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Up and Down at the Zion Narrows

I met DJ, Tyler and Kyra from Salt Lake City via Instagram.  DJ reached out to me to see if I would like to hike with them while we were at Zion National Park, Utah.  I said yes and suggested that we hike the Zion Narrows.  We met at the Visitor Center and took the 45 minute shuttle ride to the paved River Walk at Temple of Sinawava.  On the shuttle we got acquainted, made our hike plan and shared smart aleck remarks.  It was a precursor to the day to come.

Zion Narrows

Tyler, Kyra and DJ

For the uninitiated, the Zion Narrows day hike is a seven mile round trip romp through the Virgin River up a narrow canyon.  The trail starts at the paved River Walk which is an easy, scenic one mile walk to the beginning of the Narrows.  Most people stop here. To hike the Narrows, you have to enter the chilly waters of the Virgin River.  Approximately 60% of the hike is in the River’s water.  Unless you have a permit you are required to turn back at Orderville Canyon.

We carried no special equipment.  Guide services may recommend thing such as neoprene shoes and wetsuits.  I found them totally unnecessary.  The initial shock when I first entered the 55 degree water got my attention.  Within 100 yards I adjusted to it  The only spot that I was cold was at the very end of the Narrows due to elevation gain and a brisk wind.  I wore and old pair of sneakers which I disposed of after the hike.  I carried an aluminum monopod which I used as a walking stick and carried an inexpensive Fuji underwater camera for these photos.  My advice is to resist the temptation to buy expensive gear for the Narrows.  It is just not needed.

Most of the trek in the Virgin River is shallow.  There are a few bone chilling spots where the water may go above your waist.

Zion Narrows

The Narrows are, well, narrow.  The rugged beauty and colors in the canyon quickly help to explain why this is one of the signature hikes in all of the National Park system.  This scene should give the reader a perspective of what its like to hike up the Virgin River.

Zion Narrows

Water, weathering and rock combine to create incredible colors along the canyon walls.

Zion Narrows

In some spots the canyon narrows to just a few feet.

Zion Narrows

Know the weather forecast before you go.  No one wants to get caught in a flashflood between these walls.

Zion Narrows

I had such a good time with my new friends and am so grateful that they were willing to hike with me at Zion National Park.

DJ, Tyler are Kyra are passionate about Utah and Zion National Park.  They took exception to my assertion that the Yosemite Valley was the most beautiful place in America.  Having made the trek with them up the Narrows it was easy to understand their perspective that the Narrows deserved that honor.




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