Zion National Parkview website
Zion National Park
Springdale, UT 84767
The Narrows Description
The once-in-a-lifetime experience of walking in a river between cliff walls looming above like nature's skyscrapers is an absolute must-do for anyone with teenagers, and can even be attempted for short distances with young children. The entire hike is 16 miles each way, with an elevation gain of 200 feet. There's no actual trail—you'll be hiking in the rushing river itself, sometimes wading in hip-deep water, sometimes walking on the banks of the Virgin River. "Exhilarating, unique, amazing" is how one teen described it.
School-Age Kids: Although not an ideal hike for younger kids because the water can be deep in some places, many families enjoy a short walk up the Narrows with youngsters, jumping from rock to rock and plowing through the water.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Consider getting a $5 permit and doing a backcountry trip. Park rangers will shuttle you to a campsite in the late afternoon for an overnight stay, and you spend the following day walking down the river.
- Check the weather first. Flashfloods are common in the area. The park service strongly emphasizes that all visitors should check the forecast before heading out on this hike.
- Take the shuttle. Get off at Temple of Sinawava and go half a mile on the Riverside Walk, where The Narrows begins.
- Wear sturdy shoes with ankle support. The rocks are slippery.
- Cooler in the canyon water. Even if it's over 100 degrees in the park, it will be cooler in the water. Wear layers.
- Bring water. There is no place to purchase supplies for miles around.
- Outfitters in Springdale. Visit one of the sporting goods stores in Springdale before you venture out to rent specially designed water shoes, Neoprine socks, and poles. In June and July the water is warm, but other times of year a dry suit may also be required.
Just the Facts
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk.
Recommended Time: Half day