Hiking the Narrows at Zion

Will there be time to hike the Narrows at Zion in the morning before we leave?

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  • edited May 2018
    arb wrote:
    Will there be time to hike the Narrows at Zion in the morning before we leave?

    You probably need to call Tauck on this one to get a good idea of timing, etc. Unless Tauck (or Zion) provides transport to and from the start of the 1 mi. accessible Riverside Walk (see below) I doubt if any previous travelers have hiked the Narrows to be able to answer your question. While it is only about 10+ minutes by car from the Zion Park Lodge where you will be staying to the Riverside Walk Trailhead, it is another 3.6 mi. / 55 min. to The Narrows. It is a 2 to 1/2 hour hike each way from the Lodge to The Narrows. This is something you would be wise to research carefully. Read about it and watch the video here. To get a sense of the layout, you can check the locations on Google Maps.

    Unless you get going very early, hiking from the Lodge doesn't leave much time to check out of your room, eat breakfast (lunch is on your own so you could skip that), hike to The Narrows via Floor of the Valley Rd/Zion Canyon Scenic Dr, and do some exploring of The Narrows, and hike back in time to catch the Tauck bus.

    What kind of shape are you in? Do you do a lot of walking and/or hiking? When are you going? Do you plan to hike the 1 mile paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk (from the Temple of Sinawava), only, or continue on and take the more challenging walk into the in Narrows where you will be walking "in" the Virgin River- it can be slow and difficult going over slippery rocks! This can involve wading upstream for just a few minutes or it can be an all day hike since a hike through The Narrows involves getting your feet wet - there is no trail! Most people choose to start their hike from the Temple of Sinawava via the Riverside Walk and then walk upstream before turning around and hiking back down to the Temple. Conditions and water depths (and temps) vary greatly depending on the time of year. Most people hike The Narrows in the late spring and summer when the water tends to be at its warmest and the water level drops. However, this is also the time of year that storms can cause life-threatening flash floods.

    Hiking in The Narrows upstream as far as Big Spring does not require a permit. Doing the hike this way allows you to see some of the most spectacular and narrowest parts of the canyon. You can hike in the river for an hour and have a great experience, or you can hike as far as Big Spring, a strenuous, ten-mile round trip, all-day adventure.

    It sounds like an adventure if you are fit and the times work out. Or it could be like climbing Huayna Picchu from Machu Picchu on Peru and Galapagos (not enough time!) or it could be like hiking to the Sun Gate- just enough time but a bit of a strenuous hike and there is no time to dillydally. : )

  • Good summary, Alan.

    I've been to Zion several times, but not with Tauck. It's an amazing place. By all means, call Tauck for time details. If there is insufficient time for The Narrows, you might consider the Angel's Landing hike. The trail head is right across the street from Zion Lodge. It's fairly strenuous in spots, with steep climbs. It's also the scariest hike I've ever done! There are areas where you walk on a narrow ledge with a 1000 ft drop on one side, aided by chains attached to the cliff wall on the other side.

    This hike will take 4-6 hours, so you'll need to start early. If you're really into hiking and in good shape, it's best to do Zion on your own some time, so you don't have the time pressure of needing to back for departure. You'd probably also want to shower after the hike, which you won't be able to do if you cut it close. I stayed with one of my (adult) kids at Zion Lodge, booking about 6 months in advance. Another nice thing about doing on your own is, as a guest at Zion Lodge, you get a permit to drive your car to the Lodge's lot, then you can drive yourself anywhere in the park, rather than depend on shuttles.
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