The Narrows (Top-Down) [PRIVATE PROPERTY]

HARD 152 reviews
#81 of 94 trails in

The Narrows (Top-Down) [PRIVATE PROPERTY] is a 15.5 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Duck Creek Village, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 15.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,017 feet Route Type: Point to Point

backpacking

camping

hiking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

private property

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
5 days ago

15-16, August, 2019 Unlike any other trail. Water levels were safe, weather was warm, campsite was excellent. I've heard a lot of footwear advice about this trail. I used amphibious trail runners, and they were excellent. Maybe a touch soft for the rocks at the end, but otherwise excellent. I switched from thick standard ankle socks on the first day, to neoprene socks on the second; this was a HUGE mistake. Neoprene catches every bit of sand and rock, and holds it. Within the first mile, my shoes were full of sharp grit. Thick normal socks might not work in the winter, but for late summer, for sure the way to go. 4 stars rather than 5 because the final mile or two are tourists hell. They fill the river, lay all over the banks, jump in front of you, push you out of the way, stand in the middle of the trail, break up obvious backpacking groups, and leave detritus all over the place. At the end of a hike like this, I cannot imagine a worse re-entry to civilization. Absolutely horrible. I had such a dichotomous experience on this trail; the beauty was beyond compare, and the tedium was grueling.

hiking
13 days ago

favorite all time backpack trip

hiking
16 days ago

My sister and I completed the hike from 8/4/19 to 8/5/19. The water flow rate was 43. I got a walk-in permit for campsite 10 by queuing up at 6:30 AM on 8/3. The ranger told me the campsites had not been filling up the past few weeks. The flash flood warning was "Probable" which is second highest and the ranger discouraged us from hiking (rightfully so). I watched 3 weather sites very carefully before making our decision. The most helpful was AccuWeather Doppler Radar where I could see the storm fronts and by 5:00 AM the morning of the hike the storms had all moved west of the park. The weather for both days was beautiful and the virgin river flow rate was 43. We hit the trail by 8:30 AM and I wouldn't recommend the latter shuttles unless you are a super fast hiker. It took us 9 hours to reach campsite 10 and it was hard to know where we were on the map until we reached campsite 1. The first obvious marker which states that you are entering park property was not on the map. On our first day the water was no higher than mid-calf and we crisscrossed the river to avoid the deep parts. The first two springs were dry and Gobbler Creek? was a trickle so do hike in with plenty of water. The second day we hit the trail by 8 AM and had a good 2.5 hour hike before we hit the first day hikers. The second day we wadded through a lot of waist deep water and we even took several swims where water was 8 to 10 feet deep. Packs made for good flotation. I stumbled 4 times and scraped up my shins and knees. Make sure you have iodine and Neosporin in your first aid kit as the water has cows up stream. We even shared the path with some on the first day. The second day took us 5 hours to reach the paved trail at the end. There will be tons of day hikers for the last 3 hours so enjoy the solitude while you can. The constant rock walking makes this trail strenuous but the views are worth it.

hiking
rocky
24 days ago

My brother and I completed this on 07/29/19-07/30/19. I am an avid hiker; this was his first. In total, we spent about 11.5 hours hiking. I tracked about the first six miles on day one but stopped in order to conserve battery. My watch died after 7 miles. Campsite 1 should have been fairly close after that, but it felt like we hiked another four miles before reaching it. As another hiker noted below, crossing the river repeatedly (to avoid hiking in deep parts, over large rocks, and to find solid footing) does seem to add up the miles. We reached camp 1 after 6 hours, taking generous photo breaks and a longer break to cook up some Mountain House and coffee. Day 2 started out more difficult, but it feels like you're making more progress because you pass the campsite markers at regular intervals. It took us about two hours to reach the falls from camp 1, and that is where we encountered the first day-hikers from the bottom. Get your pictures in here because the people come out in droves thereafter and the peace and serenity will die. There were a couple of swims on day 2 and, as noted below, you could likely find a route around them, but you will invariably have to get at least chest high. It's much easier to just float down on your back. Recommendations: -Take the earliest shuttle so you can start at 8 a.m. Day 1 is long, especially if your camp is further down, and you will want the time to recoup. -Good shoes are essential. I did day 1 in Salomon Techamphibians and Darn Tough socks, but the sole was not sturdy enough and I felt like I was getting stone bruised. They also kept filling up with little pebbles and sand granules, so I had to stop and empty them every so often. Gaiters may have helped with this problem, but I forgot to pack mine. On day 2, I put on my neoprene water socks and Chacos and felt much better. That being said, given the choice between Chacos and sturdy shoes, I'd take the shoes. My Chacos aren't too sticky and traction was an issue. I would also find my toes or side of my foot being smashed as it slid off a rock and hit another. -Filter your water before you start seeing day hikers. We were told to filter in the creeks. When we reached the second creek, there were about 5,000 people wading in it, so we ended up just hiking day 2 on the 1.5 liters apiece we had starting out from camp. Definitely could have used more water, definitely didn't want to drink the urine of 5,000 tourists. -Carry a waterproof backpack and waterproof phone case. It just makes life easier. My brother didn't listen to me and instead used a regular pack with compression sacks. He spent much more effort trying to avoid deep water that I just jumped into and floated down.

Originally the intent was to do this as a day hike and holy heckles, I’m glad the ranger issuing our permit mentioned there was an open campsite. I can’t imagine doing the whole thing in one day. You won’t come out of the hike without a couple bruises and scratches but it’s absolutely worth it. I will say, when looking for the campsites it felt like we’d be hiking longer than we should have and my group- as well as several others we encountered- thought perhaps we’d been passing them. They’re well marked with yellow stakes showing the campsite number. I lost my GPS signal less than halfway through through but my buddy’s calculations put us at about 22 miles. Before I lost signal my tracker had us at about 8 miles when the map showed us at a little over 6. Crossing the river so frequently definitely adds onto the trail’s mileage. Definitely do your research and come prepared- good shoes, potentially a dry bag, and lots of water. While the rangers said we could filter water from the creeks to drink, our shuttle driver advised against it.

Wow! The Narrows are spectacular! The water was a really nice swimming temperature, and we barely saw anyone as we hiked through the permit section. We took a 6:30 shuttle and started hiking by 8–definitely recommend the earliest shuttle. We had the trail all to ourselves for the first 10ish miles and it was incredible. We didn’t run into any must-swim parts until closer to where the permit section meets the public section, but we still swam just for the heck of it. If you’re not a fan of swimming, you could probably find a way to avoid it, but there are some parts at this level that are impassable without getting at least chest-high. I brought neoprene socks but didn’t end up using them, as the water was warm and clear. I did it in chacos, but I have them broken in really well so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t hike in sandals often. Lots of potential for ankle rolls. Slippery rocks and you’re in the water most of the hike, so good shoes are a must. Not a lot of sunlight except for around noon of course. GPS doesn’t work in the canyon. Once we hit the lower 4 miles there were hundreds of people. It was a log, hard hike, took us about 10 hours, but it was so so worth it, especially if you’re a snob like me who likes having the trail to yourself.

hiking
private property
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

beautiful trail! we hiked the top down on 07/14. the water was fairly warm and only a few spots went up to neck level. thats not a big deal because you can flip over and float on your back. i recommend packing very light and to try renting the shoes the outfitters have. my feet are tore up from my high end running shoes and I was glaring at every person who passed wearing those nice looking water boots lol the hike takes a while because you are constantly crossing the stream and gps does not work in the canyon. be prepared to climb and scramble over rocks, trees, etc.

hiking
private property
rocky
1 month ago

While this hike provides some of the coolest views and scenery I’ve ever seen, it is VERY difficult. Our group took the 9:30 shuttle. We camped at spot 7. It took 8 hours both days. We were very slow moving, but this was honestly as fast as I could go. My body is covered with bruises, blisters, cuts, and bumps. I would recommend if you are not used to this kind of terrain, doing it from the bottom up and turning around when you are tired. It is very stressful knowing that if you get injured, help would be very far away. It was hard to enjoy the scenery when you are looking at your feet the whole time and trying to find the safest routes. The water was pretty high in some spots, but that was the easiest part because you could float on your backpack.

hiking
muddy
over grown
washed out
1 month ago

So we did the narrows top down 7/3/19 the water was 80cfs and I would not recommend doing the trail at this level unless you are very experienced. There were multiple logjams you had to climb over and 3 swims with water over your head. The water will be constantly at your waist and frequently up to your chest. As you will hit the deeper water later in the day it will be cold. The section from Wall Street to oderville will be non-stop, no exits. Do not trust your GPS, it will be off, you must navigate by where the streams intersect and the signs for the campsites. Push like crazy at the top till you get to where Kolob creek joins in. From there you will be moving very slowly. Our shuttle to Chamberlin’s was an hour late and we missed the shuttle at the bottom. If you miss the shuttle you are facing a 3.7 mile walk to the Lodge. Do not let your outfitter tell you you can make up the hour easily. Will not happen at high water levels. This trail is stunning and beautiful. It is also very dangerous when the water levels are up. We were frequently knocked down by the rushing water. We have hiked the narrows before with low water and had an amazing time. This was scary. I wish someone, outfitter or the multiple rangers we spoke to had given us accurate information. Just because the trail is open doesn’t mean it should be hiked. Use dry bags to store your gear in your packs and bring a change of upper body clothes. Prepare to have to stay a night out in the open. If you twist an ankle/knee you are not making it in 12 hours and will need to hole up and no one will be coming to help you for at least a day. Once again, amazing. But if water is high please be careful.

hiking
1 month ago

Completed July 6 2019 @ 65cfm. The 20 year olds in the group did it in 11 hour and the over 20 took 12 hour. My watch GPS was garbage in the canyon and said we did 22 miles but looking at the map afterwards it was obviously confused half the time. 6'4" and no water above stomach. The water is cold and I would not recommend breaks longer than 5-10min the whole way including lunch. After 45min lunch is when the injures started I believe bc the muscles contracted to much. Everything down to Big Spring was pretty straightforward as water crossings went but after that it got more technical and the slowest going. Bring sunscreen. The sun was on us for a few hour around noon and it burnt. I ran a 1 liter bottle and a filter and it worked great. Drank 4 liters but could have gotten away with just 3. The rock formations are amazing and the last 4 miles people do dont do the upper sections justice. However even with the awesome rock 95% of the time is spent at looking at the rock under the water making sure you dont take a spill. Personally it's a once in a lifetime hike, anymore and you just like wading in water a lot and freezing. .

hiking
1 month ago

Great Trail to do in the hot summer months, but at around 100 Cfs it was difficult and longer than advertised. Our party of six Iincluding an 11 year old) had wanted to walk through in one day but the going was slow. We had fallen an hour behind schedule so slept over the night at pre-booked campsite

hiking
1 month ago

I’m not seeing the option for the bottom up trail but that’s what I did. Hiked up from the Riverside Trail and made it all the way up to the two springs/waterfall about 6-7 miles up. This is a tough hike as the water is fighting against you all the way up. When I did it, it was showing about 95 CFS and it wasn’t terrible, however there were a few spots where I thought I was going to have to swim. Most of those spots I found a section where I could still touch but the water went up to my chin (and I’m 6 foot). If you are completely waterproofed though, swimming isn’t a big deal in those sections, I just had a backpack with a few water sensitive things in them. I also did the hike in my tennis shoes as all the rangers said any close toed shoe was better than Chacos/tevas/sandals. I would agree. Most of the rocks are smooth but it would be so easy to cut your foot open on a jagged rock or potentially lose a toe (this is what the rangers told me at least). My shoes did the job just fine but if I did it again, I might rent those shoes that were made for it as the traction seemed much better. I met up with a few guys who had em and it seemed like I was slipping substantially more than them. Granted they just might have better balance than me, but I do my fair share of river and fast water hiking so I’m inclined to believe the shoes mattered. Anyway, it’s a long hike up to the permit required point but the way back goes much smoother as the water is working with you, not against you. However, it makes it easier to slip as well. I definitely do not recommend attempting this full hike unless you are agile and have a lot of time and patience. You’ll see a ton of people at the beginning but it really thins out once you’re a few miles in. Don’t be afraid to turn around early if you think you’re getting in over your head. However the views are magnificent and I doubt there are many other hikes in the world like this one. Definitely worth putting in at least a few miles if you’re at Zion.

hiking
1 month ago

We did the top down trail the last week of June @ 100cfs. Had to swim a few times so pack gear in dry bags. Wooden stick + boots required. Neoprene socks and wetsuit can be rented close by. We rented the full package and would do it again. Took the 9:30 shuttle bc the 6:15 left us so get there on time! We camped at site 11 which had great views of the stars at night and it was nice to get more of the hike done the first day. Surprisingly, half the campsites were empty. This is a must do for sure.

hiking
1 month ago

Photos will never do this hike justice, if there's one hike for you to do, this is it...16 miles one-way down the infamous Narrows slot canyon. I've done well over 200 different hikes (Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rainier, Grand Canyon, you name it), this is my personal favorite. I've done it twice as a one-day hike, it took me 10 hours. You're hiking in the river about half the time. I did it last year when the water was flowing at 60cfs, this year it was 108cfs. We ended up having to swim in 5 places, luckily we had brought innertubes that we could jump on. Last year at 60cfs, the water never got deeper than chest high. The water was cold (49 degrees), but we never used the drysuits we had brought with us. It was only the 3rd day open this year, we didn't see anyone for 13 miles (yes, permits go fast for this hike). Next time I would wait for the water flow to be 60cfs or under. It just makes the hike so much more enjoyable. The scenery and colors are unlike any other hike, you want to be able to soak it in instead of struggling through the rapids. Just do it...it should be a bucket list adventure for any hiker.

2 months ago

I loved the narrows definately a unique experience for me. I consider the narrows far better than Angel's because here you just keep going until you're completely alone in nature . It gets way crowded at the entrance with tourists but as you keep going in they start dropping like flies. it's really breathtaking and if you're really adventurous you'll find waterfalls, caves and hidden spots not many ppl will ever see. its definitely an amazing experience for the more adventurous ppl. Watch out for floods though.

hiking
4 months ago

Best hike I’ve ever done. Obviously make sure you are prepared and get the right equipment for a river hike. We did the entire length in one day. My odometer has us at 20 miles, likely because we kept crossing the river back and forth. It also took us 12 hours to complete. I think if I had to do it again I would have gotten a permit to camp, however I can’t imagine having to do that hike with a pack on my back. Completed May 2018, never had water depth go over my chest.

10 months ago

We did it Friday, 9/21 after winning the lottery permit drawing. It was bit cold and challenging but rewarding. Beautiful landscapes inside the canyons.

10 months ago

Did this in one day and was amazing. However I recommend taking your time and doing it in two days.

backpacking
10 months ago

We stayed in camp site 12 and took the last shuttle in. We started around 11am and made it to the campsite at dusk. Long day. To many people the second day. We used 2mm neoperene socks in Sept and it was perfect. Make sure you have your pass we got it checked by the rangers. The hike is amzing. A 40 liter bag is big enough for this over nighter. Have fun.

11 months ago

I did this over Labor Day weekend with my sister — This is an amazing hike and a MUST do!! We received advice from our rappelling guide the day before to go as early as possible and take the first shuttle (you have to take a shuttle to the trailhead) to avoid crowds and FYI you will get best pictures in the am of water etc. BEST ADVICE EVER shout up around 6:30 am but beware the water is cold—-and you are in it the whole time so bring a jacket. They try to rent out water shoes but we wore our trailing running shoes and were just fine and opted for no poles and while slippery in places if you are atheistic and have strong legs you’ll be golden. We went about 5- 6 Miles in (until it got up to our shoulders then turned and did the 5-6 miles back out...don’t miss the bonus canyon!!! At the fork make a right and jump up over the little fall and go back a few miles — can’t remember what this one is called but we did it again on the the advice of our rappelling guide the day before and it was so cool and not very many people doing it. HAVE FUN and do this!! Can’t wait to go back and do the subway if I can get a permit or angel landing which was closed while we were there! Loooove southern Utah and Zion!!

backpacking
11 months ago

Hiking the Narrows Top-Down and is definitely more enjoyable than Bottom-Up (way less crowded for most of the hike). We took a shuttle up to the Ranch and started the hike around 815. The 12 campsites available are nicely spaced and above the water. We landed campsite 10 so we got the bulk of our hiking done the first day. I highly recommend bringing/renting canyoneering boots or at least using neoprene socks with waterproof shoes. Also, a trekking pole or walking stick will make hiking through the rocks and river easier. As you reach the last 6 miles of the hiking you’ll start to notice all the crowds for those starting bottom up.

hiking
11 months ago

We didn’t go to far into the narrows because we hiked a lot that day and wanted to go there really to cool off and relax. You don’t have to go to deep to see the beauty.

11 months ago

I highly recommend this hike. This is one of the most beautiful places I've been. I would definitely bring poles since footing is hazardous in the river. Watch for deep spots near fallen boulders.

hiking
11 months ago

Unique and a must do when in Zion! Your ankles do take a beating on this one. I do recommend renting the canyoneering boots and neoprene sock if you don’t have your own. Also, a walking stick or pole is a must for balance. Start early to avoid the crowd, it’s a zoo out there the later it gets, especially on a weekend. So much so that it takes away from the enjoyment. (Bottom-Up)

hiking
11 months ago

My partner and I got a permit for the top down hike but missed the shuttle so were a little bit bummed out to be doing the bottom up version instead. I'm glad to say though that we were pleasantly surprised at how fun it was! I'm sure that the hike from the top down is more difficult, BUT hiking from the bottom, you are going against the current all the way to the springs (where you're meant to turn around), and it was strenuous! We were also concerned about the crowds, but about three miles in, people really begin to taper off and we finished of the "Wall Street' part of the hike being the only people in sight which was incredible. We are very experienced hikers and still found the hike to Big Spring and back to be fulfilling and challenging. We completed this hike in August 2018. Renting the water shoes and pole is also a MUST if you want to do actually enjoy the hike (which we did).

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