The Narrows, Zion National Park

The Narrows hike is one of the most iconic in Southern Utah’s National Parks, if not the entire national parks system. There are several options for tackling this, including going “bottom-up” or doing it “top-down.” A bottom-up approach doesn’t require a hiking permit. This direction leaves from the Temple of Sinawava and takes you upstream to Big Spring. Going all the way will be a 10-mile round trip, but many people just do a few miles to see the most spectacular parts of the canyon.

You will need a Narrows hiking permit if you do the entire length (top-down) from Chamberlain’s Ranch. Hikers choosing to do it this way will need to figure out a shuttle from each end. You can also hire a Narrows hiking guide to help plan and execute the trip based on the group’s abilities.

How long is the Narrows hike?

The entire length is 16 miles, which means thru-hiking from Chamberlain’s Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava. Most people just go a few miles and then turn around, so you can make this hike as long or as short as you want.

How hard is it?

Hiking the Narrows in its entirety is quite challenging, but this is very much a choose-your-own adventure. Conditions vary month-to-month, season-to-season, and water levels and temperature can up the ante. A Narrows hiking tour operator will be able to cater the trip to suit the experience and ability level of the group.

What is the best time to hike the Narrows?

The best time to hike the Narrows is late spring and summer. This is when the water will be warmest and lowest. A big warning! Most flash floods happen during these seasons, so keep an eye on the forecast and never venture into the canyon if there is a flood notice. You can certainly hike in the fall as well, but the water will be colder. The Narrows closes in the early spring when the water flow rate goes above 150 cubic feet per second.

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