Great Hikes: The Zion Narrows

Explore one of the world's best canyon treks
Staff Writer

The most famous hike in Zion National Park and one of the world's best canyon hikes is through the North Fork of the Virgin River, also known as the "Zion Narrows." The river takes you past moss-covered boulders, hanging gardens and ponderosa pines whose roots stretch down to the water. 

If you take this trip, you will get wet—very wet. On a hike through the Zion Narrows, you will spend about 60 percent of your time in the water and the rest on the riverbank. The water is usually less than knee-deep, however you may find pools where you will submerge past  your waist. For this reason, quick-drying clothing and sturdy water shoes, such as KEENs, are a good idea.

This hike can be tailored to any level. If you have small children or prefer an easier trip, you can hike up the river far as you feel comfortable and then head back down. 

If you're more adventurous, we recommend the top-down approach. It's most strenuous option, but it will give you a full day of aerobic adventure as you follow the river 16 miles. If you choose to follow this route, you'll need a permit. Make sure to allow 10 to 14 hours or an overnight trip to complete the journey.

Distance: Up to 16 miles

Elevation Change: Varies

Difficulty Rating: Varies

Duration: 1-2 days

Best Time to Go: May - September

How to get there:

Fly into Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, rent a car and drive to Zion National Park. For specific directions to Zion and to the start of the hike from the bottom or the top of the Zion Narrows, visit the National Park Service website

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