination, just however long you want to spend in the river.

zion national park hiking slot canyons

Above: Zion National Park is a top draw for incredible outdoor adventure. It is our countries most well run park with free shuttles running every 6 to 10 minutes to every major trail head in the park. Here we hike just off the highway in an undesignated area - just us, under a red brick bridge and along a natual arroyo that eventually becomes a slot canyon. Dozens of people drowned in Zion while we were here hiking tight slot canyons in heavy rains.

narrows hike in zion

Above: Zion National Park's Narrows hike is one of the countries funnest trails. Here you hike slot canyons in knee deep and shallower water for as long as you can take it. We met Jeff from Canada in Lake Powell and he loaned us his wisdom and paddle board. Here we meet up again for another good time together.

rock in virgin river picture

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virgin river narrows picture

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narrows weeping rock picture

About two hours upstream from the start of the Narrows is a tributary creek called Orderville Canyon. In the vicinity of Orderville Canyon the Narrows are perhaps at their most majestic.

Orderville is much shallower and narrower than the Narrows and there are obstacles along the way such as bouldering and getting over waterfalls. At the end of Orderville Canyon there is a waterfall that you can swim in or lounge around on some warm rocks.

virgin river narrows picture

narrows rock walls picture

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zion narrows photo

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zion orderville canyon falls picture

hiking zion narrows picture

Jason's thoughts - Absolutely one of my favorite hikes in the country, make sure you allot 4-6 hours, take your time and hike all the way to the fork, go right, and swim at the foot of a 6 foot waterfall at the end. Not much wildlife, no biting insects, stunning views and cold cool clear water the ENTIRE way. Strappy sandals are not good or any ill fitting shoes. You can wear tennis shoes as long as they fit good because no matter what you wear your feet will be wet the entire trip. Awesome views. If you come to Zion and don't do this one you wasted your time.

Kelly's thoughts - The best. This was my second Narrows trip and it won't be my last. You at least have to get to Orderville Canyon. The cold water isn't too much of an issue when you are at the bottom of a beautiful 2000 foot gorge and navigating your way through the Narrows. The only thing you could complain about is if you visit Zion and don't hike the Narrows.

Ben's thoughts - Fun, I swam, very cold, sometimes hard to get across. Orderville Canyon can was cool because the water got shallow and warm. Visit Laughlin for more fun cold water.

Map location of Zion National Park. Click for main Zion National Park or full-time rv diary.


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