The Narrows (Top-Down)

MODERATE 32 reviews

The Narrows (Top-Down) is a 15.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Duck Creek Village, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
15.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2470 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

This unparalleled overnight or extended day hike follows the Virgin River through almost 16 miles of beautiful canyons. The Narrows is perhaps the most famous hike in Zion National Park. Most visitors take the day hike starting at the Temple of Sinawava, but they only get a small taste of this remarkable canyon. A more adventurous option is to take a shuttle to Chamberlain Ranch and walk 15.5 miles through the entire Narrows. This hike requires a Zion backcountry permit. You can arrange your own shuttle or pay for a shuttle from a company in Springdale. There are 12 campsites in the Narrows. Sites 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 12 can be reserved online approximately 3 months in advance or through the park's lottery system. The rest of the sites may be reserved at the visitor center 1 day before the trip. Another option is to hike the entire 15.5 miles in a single day. This 12-hour-plus trip also requires a backcountry permit. Starting from the trailhead at Chamberlain Ranch, the first several miles of the hike are very easy, and you stay completely dry. After about 3 miles, the steam banks start rising on either side of the river to form short canyon walls. From this point, you'll have to cross the stream several times and walk in the stream for portions. After about 6 or 7 miles, there is a 12-foot waterfall. An easy trail around the waterfall is found to the left (south) of the waterfall. After about 8 miles, Deep Creek joins the North Fork of the Virgin River on the right, and the water volume more than doubles. This marks the half-way point in terms of distance but not for time. 3/4 mile after Goose Creek, Big Springs will be on your right. No camping is allowed in the last 4.5 miles between Big Springs and the Temple of Sinawava. This section of the Narrows has the deepest water and the tallest canyon walls.

hiking
16 days ago

backpacking
19 days ago

Absolutely incredible hike. I will break down our experience from beginning (getting the permit) to the end (getting on the shuttle at the temple)

Went to the visitor center in Zion National Park on a Monday to book a Tuesday overnight permit for the trail. Showed up at 630 to try and beat the crowd, however there was no line at all. Went inside and reserved campsite 6 (highly recommended, great view and cleaner water source). Reserving campsites 6-12 helped shorten the second day hike. While planning we had to continuously keep checking river flow rate and flash flood potential forecast since we did this hike in monsoon season (July 1st - September 15).

Booked a shuttle to take us to the start point and left the car in the visitor center parking lot. Left on the shuttle at 0630 and arrived at 0800. First day was stunning. You experience the river as a small creek in fields and watch as it grows when you end at the temple.

We took 6 hours to reach campsite 6. During monsoon season it's better to start early since storms build up at around 1300 (even though it is clear the first part of the day). When we got to our site, it started thundering and raining and we saw a slight increase in water level and speed. Still was able to walk through the river.

Woke up the next day and started early due to the same type of forecast. The riskiest part of the trail is in between big springs (campsite 12) and Ordeville canyon. It takes about two hours to get through and is 2.5 miles long. One of the most stunning sections of the hike but is dangerous if any flash floods happen because there is no scalable high ground, just sheer cliffs.

The second lasted about 6 hours in total. Once you get to the riverside walk, it's a 1 mile hike to the Zion shuttle. The shuttle takes you all the way back to the visitor center.

----- if you're doing research on river conditions to see if able to do, lookup river flow rate and flash flood potential. River flow rate measured in cubic feet per second(cfs) tells you how fast water moves. 50 cfs is normal with shin deep water on average. The narrows close at 150+ cfs. There have been times where the river has raised up to 3200+ cfs in less than 10 min. The flash flood potential forecast can be found on the Zion NPS website. I wouldn't recommend going if it is higher than low (the scale consists of dry, low, moderate, high).

TLDR; all in all an amazing hike! Will definitely do again. Very easy to do even if you didn't book way in advance. We got our permit the same day we decided we wanted to do the trip!

backpacking
21 days ago

This is truly a jaw dropping hike, the scenery is incredible and difficult enough to feel as an accomplishment. If you are planning a trip I would suggest reserving campsite 11 or 12 towards the end, makes for an easier day 2 on the trip out. Be sure to look up as much as possible!!!

22 days ago

Amazing trail! Hiked it as a scout. Would love to go back again. Watch the weather.

26 days ago

28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

A must see! The scenery made the two day hike feel easier than it was. The next day I spent recovering. Walking on slippery rocks gave me sore hips, knees and ankles. Totally worth it! I will do this one again

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Just completed this hike as an overnight backpacking trip. I underestimated this one big time! Based on blogs I researched, I decided to hike this trail in trail runners....I would not recommend this unless you are a strong hiker. There are outfitters you can rent boots from and I should have done that. Unless you want to hike most of the time in the water vs traversing across the river from land to land, plan to spend 6-8 hours each day hiking. With a group of 6, it took us 7 hours first day to get to campsite 3. We did take breaks because there was record hot temps that week but it still took way longer then I thought. It was worth it though! The campsite was great and the beauty of the canyon was immeasurable. Especially in the areas not accessible to bottom-up hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

Mid June 2017...Top-Down,

We got in line for our permits at 6am on a Wednesday, office opened at 7...the time goes by fast when you're talking to other serious hikers. Ive waited in several of these lines at several National Parks, always good people.

Started at 930, got a little delayed on the ranch when a heard of about 20 cows were taking their own Freakin' sweet time wandering down the trail... At our 3 hour mark there was an awesome slot canyon to the right...you must check it out, IMO one of the highlights of the entire hike..we dropped our packs and walked back about 50 or so yards..very cool. There's a bypass on the left around the 10' waterfall.

We got to our campsite (10) around 4:00. Campsites 1-9 were completely empty, I found out the next morning most of the overnighters didn't get on the trail until 11:30ish.

Beware if your staying at site 11, there a pretty good gap after site 10. Sites 1-10 are pretty evenly spaced, not #11, the guys we saw there on day 2 said they nearly started backtracking b/c they thought for sure they missed it, I never even noticed site 12. Also, all our points of reference seemed off, not sure if the tributaries we're dry but I didn't see several of the creeks that were supposed to be joining the Virgin.

Day 2 we left at 9 and were done at 2...there were only 2 areas of deep water. I swam to the bottom at one area, it was about 8 feet deep. Float your pack ahead and swim across...no more that 15 feet to shallow water.

Lots of Upstreamers on day 2....I wore Keens as not to completely soak my boots....big mistake. Ankles were killing me at the end. Pole/s a must.

Enjoy.

hiking
1 month ago

Thoroughly enjoyed the hike and view. The narrows certainly are a site to see

2 months ago

Worth every minute. The scenery although continuously following the virgin river is ever changing and there's something new around each corner. We went during peak sunlight hours because the water was quite cold and felt refreshing once the initial sting subsided. We went with a group with ages ranged from 10-57 and it was doable for all. There were kids even younger and adults older than our group who navigated without issue. There were tons of people who waded the waters in just sandals or tennis shoes but we rented the water socks/shoes/walking stick close to the visitor center for just $24 for the entire day and it was the best investment we made. It is definitely doable without those things but it just made for a safer, warmer, comfortable, more enjoyable, stress free journey. You can turn around at any point along the trail allowing you to decide how long you want to make your hike, but we spent 4 hours there round trip (turned around due to time constraints) but we could have easily stayed (and wanted to) maybe for double that time. Truly a spectacular, unique hiking experience and would recommend everyone to do it before leaving the park.

backpacking
3 months ago

4 months ago

My all time favorite, breathtaking (water temp and views) hiked in October, really not too bad. Wear some neoprene and you're good to go.

backpacking
4 months ago

One of my favorite hikes to this day! I did it in mid August and it was perfect weather. Neoprene socks and trekking poles are a must! You will get wet so make sure to have dry bags as well. Water was to my neck in a few spots so be ready! I highly recommend getting a permit and doing this one.

backpacking
5 months ago

One of the most amazing experiences of my life. Permits are limited each day so only a lucky few get to experience this. I highly suggest adding this to your must-do list. We had Campsite #11 so it wasn't as long the second day, but the first day seemed to go on forever. I also recommend getting on the earlier shuttles to the starting point. You could take the later one, but you'd probably be getting to your site at dusk if you go at a leisurely pace.