Welcome To “The Narrows!”
It’s one of the world’s most beautiful – and unique hikes…because you not only hike along the gorgeous Virgin River in Utah’s Zion National Park, you hike THROUGH IT as well!
Here’s the proof of that, but let’s go back to the beginning and take you along on this amazing adventure!
Zion National Park is a massive wildlife area nestled in Utah’s southern mountains – with incredible views like this:
The View From Angel’s Peak!
I took this shot from 1,300 feet up, after an incredible hike that I will be sharing soon…you can point your camera in any direction and be stunned by the beauty of the area:
Today however, we are not going up, but IN – as in to an area called “The Narrows”, for reasons you will soon see!
The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. You can see The Narrows by hiking along the paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava. If you wish to see more, you will be walking in the Virgin River.
After one mile along the river, it was time to go in! As I said in my video, the water temperature on this day was 62 degrees – many told us that on other hikes it was so cold they had to wear drysuits to avoid hypothermia!
The depth of the water was ankle deep to knee for most of the hike, with only two times where the water came up to our waist.
The hiking sticks are vital, as the water is flowing briskly, and the rocks are very slippery…it’s not as easy to get “action” shots, but we tried!
Near a sot called Mystery Canyon is this waterfall, and we were told that overnight rock climbers like to sleep at the top and then rappel down to applause from the hikers below…
The entire roundtrip of the “Bottom Up” hike in The Narrows in just over nine miles…there is also a separate “top down” hike which takes more than a day, and a permit is required…I don’t see how it can be any more spectacular than this:
As the National Park website states:
“At least 60% of the hike is spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the river. Travel is rough and slippery in cold, fast flowing water, on top of slippery rocks. High water levels can prevent access sometimes.”
The Narrows is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the park, because many people are injured while traipsing through the river: twisting ankles when falling in the sometime-fast-moving water…but it is worth it for these spectacular views all around you as you make your way through the river:
And this is a great example of why it’s called “The Narrows” – there are spots where it closes in above you – and that allowed me to get one of my favorite “upside down” shots:
This goes on for miles, and I tried to capture a bit of it on video as we meandered through canyon after canyon:
We spent more than 5 hours hiking, and could have gone further – except there is a complicated system for getting the free shuttle passes, and if you don’t you have to get a private shuttle, which is much more expensive.
The shuttles have very specific arrival and departure times, so I backfired our hike so that we’d have time to make it back out of The Narrows without risking our return trip out of the park – as it’s almost 6 miles from the entrance of Zion to The Narrows!
We managed to get more shots inside The Narrows than I will ever need to share, and with so many others hiking around you, there is always someone willing to get a shot of you deep in the river!
Alex dubbed me “River Man” when she shared this picture of me in the Virgin River, and all of my Instagram friends had a good time with it:
This is my favorite picture: us in the river with Alex proudly sporting her “Alexander Hamilton” hat – she got a lot of compliments on it!
Finally, our time in the river was up and we had to turn around to go back, but here’s how far we got:
We had a fantastic day: the weather was perfect, the warmer refreshingly brisk and not flowing too much – a perfect way to explore one of the world’s most beautiful sites!
There is so much more to share from our trip to Zion, including our trip up the side of the mountain – here’s part of the trail:
It was even more dangerous than it looks, especially at the top! I will be sharing this soon, but check out the traffic jam at the top!
If you want a safer, closer to home hiking experience, how about Solstice Canyon in Malibu California?
This spectacle hike takes you high above the Pacific Ocean, and you can see how we did it by clicking on my story here:
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