One of Zion National Park’s most popular attractions is an area known as “The Narrows.” This is a section of Zion Canyon where a river bed is surrounded by steep rock walls. The Virgin River and its tributaries have etched this landscape for thousands of years, and their work continues as they erode the sandstone of the area.
This 16 mile long trek is well known as it has received international attention as it is very photogenic with its steep walls and wide range of red and orange hues. Perhaps another reason why this is a popular destination is that the trail is a creek bed full of cool and refreshing water. This helps keep hikers cool even during hot summer afternoons.
Getting to The Narrows is easy as the trailhead is at the end of the main roadway in Zion Canyon and at Chamberlains Ranch northwest of the park. During summer months -- the best season to hike here -- the national park’s shuttle stops at the Zion Canyon trailhead frequently from the early morning into the early evening. All visitors can drive to the trailhead in private cars during winter months when there are less visitors in the park.
It is important to note that caution is required when embarking on a hike up The Narrows. Since the river is surrounded on both sides by steep canyon walls, rain in the area is shunted into a narrow space as it travels down the river. This creates a potentially fatal wall of water; people have died in the past while hiking here. However, this only happens when it rains in the area -- not necessarily in The Narrows -- and as long as hikers stay out of them when it rains, they are safe.
Since hikers have to traverse a rocky river bed, study shoes that can get wet are required. Here at Zion Rock and Mountain Guides we rent out shoes and other equipment designed for such conditions. We also host guided tours throughout up The Narrows. Please visit our the Zion Rock and Mountain Guides homepage for more information.