The Narrows Trek is known as one of the most popular hikes in the Zion National Park. It is also a world-famous slot canyon hike. The hike can be tailored to suit different hikers of different abilities. The Virgin River is the trail in this hike and is a canyon so narrow that the river tends to cover the bottom in certain spots. To cross such spots one has to either wade through the water or swim across it. The cool water makes this wet hike suitable for the summer months, which is why you must plan a trip here if you’re a true adventurer at heart!
Located in the Zion Canyon, it has a level of varying difficulty from easy to strenuous and also has a variable length, the maximum being 16 miles. The Narrows Trek can be experienced both in winter and summer, but one needs to avoid the months of rain and thunderstorm as that makes the Narrows hike a risky affair. Here’s a detailed guide of the Narrows hike in the Zion National Park with information like how to reach, things to do, the best time to visit, and what to pack, so that you can plan an impeccable trip.
Best Time To Experience The Narrows Trek
Winter is the best time to hike the narrows in the Zion National Park. In winter months, the place is less crowded and with no intense heat and lower water levels you can experience this hike at the fullest. In winter, one needs to be mindful if the flash floods happens if it has rained or snowed in the region recently.
Summer is also a good time to visit the Narrows but in the summer months the place is crowded and the crowded area with rising temperature makes it inconvenient for some. A good thing about the summer months is the water cools you down and one doesn’t need a dry suit. Yet the winter months are best suited for this hike and it is less crowded and give one a lot of photo opportunities when not crowded.
About Hiking In The Narrows
The Narrows is a relatively easy hike as long as the water levels are low. Kids of 4 feet in height or taller can make an attempt without any worry. The hike starts from the parking lot and once 2-3 hours in the hike the section known as Wall Street starts. It takes roughly 2/3rd the time to hike back compared to the time taken to hike in. The snow melts during the early springs that results in higher water levels. The months or October and November are best as there are less people. The best light for some photography is between 10am to 3pm.
Hiking in the Narrows is not permitted when the water are high or if it is flash flooding. Hiking here is pleasant during the summers thought a lot of people hike in the winters as well.
The Narrows Trek Trail
This is easily one of the most unique as well as iconic hiking trail throughout the world owing to the stunning scenery, easy to access and the the trail being a river. The trail head can be reached by taking the free shuttle from the visitor center which is roughly a 45 min ride through 9 number of stops.
Take the Riverside Walk, it is a paved and a mile long walk. The stroll takes you through some natural beauty by the Virgin River. This section is easy and everyone can attempt it. The stroll ends at a rocky beach where the hike starts and you begin wading the waters from here.
After wading in the canyon for about half a mile you reach the Mystery Falls. The water here can be seen flowing down the right side of the wall of the canyon. Some people and children turn back from here as it becomes tiring to wade upstream and one needs to be constantly search for footing. After the Mystery Falls comes the Wall Street, located a mile upstream of the Mystery Falls. The canyon gets closer and tighter from here on and that really amps up the ‘wow’ factor. Orderville Canyon comes on the right and from here you can choose to detour up for about half a mile and reach Veiled Falls where the National Park Service post tells you to head back.
The junction of the rivers at Orderville Canyon further takes you up the Virgin river for about 2.5 miles through Wall Street till you reach the Big Spring. This is where the day hikers usually turn around and head back.
If you wish to hike the entire 16 miles of the Canyon then previously you would need a permit and start from the top but unfortunately as of 25th August 2018 it has become inaccessible as the route passes through a private land and the landowner didn’t grant permission for public access. The Zion National Park has said that they are trying to resolve the issue.
The hike further ahead is a strenuous option if you wish to complete it in a single day. It is suitable for agile hikers and is best done in September as the days are longer. It takes about 10 to 14 hours for most athletes. On permit the maximum group size is of 12 people and starts at Chamberlain’s Ranch.
The only disadvantage is the weight of the overnight gear if you are planning the full hike. As the experience of the Narrows would be incomplete without completing it. There are 12 designated sites for sleeping, a night under the stars in this magnificent canyon is a great experience. Hike for 6 to 8 hours each day and save time to explore the Deep and Kolob Creeks on the first day and checkout the Orderville Gulch on the second day.
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How To Reach Zion National Park
You can reach the Zion National Park from the East Coast in three different ways. You can take a direct flight from St. George, Utah or Las Vegas or you can fly to Vegas and take the one and a half hour route to St. George by road. However, you can also fly to St. George with any of the stop through Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix or Salt lake City.
Useful Tips For The Narrows Trek
- Hiking against the current isn’t that easy so make sure you have proper footwear.
- There is no out here except at the trail head so if you are tired or if there is a flash flood then you will have to go back from where you came. You can check for flash floods in the weather report.
- There are nice toilets at the Temple of Sinawava and as there are no secluded spot in the Canyon make sure to use the toilet before the hike.
- Carry moleskine with you as because after hours of wading and hiking with the wet shoes and clothes the skin tends to be at great risk as because it stays under pressure while wet.
- Carry water and snacks.
- Carry the necessary gear and you can rent as well for $25.
- Use a stick for hiking as it will help you to be sure footed in the water.
Here we have it, a descriptive guide of the Narrows Trek in the Zion National Park including all the necessary information and tips for a safe hike through the Narrows. We hope you have an impeccable U.S. Trip with TravelTriangle and also a quite thrilling one!
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