Zion National Park’s narrow hiking trail is one of the most iconic in America and is located along the narrowest part of Zion Canyon. The trail is 16 miles long, and most of the time it goes across the river!

The most popular option is the 4.7-mile walk along the river, in one direction, from side to side. However, if these options seem a little too long or physically demanding, there are many other easy hiking options in the Narrows of Zion National Park.

At the time of our visit in May, park rangers were restricting access to bottlenecks to reduce traffic. As a result, we were not allowed to enter the area until much later. This allowed us to walk about 2.5 miles upstream, about three hours there and back.

Start the drive to the Zion Canyon Visitor Centre!

It was a blessing in disguise. It is a very difficult and slow walk. The water is freezing cold and we were not prepared at all. At one point the water came up to our heads.

We are hiking in the narrow Zion National Park!

At first we thought it wouldn’t be much higher than our ankles. Many long-distance hikers wore dry suits, boots and other items. But regardless, it was one of the most exciting rides of our lives!

Zion National Park Bypass

Zion National Park had just reopened at the time of our visit, and for that reason the shuttle was not working. That way we could take the car to the top of Zion Canyon where the bottlenecks are. This is generally not the case.

Normally, Zion Canyon’s shuttle system makes it easy for most visitors to get in and out of the park. This is largely due to the fact that the shuttle is the preferred method of accessing the hikes along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. These include Emerald Pools, Grotto, Weeping Rock, Angels Landing, Big Bend and Narrows.

Walking or biking from Springdale

You can walk or bike from the nearby town of Springdale. However, the situation will be all the more complicated because there is about eight miles between the Visitor Center and the Sinawawa Temple, where the Narrows Hike begins.

Take time to look up!

Zion National Park Lodge

Zion National Park Lodge is located on a scenic drive and is the closest place to stay to The Narrows. While staying at the hotel, guests can use the shuttle bus just outside the hotel for a 10-minute ride to Sinawawa Temple.

Tickets for the Zion Canyon system shuttle must be purchased in advance. Additionally, any questions about Zion Canyon’s shuttle system can be asked on the NPS website.

3 easy hiking choices Narrow Zion National Park

It would be nice if we all had the time and physical ability to do a full 16 mile trek. Most of us, however, do not. These are the three best options for hiking in Narrows Zion National Park.

  1. Seaside – 2.2 miles
  2. The narrow path through Riverside is 9.4 miles long.
  3. Free ride in the Narrows – x miles (recommended)

Bottom-Up Clock
The Sinava Temple 0.0 0.0
Gateway to the Narrows 0.5 1.0
The Gorge of Orderville 1-2 3.0
Start of Wall Street 1.5-3 3.0
Large spring 3-4 4.7

The starting point for all three hikes is the Sinawawa Temple, the last stop of the shuttle in the Zion Canyon system.

1. River path

The Riverside Walk is an hour-long paved trail that follows the Virgin River through Zion Canyon.  At 2.2 miles, this hike is easy. There are minor intersections and signs along the way that you should pay attention to.

Celebrate a successful adventure!

There are many opportunities to leave the boardwalk and walk along the Virgin River to avoid the crowds and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The boardwalk is also an excellent place to observe wildlife, including squirrels, mule deer, blue herons and wild turkeys.

Rock Squirrel is friendly and cute, and produces a very interesting chirp!

Seniors and disabled people may have difficulty climbing ramps with small steps. Especially after heavy rain, when the road can be slippery and covered in sand. There are also petrol stations and toilets along the route.

The river trail takes visitors through some of the most interesting forests. On the way back from the Narrows Gate, we saw a mule deer here at dusk!

The hike ends upstream at the Gateway to the Narrows, a section of the canyon so narrow that hikers must cross the river to continue up the Virginia River.

You have to respect the girl.

As a result, most visitors arriving at this point decide to turn around. Options two and three (below) continue from this point.

2. Riverwalk Narrows

The Narrows via the Riverside Walk is the most popular option for visitors who dream of visiting iconic places along the Narrows.  This route is called bottom-up (from south to north) and does not require a permit. The entire 16-mile hike is designated Top-Down (north-south) and requires a Wilderness Permit, which must be obtained three months prior to the hike.

The trip upstream can be a bit bumpy. But it’s very invigorating!

Hikers who choose this option can go no further than the Big Spring, which is 4.7 miles upstream. In addition, access to Orderville Canyon is prohibited. About 60% of the walks are in the water.

Walking the Narrows is peace, love and happiness!

The depth of the water varies according to the season. Most people choose to cruise during the warmer months, when the water temperature has risen and the water level has dropped. Therefore, hikers (1.80 m tall) must take into account that the water can reach up to their upper stomach. Also, don’t be surprised if you have to swim in certain sections.

A selfish man in a confined space!

This trip takes an average of seven to eight hours, as the river crossing in cold, fast water is slippery and bumpy. The risk of flooding increases due to the longer walking time. So check the weather in a radius of about 100 miles if it rains, or ask the park rangers for recommendations.

3. Free walking in the strait

Because of the circumstances, we tried to be as flexible as possible during our visits to the Narrows. So we decided to go as far upstream as possible and return when we had the chance:

  1. It was like we were in over our heads.
  2. Starts to feel cold or tired
  3. I felt like it was too late.

This third option is the best for those looking for a grand piano! If you think you can make it to the Big Spring, go ahead. Otherwise you don’t have to force anything.

There are beautiful places along the Jungfrau!

You can turn around at any time. More importantly, this option gives travelers a taste of the Narrows. You will take something away from this incredible experience, even if you only hike for half an hour.

Departure from influx to pressure point

We left the footbridge to the Narrows around 5:30pm and headed up the river as fast as we could with little time to spare. We took some wooden sticks left by previous hikers and left. Our first step into the water was a real shock – it was darn cold.

At some points during the walk the water almost went to our heads!

The river flowed quite fast and immediately reached above my ankles. Little did we know that in about 15 minutes she would reach her upper abdomen.

As incredible as it seems, the walk through the deep water was a little tough as we made our way up the river, from one side to the other. Many hikes that take place in the river have effects on the body.

That’s right guys, the road is a river (lol).

After about an hour both knees were a little sore, nothing serious, but worth noting. Cold water can relieve pain, but it also causes ligaments and tendons to contract, increasing the risk of injury. Therefore, high-heeled boots and knee-high socks might be a good option. Also, walk at a speed of 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.

Walking sticks

In many areas, ground visibility is obstructed and hikers must take extra precautions to avoid rolling their ankles and damaging their knees. That’s where hiking poles come in handy – they are absolutely essential for this hike. We are very grateful that we were able to retrieve a few pieces of wood from the Gateway to the Narrows.

Be safe while walking in narrow Zion

The narrow, curved sandstone walls sparkle in the sun like a cathedral. When it rains, however, they can fill up in no time with torrential rainwater, leaving hikers in the Narrows with nowhere to go.

Rocks over 1,000 m high!

If rain is predicted, it is extremely foolish to go over the bridge to the bottleneck, as the risk of flooding increases significantly. This should come as no surprise, as hikers walk between the walls of a 2,000-foot canyon. As a result, even the lightest of storms, occurring tens of miles away, can cause flooding. If a meter of water comes crashing down on you from the canyon walls, there is literally nowhere to hide.

Return to Shinawa Temple

After about 1.5 to 2 hours on the river, we decided to go back.  Although we didn’t get to the iconic places, the short time we spent in the Narrows made us want to go back and explore more. We are happy to catch a glimpse of what they are saying.

The way home seemed much easier. Eventually we let ourselves drift with the flow of the river and felt more comfortable on the field.

On the way back to the Sinawawa Temple, we couldn’t help but wish there were a few more hours of daylight. A walk through the Narrows in Zion National Park along the Virgin River is a unique experience. The adventure is so unique that you know you are doing something very special right now. It’s amazing!


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frequently asked questions

Is it difficult to hike in the Strait of Zion?

No nature permit is required for this walk. Two day hike (from Chamberlain Ranch) : The Top Down Zion Narrows is a strenuous 16-mile hike that begins at Chamberlain Ranch, a few miles northeast of Zion’s main canyon.

What do you need to walk the Narrows?

Hiking in Zion Narrows: What to bring – Bear Paw Theory

How do you drive through the Narrows in Zion?

Hiking the Narrows requires a trip to the Virgin Islands. You’ll have to get your feet wet, because there are no footprints. Most people prefer to start their walk from the Sinawawa Temple at the Riverwalk, then go up the river before returning and returning to the Sinawawa Temple.

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