The Narrows, Zion National Park

  • Highlights: River hike, rock formations, amazing views
  • Distance: up to 9.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation change: up to 334 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate to strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Temple of Sinawava, park shuttle stop # 9
  • Website: Zion National Park
  • Beer Pairings: Zion Brewery—Zion Pale Ale & Canyon Lager

The Hike:

We recently posted a hike in the Grand Canyon and we started reminiscing about some of our favorite western hikes. The narrows in Zion National Park is an all-time classic hike. We went on this hike in 2012 with our youngest daughter Rachel. Flash floods are a serious concern, so do not attempt this hike if rain is in the forecast.

For most of this hike you will be in the Virgin River so proper footwear and a sturdy walking stick are essential. Many outdoor outfitters in nearby Springdale rent the equipment and footwear you will need for this hike. 

The hike begins on Riverside Walk, an easy trail that runs beside the Virgin River. The first mile is on dry land and then the fun begins. For the next few miles you will be hiking in knee to waist deep water. The terrain on the river floor ranges from sand to slippery rocks. Your walking stick and water shoes will soon be your best friends.

On the hike out, you will be traveling upstream against the current. The return hike will be much easier. Mystery Falls, a 110’ waterfall is at 1.5 miles. At 3 miles a tributary leads off to Orderville Canyon on the right. You can explore the canyon for about .5 miles to a small waterfall at which point you must return.

This section of the narrows is known as Wall Street. In some places the canyon walls tower up to 2,000’ feet above you. The views and rock formations are awesome as you wind through the narrow canyon. Most people turn around at this point and return for a round trip hike of 6 miles. It is possible to continue for another 2 miles to Big Springs which is the northern limit of the hike and makes for a ten-mile round trip.  

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

The Virgin River is so cold you may want a cup of coffee after completing this hike. Zion Lodge, right inside the park, is a great place for a post-hike beer. The Red Rock Grill and Castle Dome Cafe both have a nice selection of beer, wine, and food. They also have outdoor seating with great views of the park.

Zion Brewery in nearby Springdale makes some good beer (by Utah standards). Zion Pale Ale is an American style pale ale and when in Zion, drink a Zion Pale Ale. Canyon Lager is crisp and refreshing and once you warm up after the hike, it’s a perfect thirst quencher.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.