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“Awesome way to cool off!”
Review of The Narrows

The Narrows
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Zion's most popular hiking trail is also its most dangerous due to occasional flash floods.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Hiked this trail with two 8 yr olds, 6 yr old, 5 yr old, 3 yr old and 2 yr old even 71 yr old super fit grandma. Be ready to get wet. Make sure your shoes protect your toes, a lot of shifting rocks underfoot to stub your toes on. I wore my regular hiking shoes, knowing they would get wet , also knowing that in June it was warm enough to dry them out overnight. A hiking pole is a plus. Most in our group of 11 had one, all the kids had one and grandma had two. Carry plenty of water with you to stay hydrated. Keep your electronics water proofed. Carry snacks too. June was in the 90s. Go only as far as you think your group can handle. The views were spectacular, a camera is a good idea, but pack it away while actually hiking, taking it out of water proofing as needed. The trail starts out paved from the tram stop to the actual trailhead. Have fun!

1  Thank Mamatita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 23, 2013

We went when the water was low and the air warm. The cool water made the hike pleasant. Because the water was low, our 5 year old grandson made the hike, too. Check rangers for daily conditions.
If conditions are severe, at least make the hike on the paved trail from the shuttle to the trail head. You will get an idea what it's like further up the canyon while staying warm, safe and dry.

Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

we first hiked the narrows over four years ago and we continue to go back year after year. the best piece of advice we received before our first trip......bring hiking poles. unless you feel like falling over a few times. in the summer heat, the water can be refreshing. protect your gear from getting wet by using a dry bag or at the very least a ziploc bag for the important stuff. we bought quick dry water shoes but we could have gotten by with an old pair of shoes that we didn't care about anymore. the scenery is amazing! a water proof camera is a must. riding the tram back down canyon, i thought to myself, "that was the best hike ever!" i feel as if i could hike in that river forever.

1  Thank bravebears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Hiking the narrows was the true highlight of our 2-week western vacation in June 2013. The hike was fun and adventurous. I recommend it strongly to all who are able to make the hike. Below is some information and tips so if you choose to make the hike, the Narrows will be the highlight of your vacation as well!

A bit of information on our hiking capabilities so my comments will be in perspective of our abilities. Our hiking group for the narrows consists of two adults in their later 40's and two children 8 and 14 years old. We typically enjoy day hikes in the 3-4 mile length range of moderate to slightly strenuous difficulty. Being we are traveling with a smaller child and that we like to take a lot of pictures we typically take a bit longer than advertised to complete a hike. Our trip through part of the Narrows (bottom up) took us ~8 hours in and out. We travel with full daypacks containing plenty of food, water, extra cloths and a full first aid kit.

The river rocks will be slick, so be sure to wear good ankle supportive footwear (ideally hiking boots). We did not want to wreck our boots so we each wore an old pair of sneakers we would throw away at the end of the hike. If we did it again we would wear hiking boots.

A good stick or hiking pole is also required it will help you maintain balance in the river. We found the pole to be a necessity. Don't go without one. Also, a wooden pole is better than a hiking pole as the wooden pole can support your full weight as you navigate the river.

There is a company that rents water boots, water socks and poles for ~$21 per day. I don't think it is required, but if you don't want to prepare or end up with wet hiking boots, it is an option.

Starting your hike of the Narrows from the "bottom up" starts after a 1 mile paved walk from the last bus stop at the end of the canyon road. We spent the night at Zion Lodge so we caught the bus at the lodge and road to the end of the line. There are bathrooms and water at the bus stop. This is a good place to check your pack and make any other last minute preparations. The 1-mile river walk is paved and easy. At the end of the walk a set of stairs leads down into the river and you are off. The flow rate of the river will greatly impact your hike so be sure to check with the Park Service to make sure the current flow rate is within you capabilities and that no flash flooding is expected. Flashfloods in the canyon can and have been deadly, so do not skip this step. For our hike no flooding was expected and the river flow rate was pretty low ~30 cu ft /s. Perfect for our abilities.

As we set off up canyon it became obvious early on that this was going to be a bit slow going, for the first mile or two you are in and out of the water traveling across sand bars and through river crossings. On our day the water level was up to knee deep during this part of the river. The bottom of the river is rocky in places and sandy in others so watch your footing and use the pole.

Quickly the walk becomes amazing; you follow the river through narrow canyons with steep walls. As with most good things it does take some time and distance to reach the best part of the walk. The further up canyon the harder the hike became (maybe we were just getting tired). The water got deeper and there were more rapids areas. The view also becomes more and more amazing. Soon we were hiking through the narrow river with shear rock walls towering above us. The photo opportunities are numerous. We had never done anything like this before and it was truly amazing. We were trying to hike through Wall Street as far as a water fall (we were told a lot of day hikers go this far). We did not make it that far as the water started to get deep in places and our 8 year old would have been over his head. We had had some problems with him getting very cold earlier in the hike, so we recognized that for us we would stop at this point and return. The return walk was more difficult as we were now tired and the light reflection off the water made it more difficult to see rocks etc. After ~8 hours we climbed out of the water back at the river walk. We looked at each other, WOW.

Tips:
A few tips that I think will help make your hike more enjoyable:

1. Go early. Like all my reviews I advocate getting an early start. The Narrows hike is no different, but for a different reason. If you leave early (we were in the river by 7AM) you will have the outbound leg of your hike almost alone. It was amazing moving through the tall slot canyons with a feeling of solitude. I will never forget the feeling. On our return hike we encountered the crowds who had departed at ~10AM. They would not get to be alone in the canyon. Also, later in the day, once we got close to the river walk, lots of people were swimming and playing in the river. Felt more like a beach festival than a hike. I'll recommend again for the best experience go early.

2. An early departure also means it will be a bit chilly in the canyon before the sun gets high enough in the sky to warm the area. It was a lot colder than we thought. As mentioned our youngest got pretty cold after falling in the water. Be sure to wear light easy drying clothes (no cotton) and bring some dry clothes in your dry bag. For a few minutes we had to work pretty hard to warm our son.

3. As mentioned above bring and use the hiking stick. You will have a lot more fun. Even with it you may slip and fall into the water. We left early and there was 10 or 15 sticks lying on the ground at the entrance to the river, but I'm sure these will be gone by 9 or 10 AM.

4. If you are not in the best of shape be sure to allow plenty of time for the return trip. We really could tell the difference, being tired on the way back. Also, know your limitations.

5. Be sure to check with the Park Service about river conditions. We talked with the Hiking information folks at Zion Lodge about the conditions and got very wrong information. Check with a park ranger, you can better prepare for water flows and levels etc.

6. Bring plenty of food and water. It takes a lot of energy to hike through the water. Also the water can be cold, which will use more energy. Drink lots of water. If you have to go, no one will ever know.

All in all this was a fantastic hike and strongly recommended. If you can't do the whole thing, hike as far as your abilities take you, you will not be disappointed. Happy Travels!

10  Thank PzTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 20, 2013

Hiking the Narrows made us feel like overgrown kids just goofing off in the water. My wife, teenage son, and I had a blast!

This was such a fun hike, because it was so DIFFERENT from anything else we've done. I expected to be impressed as the canyon narrowed and walls grew taller -- and the Narrows did not disappoint. Hiking all the way up to the end of the Wall Street section took us about three-and-a-half hours (including a bunch of stops for lunch etc.), but the time just FLEW by. The hike back took only an hour-and-a-half, mainly because we sped our pace when we heard thunder and felt rain. (We obviously didn't want to risk a flash flood.)

My waterproof camera did a decent job, but in retrospect I wish I had taken my nicer digital SLR. The water never got up past my knees (except when I jumped into a deep part on purpose, sans backpack), and we had a dry bag just in case. A nicer camera would have definitely resulted in more stunning images.

Oh, and about gear? My wife and son rented the special boots and socks from the Zion Adventure Company in Springdale, while I decided simply to go with my low-cut hiking shoes. No regrets; my shoes and feet fared well. We all rented hiking sticks, which I'd regard as almost mandatory. Doing without hiking sticks might have been possible, but I think I would have then spent too much time concentrating on my footing, taking my enjoyment level down a notch. My footing was much more secure than what I'd imagined it might be; I never had the feeling like I was "walking on bowling balls in the water," as I think I read from another reviewer.

Overall, an awesome experience!

2  Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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