I hiked The Narrows in Zion National Park and loved it!
Anyone who knows me will be well impressed by that statement, as I am not known for my hiking abilities.
I am more duvet than sleeping bag; car than hiking boot, but the good thing is you only need to walk up the rocky stream as far as I feel like and then my husband and I will eat our little picnic lunch on a rock somewhere and turn and come back.
And so we did…
Utah is spectacular with amazing national parks including Bryce Canyon, where we went next and hiked among the stunning hoodoos. There are even hot springs dotted around the State – some of which you can Scuba dive in.
We ended up hiking the Narrows a lot further than I thought we would, but I was just so curious about what was up and around the next bend. Besides, everyone was still heading forward and we’d have been like salmon swimming against the tide to turn and come back too soon!
I’ve reviewed these spectacular National Parks in the U.S. in this post which you might like to look at if you’re planning a road trip.
It was spectacular and I was knackered (although children were skipping through the rocky river like gazelles while I had a rented walking pole).
This post is a selection of the 150 photos I took (don’t worry, there’s only 11) and covers what you need to know before you hike the Narrows (scroll to the bottom). And hike it you must!
Zion National Park is one of five national parks in Utah and is home to the famous Narrows hike is along the ankle and sometimes waist-deep narrowest part of the Virgin River in the Zion Canyon between towering red rock walls up to 1000ft high.
Check current conditions at nps.gov/zion
You can start at the top and hike down in a day. It’s a 16-mile hike and you need a permit, or do what most of us did and start at the bottom at the Narrows, hiking up till we felt we’d seen enough and turn around and walk back down with the river.
To get to the river, we drove from our hotel in Springdale (I loved this town) to the car park, and grabbed our snacks and hired waterproof shoes and poles from Zion Outfitters, then took the park bus to the river entrance. (See a list of hotels in Springdale on Booking.com. We stayed at Hampton Inn).
We walked about half an hour from where the bus dropped us 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, the appetiser, to the mighty Narrows.
But if you have little ones with you then swimming here and taking photos of the nearly half a kilometre high surrounding rock walls is very cool.
And you’ll see these little critters on the way too! (That’s a big deal for us Kiwis as we don’t have squirrels in New Zealand 🙂 It’s forbidden to feed them ($100 fine) but they seem not bothered by humans at all.
Water got from ankle to gusset high. It can be a full swim in parts, so dress appropriately! I would also advise renting a pole as well as proper boots (details below) as the rocks, while mostly stable, can be wobbly and the river current in places can be a little tricky.
7 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 Outfitter, 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 they 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 – 90F – and I didn’t need one).
- Take water and snacks – and plenty of battery life in your camera!
- You can buy snacks in a small supermarket next to where you rent the hiking gear.
Where to stay at Zion National Park:
There are several hotels in Springdale (where the entrance to Zion National Park is located, but we stayed at the Hampton Inn. It’s a Hilton property and was only about 2 years old when we were there with the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains in front and behind.
Across road are plenty of places to eat but we found Oscar’s Cafe, a yummy Mexican restaurant that we ended up going to both nights as it was such fun and food was great.
Utah in summer is a wonderful time of year to come. I have plenty more posts on our road trip of Utah. You might like to read about my next hike (pfffft, but I did it!) of one of the trails at Bryce Canyon here …
If you feel like a hot swim, you’ll love my post on 7 stunning Hot Springs in Utah.