June 13, 2015

Utah: I hiked breathtaking Zion National Park!

I just hiked The Narrows!

Anyone who knows me will be well impressed by that statement as I am not known for my hiking abilities. It was spectacular and I’m knackered (although children were skipping through the rocky river like gazelles), so this post is an edited version of the 150 photos I took (don’t worry, there’s only 11) and all about what you need to know before you go. And go you must!

Zion National Park is one of five national parks in Utah and is home to the famous Narrows hike along the Virgin River. You can start at the top and hike down in a day, or do what most of us did and start at the bottom, hiking up till we felt we’d seen enough and turn around and walk back down with the river.

Narrows Zion National Park

This bus brings you about 45 minutes from the Visitor Centre to the start of the trail

Narrows Zion

The end of the paved walk

Walk about half an hour from where the bus drops you off on a paved path (wheelchairs can even use this) and for some, this is as far as they go. It’s only the entré though to the mighty Narrows, but if you have little ones with you then swimming here and taking photos of the 1500ft (nearly half a kilometre) high surrounding cliffs is very cool.

Zion squirrel

Little mountain squirrel

And you’ll see these guys on the way too! It’s forbidden to feed them ($100 fine) but they seem not bothered by humans at all.

The Narrows, Zion

Off we go!

Water gets from ankle to gusset high. I would advise renting a pole with your boots (details below) as the rocks, while mostly stable, can be wobbly and the river current in places can be a little tricky.

Hiking Narrows

I’m ACTUALLY hiking the Narrows!

Narrows canyon

Then you get nice sandy spots like this to splash through

Narrows Zion

Pull over for lunch or a water stop in these little nooks along the way

Narrows Zion Utah

And remember to stop and gaze at the wonder!

Zion Utah

About 2.5 to 3 hours up and things really begin to get narrow!

Zion National Park

I must stop taking photos now!

Narrows, Zion

Ok, last one 🙂

5 things to know before you hike The Narrows:

  • You hike at your own pace and for as far as you like – because you have to hike back down the same way! However we hiked up nearly 3 hours (with a little lunch stop on a rock) and came back in 1.5 hours as the river current was with us.
  • Some people were wearing just trainers or hiking sandals, but we rented proper river hiking boots from Zion Outfitters, right beside the entrance to Zion National Park. It’s US$25 for boots and proper river socks – and well worth it as they don’t slip and provide excellent ankle support. We also rented poles from them.
  • It costs $12 each to enter the park. Tickets are available at the entrance. The bus to the bottom of the Narrows is included and there are several stops along the route for other short hikes.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen and light hiking clothes – you’ll be getting wet! Take a jacket (although today it was 33 degrees C and I didn’t need one). Take water and snacks – and plenty of battery life in your camera!

Where to stay:

There are several hotels in Springdale (where the entrance to Zion National Park is located, but we’re staying at the Hampton Inn. It’s a Hilton property and only about 2 years old with the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains in front and behind.

Hampton Inn Zion National Park

Home!

For more information on The Narrows, click here for Zion National Park >>

And for more info on visiting this cool state, click onto Visit Utah>>

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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