The Zion National Park shuttle service is frequent see here for the Zion National Park shuttle hours and Zion National Park shuttle schedule in and really easy to use.
For the Zion Narrows shuttle, get off at the last stop the Temple of Sinawava stop , at the far end of the park. The trip takes about 45 minutes from the visitor center. We took the Zion National Park shuttle to Narrows at am and this was early enough to beat the crowds. Zion National Park riverside walk is pretty and will take you to the beginning of the slot canyon. It takes about minutes. There are two options for hiking the Narrows, Zion.
Bottom up which I did — this is the Zion narrows day hike or top down, which involves being dropped off at the starting point and hiking for two days, with overnight camping. How long is the Narrows hike in Zion? Since we were hiking the Narrows bottom up, after the one-mile Riverwalk, we arrived at the Gateway to The Narrows. At the start, the canyon is still quite wide and the river fairly shallow. The bottom is rocky and the stick we had definitely helped stabilize us.
As we progressed upstream, the sides of the canyon closed in.
We passed Mystery Falls, a small waterfall sliding down the rock face. A little further along Narrows Alcove was a dramatic overhang with streaks of yellow and black rock overhanging a bend of the river. As we progressed, the sides of the canyon narrowed even more, rising steeply on both sides, now towering hundreds of feet above us, blotting out most of the sky. The water was mostly knee-deep but deepened in parts to waist height and we relied heavily on our sticks to give us stability as we strained at times against the fast-flowing current.
It was very interactive and we really had to focus, as we constantly sought the best way to cross.
Further along, the sides swirled as we passed Grotto Alcove, and blackened walls swallowed the river ahead. It was incredibly beautiful and dramatic.
We proceeded a little further along, but then decided to turn back and found a small beach with drift wood — the prefect sunny spot for lunch. For the entire morning and lunch time, we were alone in the canyon, except for a handful of people we passed coming the other way. They had gotten dropped off at the other end of the canyon and taken 2 days to walk downstream. Tour operators in Springdale organize drop-offs for those wanting to do this.
Keep in mind you will have to hike the river with your tent, sleeping bag and food. After a relaxing lunch in a spectacular setting, we explored the even narrower side canyon, Orderville Canyon, towards Veiled Falls.
Here the water was only ankle deep, a nice break from the strong currents of the main river. As we walked back, we encountered a lot more people, especially as we got close to the start of the hike. We took our time, stopped for lunch and explored the side canyon for a while and it took us about 8 hours. We got back to the shuttle about pm and back to Springdale to drop off our rented gear a little before pm. This is the bottom up approach. If you get dropped off and start at the other end and hike down only, it typically takes 2 days about 16 miles.
The Zion Park Narrows hike is one of the most unusual — and fully experiential — hikes I have ever done. There are several incredible Zion National Park hikes, and this was definitely the highlight for me of all the Zion hikes. As long as you are physically able, I would highly recommend it. It was, in a word, amazing. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links.
At no additional cost to you I earn a small commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, using these links is one way to do that.
Read my Disclaimer for more information. For the bottom-up hike , which most people do, you do NOT need a permit. For the top-down hike , you DO need a Zion Narrows permit. We picked the gear up the night before at no extra charge so that we could catch an early bus in the morning.
The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah. Situated on the North Fork of the Virgin River and upstream of the main canyon. The Narrows is most notably the name of a strait in New York City separating Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Narrows is also the name of several geographic .
It is worth getting up early and being one of the first to start the hike. We had the canyon to ourselves most of the day. When we returned in the afternoon, the part of the hike nearest to the start was filled with people. You do need a moderate level of fitness.
I was pounds overweight and not very fit at the time, and had no problems, however. Most of the hike is wading through water on uneven rocks, so if you are unstable on your feet, then this is not for you. The Narrows are in a slot canyon and are subject to flash flooding. The National Park service in the United States is really awesome for all sorts of reasons, but one of them is the close monitoring of the status of flash floods. Always, always check with the park service the days and day before to make sure that it is open. If there is a danger of flash flooding the national park service will close it.
The best to to go to Zion National Park, especially if you are there for the Narrows hike, depends on water temperature, the height or flow of the river and the likelihood of flash flooding. In general:. BUT there will not be a lot of other people there, so it is a good time to avoid crowds. I visited in May and it was great. It is also peak travel time for many people, is this is the most crowded time of year. September, October and November have the most stable weather. Winter hiking December, January and February is possible with the proper protection.
It is cold and the water is frigid. There is an option to rent basic gear like shoes and dry pants. Reservations for the rentals are not required but are available on the Zion Outfitter site: Zion Outfitter.
You can rent the waterproof backpack as well to keep all your documents, phones, cameras, etc safe and dry. There are several ways you can hike the Zion Narrows. If this is your first time hiking the Zion Narrows, then option number one is the best solution. It is a single-day hike from the upper end of the Virgin River down the stream. This mile route takes an average of 12 hours. It is 1. You will need either two vehicles or you will have to use a shuttle service.
Departure times vary, but I would recommend taking the earliest departure possible. You should call to reserve your space in the shuttle as you have your dates finalized. Shuttles fill up well in advance.
There are several companies that offer the shuttle service. This is an overnight hike from the upper end with camping in the canyon. You will be able to enjoy the Zion Narrows at a more leisurely pace.
Again, as soon as you have your Zion Narrows hike date confirmed, make reservations for the campsite. If you are hiking in a large group, keep in mind that only two sites can accommodate groups of more than six people.