Road Trip Day 5 – Zion National Park (The Narrows)

Day #5 – The Narrows at Zion

Today’s the day!  The Narrows!  I had never heard of the Narrows before researching for this trip and O-M-G they are insane!  This is an absolute must if you are visiting Zion National Park.  Hiking the Narrows has been one of the most unique experiences I’ve had while traveling and this includes safaris in Africa and ice climbing in Iceland.  The Narrows is on that list!

The Narrows

There are two ways to hike the Narrows, Bottom Up (no permit required) or Top Down (permit required).  Since the latter requires a permit, most people opt for the first option.  It is amazing!

There is no “official” trail, but most people get off the shuttle at the Temple of Sinawava to hike along Riverside Walk.  You’ll walk about a mile to the water’s edge and you’re there!  You can’t miss it.  This is the only spot where there are tons of people in the water.

Plan Ahead

The park will close the Narrows when the water level is too high, too fast, or when there is severe weather.  You can check the Zion National Park site daily for updates.  When I was planning my trip, the Narrows were closed for weeks and finally opened the DAY BEFORE I got there.  If the weather looks like rain on the day you want to hike the Narrows, be careful as flash floods are common and there is nothing the park can do to warn you or save you if these occur.  Check the current conditions here.

What to Expect

The water will be freezing!  You are entering into water that was formed from the melting of snow caps and rainfall.  It’s cold.  There are tons of options to rent full body suits, dry pants, special shoes, etc. and all of those options look like they would really help.  I wanted to be tough (and cheap) and went without any special gear and I was fine.  Freezing, numb in some areas, and uncomfortably cold, but I still enjoyed 4 hours in the water.

When I went, the water reached waist high in some areas and others it was mid-shin.  No matter what the water level was, there was always a strong current.  You MUST get walking poles for this.  Get two poles.  Don’t be cheap here.  They will save you from slipping and falling into the freezing cold water.  Trust me!

What To Bring / Rent

Walking poles.  Get two.  This isn’t negotiable.

Dry pants.  They would’ve made me much happier.  If I wasn’t freezing to death, I probably would’ve been able to continue further down the Narrows and see some pretty exciting viewpoints.  There are tons of rental places in Springdale and you can decide the morning of your hike.

Dry bag.  I put my valuables in 1-2 ziplock bags, pulled my backpack up as high as it would go, and prayed that I wouldn’t fall in.  Not the best technique, but it worked for me.  If you have a fear that your stuff will get wet or ruined, just rent a dry bag.  You can pick this up at the same place you get your pants.

the narrows

Onto the last day…

Arizona Utah road Trip Itinerary + Planning Tips

Day 1 – Hoover Dam + Flagstaff

Day 2 – Grand Canyon

Day 3 (part 1) – Horseshoe Bend

Day 3 (part 2) – Upper & Lower Antelope Canyons

Day 3 (part 3) – Paddle Boarding at Lake Powell (Glen Canyon National Park)

Day 4 – Zion National Park (Angel’s Landing + other trails)

Day 5 – Zion National Park (The Narrows)     ((you are here))

Day 6 – Bryce Canyon National Park

This is an absolute must for your Zion adventure!  Who’s completed the Narrows?  Who’s going in a future trip?

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