Zion Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.
The Narrows is a famous Zion hike, probably one of the great hikes in the entire west, and for good reason! Let me describe it and you will understand why. Basically you are in a narrow canyon with the walls rising straight up 1,500 feet around you. And if that wasn’t cool enough, the canyon itself has a beautiful, clear water river (Virgin River) running down the middle of it. In many places the river flows literally from wall to wall so you have (get) to walk right down the middle of it!
This photo is of one of the wider places – thus the trees.
The first time we hiked this in October a number of years ago we just wore running shoes and shorts. This time we got a little smarter and not only used canyon shoes and neoprene socks, but we also rented dry pants. The Zion Adventure Company will rent the shoes, socks and a walking stick for $17 for the first day, and $9 per day for additional days. For $29 for the first day, and $15 there after you also get the dry pants. The dry pants are especially helpful if you plan to start the hike in the morning. We went on Friday; in the morning the air temperature was 42, and the water was 49 – with the dry pants and shoes we weren’t the slightest bit cold, despite spending an extended amount of time in the water as I set up shots. By the afternoon the temps were in the 70’s and shorts would have been fine – at least if you are from Alaska.
The Narrows hike begins at the far end of Zion Canyon at the Temple of Sinawava. From there you hike a mile on the nice easy Riverside Walk trail. At the end of the Riverside Walk, the Narrows literally begin. If you think you can do this hike and stay dry, reality will hit you right away as the river is running wall to wall right at the beginning. From this point on you make your way up the Narrows. There is a nice extra narrow canyon coming in from the right about 2.5 miles from the beginning known as Orderville Canyon. You can walk a ways up this canyon, and it is a nice side trip. Past Orderville is one of the narrowest parts of the Narrows called Wall Street. This is a popular location with photographers, but really, there are photo opportunities along the whole hike.
Here is a larger version of the Zion Narrows photo.