The Narrows – Zion

DSC02411Here’s another hike my family did back in June. I couldn’t go since I was handicapped with my fractured arm, but I did this hike with my husband back when we were engaged, so I remember it. This is another amazing hike that touches the soul because it’s like you’re viewing a piece of heaven you never get to see in normal life.

My in-laws were beyond kind and drove my family 2-1/2 hours to the drop off point at some ranch outside of Zion National Park. You should have a big stick for support; this helps to check the river depth and gives you an ‘extra leg’ when hiking through the river (which you have to do a LOT on this hike since it’s in the narrow slot canyons).

This year was a low water year, so the water didn’t get above their waists, but on high water years, be prepared to swim many parts of this hike (waterproof your belongings either way). The river is full of slippery, mossy rocks, so wear sturdy shoes with good ankle support and carry a big stick (I sound like Teddy Roosevelt).

(Click below to see the gallery pictures and captions full size)

Bring a good camera because you don’t want to miss out on these views. This took my family 10 hours to do. It’s 18 miles from the top to the bottom. You need a permit and have to pick it up the day before and work out logistical details for who will drop you off and pick you up, or if you will pay for a shuttle, etc. On high water years, this takes longer to hike, so start early in the morning to get out before dark.


Needless to say, don’t hike this if there is a chance of rain. Flash floods are dangerous in the desert and will kill you. There’s nowhere to run when you’re in a tight slot canyon, so get your permit and check the weather before hiking.

This was my husband’s 6th time hiking the Narrows. I think this might have been his favorite time too. He said he’d forgotten how green and lush it is back in those canyons. Ferns grow off the side of the cliffs and the canyon walls keep the brutal sun from baking you in there (so even in the heat of the summer, this isn’t bad).

This hike isn’t for the faint-hearted though. Every one of my kids were sore and almost limping after they returned, but they all agreed that this was their FAVORITE HIKE EVER!

That says a lot.

17 thoughts on “The Narrows – Zion

  1. The words “swim many parts of this hike” would be all it took for me to stay home. Yikes! Your family is brave. Looks gorgeous though. Definitely a little piece of heaven. 🙂

    • It is a harder hike because your feet are always on the slippery river rock. This year they didn’t have to swim any parts because the water was extra low. But just maneuvering in waist deep current is hard enough.

  2. Holy Cow! Jaw dropping photos. What an amazing adventure. You are blessed with an amazing family. Heaven is what I thought, too, when I looked at those picture.

    • It is pretty heavenly. I loved the photos too. When I did this before I got married, I didn’t have a camera at all because waterproofing one sounded awful…so I am loving these because they remind me of decades ago and how pretty it was.

  3. I can’t remember which part of Zion I went to, it looked a bit like some of these photos, but we didn’t go in water, maybe it was around this area but we just didn’t do the full hike! It is stunning.

    • At the end of Zion canyon, there is a hike called Temple of Sinawava that is paved, but this ends right into the river after a mile. Lots of people hike UP the Narrows from there for a mile or so and you get to see a little bit of the river canyon that way. Hiking down like my kids did is about 18 miles and ends at the Temple of Sinawava trailhead. So you probably did do some of it from that trail.

  4. Wow, what a stunning locale for a hike and swim. Eighteen miles on level ground would be challenging enough for me, but scenery like this would be tempting!

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