The Narrows | Zion National Park, UT, USA, 2013

Distance :  16 miles (25.7 km)img_3865

Avg.Time :  10 hours

Start / Finish :

  • Chamberlain’s Ranch (north) – Temple of Sinawava (south).
  • Transportation to the southern Terminus is a piece of cake due to the regular shuttle buses which run through Zion Canyon between April and October.
  • Getting to the northern terminus you have two options: private transport or shuttle bus company. For the former, check the Zion National Park website for directional details. In regards to the latter, google “shuttles to chamberlains ranch / the narrows“, and multiple options will appear.


  • June to October.
  • During the winter months water temps can be nippy, possibly necessitating the use of a wetsuit or even a drysuit.


  • Between March and May the hike is often closed because of rising water levels due to spring snowmelt.
  • Irrespective of the time of the year, check on the latest conditions with Park Rangers before setting out. This particularly holds true between mid-summer to early fall, when there is a higher possibility of flash floods occurring.

Maps / Info :

  • Whether you are out for the day or overnighting, permits are required for hiking The Narrows.

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  • The basic Zion National Park map available at the visitor’s centre will suffice for navigation purposes.
  • Bring all your food and water. This probably sounds a little weird considering you will spend most of the day hiking in shin deep H2O………sort of like bringing sand to the beach. However, water in The Narrows is pretty murky and for the most part not that great for drinking.

Route / Conditions :

  • In a word……..dampish. More than half of the 16 mile distance is spent in water.
  • The Narrows hike follows the course of the Virgin River, which has cut a spectacular gorge through the northern reaches of Zion Canyon. At times the gorge is up to 2000 ft deep and only 20 ft wide.

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Sleeping :

  • For those wishing to overnight in The Narrows, camping is possible at one of 12 designated campsites in the gorge. You will need to reserve in advance.

Overview :

  • One of the most spectacular day hikes in the world, The Narrows is a must-do experience for hikers visiting Zion National Park.
  • I highly recommend beginning your hike at first light in order to avoid the crowds. During the height of school holiday season (July – August) things can get pretty crowded.
  • An alternative to beginning at Chamberlain’s Ranch is to take an early shuttle bus to the southern Terminus and do an out-and-back hike to Big Spring, which is five miles from the trailhead. This particular section includes the most spectacular part of the gorge and if you start early, chances are you will have the outward journey all to yourself.



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