Our last night camping went well, and we were woken up around 8am to the blazing sun. At this point in the trip, we were pros at taking down the tent and packing everything into the rental car. Once everything was packed up, we stopped at the bath house on the way out to change and get ready for our final hike.
We couldn’t come to Zion without seeing the Narrows!
There are 3 ways to hike the Narrows.
- A day hike from the bottom and back: you will start by hiking the Riverside Walk and make your way to the river. In less than a mile, you will be hiking in some of the narrowest parts of the canyon. There is no end destination, so you will have to hike up and return the way you came. You don’t need any permits for this option.
- Day hike from top to bottom: This get’s even more difficult. Round trip, this is an all day, 16 mile hike that absolutely requires a permit.
- Overnight hike from top to bottom: A strenuous hike requires 2 days, along with a permit to complete. You can only stay a maximum of one night, and need to be cautious of flash flooding. Also, it’s important to pack accordingly.
Thankfully, there is an easy route that can accommodate people who have less time, young children, or aren’t ready for such a strenuous hike. If you want to experience the beauty of the Narrows without all the fuss, you can complete the Riverside Walk. This is a paved trail that follows the Virgin River up to the start of the Narrows. To access the Riverside Walk, you’ll need to hop on the Zion shuttle bus and take it to the last stop.
Zion National Park uses a fantastic system to help cut down on the traffic in the park. During their busy season, they close down the scenic drive that leads to a majority of their trail-heads. They restrict all parking to the main parking lots, or the small town outside of the park. Then, a shuttle system runs up and down the scenic drive taking people to their desired trails. This helps tremendously, and they run a multitude of buses at once so you’ll never wait more than 10 minutes.
After hopping off the shuttle, we began the Riverside Walk. As a suggestion, we recommend wearing warmer clothing for this hike. Not only is the water freezing, but the breeze is cool and it’s hard for the sun to reach you when you’re walking alongside the river.
As you’re walking, you’ll notice that the water is a gorgeous emerald blue. If you have time, you can take a break and enjoy it!
Only a select few will actually hike the entire 9.4 mile trail. At least 60% of this hike is spent in the water. The further along you go, you can find yourself walking, wading, or even swimming! Once you make it to the end of the Riverside walk, you have the choice to enter the water, or turn around. What most people do, is they complete the riverside walk, which is very simple. When they get to the part where they need to start walking through water (which is the start of the Narrows), they either turn around or they just walk through the water for a little bit. We would highly recommend walking through the water, just so you can get the real effect and take in the amazing views.
When you first enter the water, there will be a ton of people. We recommend going a little further than most of these people, just because you’ll have the opportunity to take everything in without all the screaming kids and other tourists.
Be mindful of the weather, because flash flooding within the Narrows can be deadly!
We spent about two hours wandering and taking pictures of everything. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and Taylor and I decided that we are going to do the full 9.4 miles the next time we we’re visiting.
Hiking the Narrows was a great way to top off our time in Zion. Next stop, Las Vegas!