Everything You Need To Know About Hiking The Narrows In Zion National Park
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Everything You Need To Know About Hiking The Narrows In Zion National Park

Challenging Hikes
Dr. Diana Rangaves
Dr. Diana Rangaves Jul 3, 2023

We all have the same 24 hours in a day; while some will spend their days catching up on their favorite series, adventure lovers are more often than not spending the day enjoying nature. One such great place to do this is in the Narrows of Zion National Park. This natural beauty will give avid hikers a day of scenic walks, beautiful selfie moments, and fresh air.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park.

Trail Overview

The Narrows in Zion National Park is the narrowest part of Zion Canyon, hence the name. This is one of the park’s most popular areas where the gorges can go as narrow as 20 to 30 feet wide, with the gorge walls as high as two thousand feet tall. You can only imagine how tiny you would feel in these gorges. Hiking the narrows in Zion national park will have you wade upstream through the Virgin River.

 The trail’s distance depends on how far you can go. The Narrows hike can take you 5 to 9.4 miles for a round trip with a hiking time of three to seven plus hours.

Hiking the Narrows at Zion National Park is not a year-round thing to do. This is because there is potential for flash floods in the area as well as rising water levels. Therefore, the best time to hike this trail is during summer when the water level drops and is warmest.

Permits and Regulations

To hike the Narrows in Zion, you must first obtain permits in person a day before. As mentioned, with the potential for flash floods, it is beneficial to check in with the park on the best times to hike as they continuously evaluate the weather. This ensures that you and your fellow hikers are safe.

Are you a sleep-under-the-stars or lodge person? Zion has three camping grounds and a lodge you can check into after your adventure. For camping lovers, make reservations early, as some may be open or closed depending on the time of year.

Trail Highlights and Points of Interest

What is a trail without highlights? Zion boasts 2000 feet of cliffs, a waterfall, colorful hanging gardens, and more than 1000 plant species. The hanging gardens harbor the Zion shooting stars, western and golden columbines, and scarlet monkeyflowers.

Did you know Zion is home to the threatened Mexican spotted owls? The narrows in Zion National Park have the highest number of these owls, where they breed and raise their young ones in the narrow canyons. The canyon is also home to 78 animal species, 30 reptile species, 291 bird species, and 8 fish species.

The Zion Canyon was home to native people such as Virgin Branch Puebloan and Fremont Indian groups and nomadic pastoralists over 7,000 years ago. In the late 1800s, the first European American settlers arrived and named the area Zion, which is a Hebrew word for sanctuary or refuge.

Safety Considerations

The most important thing to remember is the potential flash floods in the canyons. Therefore, check in with the park on the best times to explore Zion National Park. There are also possible thunderstorm showers in the afternoons. Awareness of these weather patterns and changes helps you protect yourself when exploring the beautiful trail.

Carry enough water, around 3 liters or more, and hydrate frequently. Using a walking stick will help as there is a risk of slipping when going upstream. Before you start the hike, ensure you have the park emergency contact to reach them easily.

Planning and Preparation

The trail is quite scenic and adventurous; however, you must prepare well before you embark on this adventure. First, you will need closed hiking shoes, a walking stick, and polypropylene or wool clothes. Why? The temperatures can go as high as 100 degrees. However, the gorge will remain relatively cool, and these clothes ensure insulation. Do some practice exercises such as jogs and walks, and plan the route well to include water breaks and food breaks. You will need that energy!

Camping and Accommodation

The canyon has three campsites open at different times of the year, depending on when you visit. Plan ahead by making reservations as spots fill up very quickly. Depending on your needs, some spots will allow for tents while others have full lodging options.

Food and Water

Carrying enough water, food, snacks, a hat, a guidebook, and whistles is advisable. Why leave without taking some Instagram-worthy pictures? Carry your camera to capture the scenery, flora, and fauna. A hiking trail backpack would be ideal for a comfortable hike. Hiking boots are necessary and remember to abide by the “Leave No Trace principle”; therefore, carry all your trash in sealable bags and, in case you need a washroom, use one before you leave for the Narrows in Zion National Park.

Hiking Tips and Techniques

Hikes can be challenging, especially if you are inexperienced. As you go uphill, you need to maintain a certain rhythm. Take breaks while you go downhill, and apply the zigzag technique of downhill traversing to maintain balance and saftety. Maintaining an upright posture and not leaning forward or backward to keep the center of gravity low will help with balance.

 Environmental Awareness

The common saying, “Protect nature, and it will protect you,” governs some regulations at the Narrows of Zion National Park. You must dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, e.g., stones and plants, and keep the canyon walls graffiti-free.

People Ask: Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park

What are the Narrows in Zion National Park

It is a hiking trail that is 20-30 feet wide, some going as low as 2000 feet deep, with an upstream trail through the Virgin River with sometimes waist-deep water levels.

Am I safe when hiking The Narrows?

Safety is not guaranteed because of the flash floods potential. Talk to the rangers are they are constantly monitoring the weather.

Are children allowed on the trail?

Children can hike but remember the trail is quite challenging, and the water may rise to a waist-length height, which may not be safe for younger kids.

How long is The Narrows hike?

The Zion Narrows hike is 5 to 9.4 miles for a round trip with a hiking time of three to seven plus hours.

Are we allowed to swim in the river?

Remember the potential of flash floods? It is not advisable as the water may come in with high currents and sweep you away.

Which permits do I need for the Narrows Zion National Park hike?

To hike the narrows in Zion, you must first obtain permits in person a day before.

What is the best time to hike The Narrows?

The best seasons for the hike are summer and early fall.

Can I get a guided tour at the Narrows in Zion National Park?

Yes, you can if you need one and are an inexperienced hiker.

Which species inhabit the Narrows hike Zion Canyon route?

The canyon is home to 78 animal species, 30 reptile species, 291 bird species, 7 amphibian species and 8 fish species.

Can I camp at Zion Canyon?

The canyon has three campsites open, and you must make a reservation beforehand.

What’s Next?

Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park is quite a thrilling experience. It is a thrilling experience to explore nature. Remember to check in with the park to confirm if trails are closed, campsites are open, and when is the best time to go down the trails, as the flash floods are a major risk for these trails. Remember, there are so many scenic trails to discover worldwide; therefore, responsibly explore and enjoy the trail as much as possible.

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