Hiking The Narrows!! / by Alex Gesse

Canon 6D + Rokinon 14mm, 0.3 sec ISO 100

Canon 6D + Rokinon 14mm, 0.3 sec ISO 100

Last year I had the pleasure to hike The Narrows at Zion National Park in Utah. This was such a wonderful experience that I recommend anyone visiting Utah to stop by and try for themselves.

Zion offers shuttle bus to different parts of the park until a certain day of the year, this year is being offered until October 25th. Take the free shuttle until you get to the last stop at Temple of Sinawava. There are some restrooms and water fountains there. I recommend you filling up your bottle of water before taking on the hike.

The hike will start with a 1.1 mile one way through the riverside trail, a paved trail leading up to The Narrows. 

The Narrows is a 9.4 miles round trip trail, no permit is required to hike up to Big Spring. Most people will try to reach the "Wall Street" portion of the canyon, about 2.5 miles one way to get there. I went a bit farther, I think I went almost up to Big Spring before returning. The hike is stunning from start to finish and it never stops wowing you. It's jaw dropping at every corner and it keeps getting better the farther you go. You will be crossing the Virgin River at several points and some areas you have to hike within the chilling water of the river itself for quite a lot, especially farther ahead in which the trail also gets narrower. You will be amazed by those colossal tall sandstone walls that accompany you the entire time. It makes you feel so tiny and a bit cold I might add as the sunlight doesn't even reach the bottom of the canyon for the most part. There are areas in which you can hike through the sand as well, areas to get some rest, eat and recover some energy before continuing on.

When I went late October, the water was pretty cold so I stopped by a local rental store (Zion Adventure Company) outside of the park to rent some equipment. They have all kinds of stuff there for a good price. I rented the Cold Water Drypants Package which came with dry pants, canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, and a hiking stick in which I strongly recommend but I did not use, instead I was using my tripod which was a mistake, by the end of the hike my tripod lost all their rubber from their feet.

Having good shoes is so important. For the most part this hike is filled with slippery loose rocks and sometimes the water is higher and you cannot see well, not having a good ankle support might ruin your day, so get good shoes. A hiking stick is also a must as you will for certain lose balance from time to time and without it you get fall down, especially because the river stream sometimes is also strong. For the most part the water reaches up to your knees, while other times it may go up to your waist or higher.

Also, make sure you protect your electronic equipment. Use dry bags or something to prevent water from coming in and damaging your stuff.


In the end, this is a must stop for those wanting a wonderful time at Zion. Remember, you can stop and come back and any point of the hike, so go as far you feel comfortable, take many photos and have a great time.