The Narrows (Top-Down)

MODERATE 86 reviews
#15 of 85 trails in

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
1,017 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
10 days ago

Thought I’d only get to see places like this in heaven.

15 days ago

Zion is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and has some stunning trails. None of which come close to this narrows hike. Every corner is another picture. The full hike gives you so much more than hiking up from Zion, and the hike let’s you enjoy the best Zion has while limiting the people.

backpacking
22 days ago

Did the hike last weekend. It was awesome!!!! Stayed in camp site 12. The first 11 miles or so were mostly just the 3 of us. After we camped and got going again the next day around 11, we ran into a lot of people at the bottom. Kinda annoying with all the people, but it was still the best hike I’ve been on yet! Get out there!

23 days ago

Just finished top down. Wore hiking shoes and swim trunks. Don’t let the rental companies get you. The final stretch of the narrows gets super crowded after about 830. Camped at campsite 10, woke up at 5 and got into the long stretch of narrows before the day hikers got going. Once the crowd gets thick it slightly ruins the aura. Overall everyone should try this at least once.

hiking
24 days ago

This trail is a must to do we did the bottom up last year and wanted to do the top down well worth the effort. The water temperature was 67° the flow rate was at 27 CFS and we have bright blue skies. We stayed at the Zion Pondarosa and paid the 20 bucks for their shuttle which worked out well all we had to do is call when we were done and ready for pick up after the brewery of course. We started at 6:30 had the first 11 miles to ourselves. We weren’t in much of a hurry stopped and took a lot of pictures and swim in some of the holes and we still finished in 11 hours all in all it was a trip of a lifetime.

backpacking
1 month ago

I just got back from backpacking through (top to bottom) of the Narrows. It was gorgeous. We camped overnight to enjoy the peaceful views and to allow more time to relax in the refreshing river. I would suggest renting neoprene socks and boots that drain from a place in Springdale. They really came in handy and were comfortable. This 16 Mile hike includes climbing over or between large fallen rocks, swimming with your pack in deep water areas, switchbacks through the river and every step takes navigating since it is very rocky. I have to say that I was ready for a break when we got to camp 10 miles in due to the extras (listed above) that you navigate through. About 6 miles in there is a waterfall and was a good place to take a lunch break. Overall, this was a wonderful experience that I’m so fortunate I was able to do! Permits are required and check the weather. If there is any sign of rain or flash flood warnings do not go. In Wall St. there is no place to climb for higher ground! Happy hiking!!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike!!

1 month ago

My favorite hike so far!! Staying at Ponderosa Ranch was a must because we were already more than halfway to Chamberlin’s. We were able to book a shuttle with them for 5:30am. The Whole top down hike in one day took us a little under 10 hours and I clocked in 20 total miles due to the cross crossing and rock scrambling that you do in the river. The first 8-10 miles we saw no one and then after Big Springs more and more people until it got kinda crazy. I went through 5 liters of water even though it was not that hot yet. Water level was pretty low which made the hike easier. Will definitely do it again!

1 month ago

WOW, hands down one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. My husband and I did the overnight 2 day top down hike, and we were glad we chose that over the one day top down. We rented shoes, neoprene socks, and waterproof bib for me, and pants for him. The shoes/socks were a saving grace! They kept our feet warm and toes protected from getting stubbed against the rocks. Personally, I was happy with the bib because water rose to my chest and I was protected. For most people, I think the waterproof pants should do fine. By the end of day 1, I felt pretty exhausted as the hike is different and challenging. There is no clear path to take - often, you are balancing on rocks and stomping through water.

One of the rangers warned us not to drink water from the Virgin River, as it has become contaminated from humans. Rather, he recommended collecting water from the small creeks flowing into the river - first one is at campsite 1, second is at campsite 6. Fill up at the one by campsite 1! When we went, the creek at campsite 6 was dried up.

hiking
1 month ago

We did the top-down in one day. We loved this hike because it was like a giant “chose your own adventure” strategy game. Would you rather balance along a thin ledge 2 feet above water, or scramble down a rock slide? Would you rather wade through waist-deep water, or climb around a 6 foot high boulder? And of course, in one of the most beautiful and unusual settings.

We researched this trip a fair bit ahead of time because we were nervous about the commitment. We were a group of 4 girls with zero canyoneering experience and minimal hiking experience, but a reasonable baseline of fitness (e.g. the occasional half marathon). We completed this hike in 9.5 hours with low water flow (30 cfs) and including about one 10 minute break every 90 minutes. It is very tiring but definitely doable and it feels like a great accomplishment. The last ~3 miles are the worst because of how busy it gets with people.

A few tips: a) Rent the equipment, the canyoneering shoes are amazing. b) We hiked in June and did not need a fleece, just a long-sleeve top for the earlier sections. c) We needed about 3 -4 liters of water per person. d) We did not need to swim. The deepest we got was waist deep. e) Invest in a real daypack. I had a less expensive one and the straps cut painfully into my shoulders within the first hour.

All in, definitely recommend the full day top down over the bottom-up for those that are on the fence.

backpacking
1 month ago

This was one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. I rented neoprene socks and shoes through Zion Adventure Company and used my own hiking poles. I had no issues with the gear other than a small blister from the neoprene sock seam on day 2; but my feet were warm so I was happy. We stayed overnight at campsite 12. Campsite 11 and 12 were easy to miss from the river. The river passage is dicey near 12 because of a recent rock slide which forces you above ground and through campsite 12, unless you want to be fully submerged. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend for those wanting a unique and challenging experience.
Proper footwear, quick drying clothing (not cotton) and hiking poles are a must.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike - we were mostly alone for the first half (before big springs). Camping overnight in the canyon was amazing!

1 month ago

This is one of the coolest Exide ever been on. Going your June and taking a tube makes it even more fun. I love to lay on my stomach and flow through the corners through the D parts. I took my 12 and 15-year-old daughter and son and they loved it.

hiking
2 months ago

I am 29 and brought along my parents. It was very challenging for them but we got through it. We did it in middle May and rented the usual gear. We would definitely do it again but be prepared and ready for a challenge!

hiking
2 months ago

I did the Top Down hike in one day and rented the usual gear: canyoneering shoes, broomstick, and neoprene socks. If I did it again, I would maybe purchase my own neoprene socks, but would use a trekking pole and wear trail runners. The rental gear was horrible, IMO. In the height of summer, the water wasn't actually cold and I don't think the socks are even necessary. In colder weather, yes. The boots didn't help with traction and the broomstick from the outfitters ended up being too heavy for such a long hike.

Also, camping overnight is much more preferable so you can take your time enjoying the views. The river isn't suitable for drinking, even if you have a filter, so bring water (although I think there's a spring somewhere). Dry bag, snacks, and flashlight are also a good idea. Btw, even in the middle of summer, the canyon is cooler, but I didn't need a jacket.

hiking
2 months ago

THESE THINGS ARE A MUST:

Rent River Shoes, Neoprene Socks, and a Walking stick from the Zion outfitters just outside the south entrance to the Park (the main one). Without a stick you will eat it a lot, and without the socks you'll have some gnarly blisters after 16 miles. We did it when the river was at about 50 cu ft and it was only sketchy at a couple points.

If you're doing it all in one day, you need to start before at least 8 and plan on stopping for lunch. We made it out after starting at 9 but after stopping for lunch at 3:00 we were pushing to make the last shuttle at 8:15.

That being said this is a top 3 hike of any I've ever done in my life. Just as impressive as the Grand Canyon.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is always fun. Definitely a must if your near or in Zion! Be careful though there are some deep spots and you will go down. However, it does provide a nice laugh for everyone.

3 months ago

3 months ago

A most do, top pick for any bucket list!!!! Do it with the family and would do it again.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the best hikes you will ever do!
If possible get an permit and stay the night in the canyon.
I have done this hike, top to bottom, in one day 5 or 6 times and each time I swear, “never again”, until the next time I get an opportunity.

You can’t camp at the top so you must shuttle, either a paid shuttle with Zion Adventure Company or another service or drive yourself. If you drive yourself you must go back and get your car. Springdale to the trailhead requires about 2 hours each way and much of that is on slow dirt roads.

The hike is amazing. Some friends from Alaska, not strangers to dramatic scenery, said it was the best hike they have ever done. Plan on at least 10 hours, if you are not in great shape it may take 12-14 hours. You will be wet, about 8-10 miles are in water. Depending on flow and time of year you may have to swim some sections. It is easy to put you head down and march on. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy where you are.

Take trekking poles or a walking stick. You will need it for the many crossings for balance and to feel the bottom for depth and to find solid footing. A stick is stronger and cheaper. I have seen many trekking pole fold in half.

Bring water shoes and neoprene socks. Bring a warm jacket in a dry bag and a change of clothes for when you are done. Even in July it can get cold in this canyon, even worse if you are wet. Don’t skimp on emergency gear. Bring a flashlight, lighter, emergency blanket, and food sufficient to last an extra day. It is easy to break an ankle or suffer an injury that will require an unplanned extended stay.

4 months ago

Incredible during the winter!! Less people and you are able to enjoy the amazing beauty that is the Narrows ❤️

hiking
5 months ago

You won’t find a hike in the world that compares with this experience.

5 months ago

Nothing like it

6 months ago

Rent your neoprene socks, boots, and walking stick!

backpacking
8 months ago

Bring a good pair of water shoes! This hike won’t disappoint. Keep an eye on the weather and take out what you bring in (that means wag bags

10 months ago

We did the bottom up. it starts at the river walk until wall street. water socks, shoes and stick are a strong recommendation if you want to fully enjoy the trail and have fun! It s a truly astonishing walk. it took us 4hrs.

hiking
10 months ago

I want to give some insight to people curious about hiking the top down in one day, I wasn't able to find a lot of information on the top down in one day when I was researching so I feel as though this is necessary to write. We had 5 girls, and none of us I would say we're experienced hikers, only hiked a few times before this but really wanted to experience the Narrows Top down in 1 day. It is possible, but it's difficult and you have to know what your getting in to. We did not take the shuttle because we were nervous about time, est time for completion was 12 hours and leaving at 8am didn't give us much allowance if someone had an accident or there was some unanticipated weather changes. We took our own car and began the hike at 7am. I recommend some sort of water shoes, I used an adidas water shoe, also trekking poles are absolutely necessary, they are accurate when they say it feels like your walking on wet bowling balls. The boulders are huge and the current gets strong, you are knee deep in a lot of it and the trekking poles are sometimes the only things that keep you steady. There are lots of obstacles, like gigantic trees to climb over and swimming through water where your feet don't touch the bottom, we went in August and the water was still numbingly cold. Make sure you watch your landmarks. We realized around noon we weren't near where we should be and really had to step it up. We were walking briskly the entire time and only took a 15 minute break to snack on a rock but we did take pictures along the way. Pay attention to high ground and take the trails along side of the river as much as you can to save on time, we would search for trails every chance we got because after about 7 miles we couldn't really feel our toes. We were able to finish around 1930 and it was a great accomplishment, we took the shuttle back and took another shuttle to get the car the next day. It's a very difficult hike but we were able to complete it in 12 1/2 hours being inexperienced hikers. Hopefully this helps.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful!!!

10 months ago

This is and endurance hike. easily achievable in under 12 hours. Make it easy on your self and take an overnight camp ground. All arranged at the visitor center via permit system or online if your months ahead of time. They always reserve a few for walkups. Things to worry about. Chafing, rolled ankles, blisters (no matter how nice your foot wear is) your feet are submerged alot of the time. I checked the weather every day for a week and the morning of leading up to the hike. 2 percent chance of rain was all it got up to so i didnt bring a tent. And did not regret it. Save weight and space, ditch the stove, bring bars. 6 or 8 should be ample. keep your feet dry as long as possible. Take the trails on the side of the river as much as possible to save time. Check the temps. I wish I didnt even bring a sleeping bag. Dont bring the big DSLR camera and tripod. It was a waste and stayed in my dry pack so much I shouldn't have brought it. Gopros and cell cams are tge way to go. just bring a water proof case for your phone. Take pictures of the map handed to you by the ranger at the welcome center. it has time frames on it. pick camping spots 8 and up. I had 4 and my first days hike was over by 3pm. 5.5 hours. Left the visitors center at 8 am via 3rd party shuttle service. Hope this helps.

backpacking
10 months ago

An absolutely breathtaking, and challenging experience. I stayed at campsite 7, and on the first day of hiking through the Narrows, I didn't run into a single person. It wasn't until the second day, about 4 hours into hiking that I ran into other campers. I highly recommend the Zion Adventure Company for any gear you'll need and to book a ride with their shuttle service to reach Chamberlains ranch!

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