Summary: You're on sidewalk for the first mile, but once you descend the seven rose-colored sandstone steps at the end of the Riverside Walk and enter the turquoise water of the Virgin River, everything you thought you knew about hiking changes. The trail is the river. The river is the trail.
Fossil sand dunes rise 2000 feet above your head as you repeatedly ford and wade up the gorge. Go as far as you can (Big Springs is the day hiker's limit) but do take time out just to look. Many make the mistake of treating this trail like a freeway and they miss many of the subtlties including the fine layers of sandstone in the rocks, kodachrome markings, dippers skimming the stream, odd formations such as the Mushrooms, and the silence of many spots along the route.
Take your time in the Narrows. See more of it.
(Hiking to Big Springs adds 3.7 miles and 2 hours to the trip.)
Trailhead: The Zion Canyon Visitor Center crops up just north of the Springdale Park Entrance on Utah Highway 9.
From April until October, a shuttle bus service is available to take you to the trailhead. Get off at the last stop which is Temple of Sinawava. The Riverside Walk trail is clearly marked.
Travel in the Narrows is not recommended in the winter and spring months. Check at the visitor center for conditions at all times.
Be properly equipped if you plan to go past Mystery Falls! Contact Zion Adventure Co. for rentals.
Trail Guides for The Narrows via Riverside Walk, Zion NP:
Utahs National Parks
by Adkison (Wilderness Press)
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
by Erik Molvar (Falcon Publishing)
Best Seasons: Fall, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Zion National Park, (435)772-3256
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joel Sax, who has posted 51 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kate on 1/2/2008
My husband and I had a great time in the Narrows September, 07. The temperature was soaring, and the river was wonderfully refreshing. People leave their walking sticks behind, and we picked up a couple of them. We saw several "cool" young men trying the hike the narrows barefoot, without walking sticks. They were indeed cool when they fell in over and over again. By the time we were done, we were wishing we'd forked over some buckage for the water shoes. Our feet were pretty blistered, but it was well worth it to do this hike in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Reviewed by Michelle on 7/23/2005
Our family did this hike in early October of 2004. It is incredible. As the canyon walls soar above you, and narrow to only 20 feet apart, one gains a new perspective. It is an awesome experience to feel so small, and to revel in the solitude of it. Rent the boots designed for hiking in water at one of the local outfitters. The neoprene sock and water draining boots make this a much more comfortable experience. Don't miss this hike -- as long as the skies are clear!
Reviewed by Eric on 12/3/2003
I've done many hikes, and this is still one of my favorites, if not my favorite. One of the most beautiful places in the world!
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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