Narrow Escape

If you think getting wet and wild only happens river rafting, you haven’t hiked one of Zion National…

My Weekend Sherpa:

Want to do it Did it


If you think getting wet and wild only happens river rafting, you haven’t hiked one of Zion National Park’s most famous routes—the Narrows. You’re going to want waterproof boots or neoprene footwear to do this right (see preparation details below). The Narrows is a walk, and a wade—and sometimes an unexpected swim!—in the  Virgin River. Canyon walls, sometimes only 20 to 30 feet apart and rising higher than 1,000 feet, flank you the entire way. Day hiking the Narrows requires approaching it from the bottom (aka, the Bottom-up Day Hike), starting from the Temple of Sinawava. Start on the Riverside Walk, a 1-mile paved trail to the ultimate adventure point, the Gateway to the Narrows. Ready to see more? You’re gonna have to get wet! Put your hiking sticks in front of you and work your way up the river. At 1.5 miles you’ll reach Mystery Canyon Falls—a 110-foot cascade. The marquee attraction is Wall Street, reached at about 3 miles (on average, it takes people 2 hours to get there). A wander on Wall Street makes for a dramatic photo op: the walls skyrocket to 1,500 feet. Ambitious (or amphibian!) types can continue on to Boulder Pair, where things get deeper and potentially trickier. Über-adventurers with time on their side can push their way through typically more robust currents to reach the 5-mile mark, the official end for the day-hike option. Bottom’s Up for these bragging rights!

BONUS: About 2.5 miles into the Narrows you’ll encounter a detour to Orderville Canyon (this fork in the river also marks the beginning of Wall Street). We recommend exploring this less-traveled oasis on the return leg of your journey. It passes through a tranquil canyon that’s more lush than the Narrows and leads to Veiled Falls.

Zion Narrows hike
Zion Narrows hike

Some people hike in their own hiking boots, but that might limit your comfort level and cut plans short. For maximum comfort, we recommend getting outfitted and educated on the river conditions at Zion Adventure Company, 36 Lion Blvd. at the corner of Zion Park Blvd.; phone: (435) 772-1001. They’ve got info on river flow, and flash flood potential, plus essentials like hiking sticks and neoprene footwear, durable boots, waterproof pants, and dry bags. Reserve your gear in advance. No dogs in the Narrows.



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