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The Narrows (Top Down)

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Zion National Park

The Narrows (Top Down) is a 15.5 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Orderville, Utah that features a waterfall 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

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

fee

no dogs

This hike requires a Zion backcountry permit. 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. 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
25 days ago

So glad I got to check this off my bucket list. I visited The Narrows during my only time to Zion, in 2015. (Sorry this review is so late). Hiked through a mile or so but would like to return one day to explore further into the area.

hiking
25 days ago

Rent the shoes - definitely worth doing. Not my favorite “hike” I’ve ever done

hiking
26 days ago

One of my favorites! Make sure to have a good pair of water shoes. I have the Merrell Choprock Shandal Hiking Shoe and they worked great.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

very interesting water hike. Started at 8 in the morning and finished at 5. Make sure to rent an insulated pants and shoes because water is up to your chest or depends how tall you are other than that it's beautiful hike. enjoy

hiking
2 months ago

We had an amazing time, make sure to rent water proof gear of early in the season as you can be neck deep or more at some points. Exhilarating hike

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked top to bottom in a single day, highly recommend top to bottom as it becomes progressively more beautiful. I recorded the hike in 4k - posted on my channel for reference: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoFCcB03vM-nepESoPJ4KvA

hiking
4 months ago

We did this hike in late January. We were told by the ranger at the visitors center that we were the first people to do the Top-Bottom in 2020. We couldn't find a shuttle as the unpaved road to Chamberlain Rach was closed so we parked our car at the turn-off to the Ponderosa Resort and hiked through mud and snow for 8 miles to the ranch. We camped there and the next morning hiked through freezing waters, ice and snow to camp 12 where we spent the night. The next day the real challenge was to put on our semi frozen dry suits and neoprene socks but as soon as our feet started moving it wasn't too bad! We completed the hike and reached the Temple of S. by 1pm. It was an unforgettable hike, made tougher by the icy conditions, especially in the first half of the trail. I would recommend doing this hike in late summer or fall. It is one of the best hikes in the country. Unforgettable.

hiking
5 months ago

One of the more difficult hikes that we’ve done. On the first day of our (first) Zion trip we went to the ranger station when they opened and obtained our hiking permit. Once we had our permit, we hired someone to drop us off at the top down trail head. We arrived just before dawn and began our hike. The trail head is on the other side of the river, so you have to hike through the water right away to get to the trail head. An unbelievable and memorable hike. It was a lot easier for me, I’m 6’1”, however my wife is only 4‘11“ and it was much more difficult for her due to the height of the water. The canyon is amazing, however, it took us almost 16 hours to do the hike with at least 100 traverses back-and-forth across the water. We arrived at the end (parking lot) around 9 PM. There were no shuttles or people to take us back. We thought we were going to have to spend the night in the bathrooms. Luckily, one shuttle bus driver drove up one last time. We were so grateful, we gave him every penny we had as a tip. It’s an amazing hike but I think we will only do it that one time.

hiking
7 months ago

Great Day!! Take the water shoes!

hiking
icy
private property
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Did it as an overnight (Nov 12th). Camped at camp number 10. Took me about 5 hours to get to camp 10 from chamberlains ranch. 3 hours from camp 10 to the shuttle stop at the temple of sinawawa. The maximum depth I encountered was a bit over waste high. Would recommend dry suit during fall. Amazing view throughout! One hell of a hike!

hiking
icy
private property
scramble
7 months ago

Completed this two-day overnight in early November at a slow-ish pace. Conditions: ~30 F in the morning, 69 F in the full sun midday, 40-50 in the shade (most of the time). Water temp 32 F. 40-55 cfs flow rate. No/low flood risk. GPS says 22 miles total, after zig-zagging from bank to bank to find the shallowest route. At least two short sections of waist/chest-height water wading/swimming on day 2 in the Narrows after Big Springs and the campsites. Gear: 3mm neoprene booties,** quick-drying shorts, 3 layered upper. Approach shoes sticky with Stealth rubber soles. Trekking poles. Gloves. Hat. Overnight pack. **Highly recommend dry pants and shoes when the water is this cold.** Only this dumb ass would subject his feet and legs to 3-5 hours in and out of ice cold water for two days straight with nothing but 3 mm booties. Couldn’t feel my toes, feet, knees by the middle of each day, and will take a few days to recover. Lesson learned! Beautiful solitude for all of day 1 with nothing but my own thoughts, numb toes, shoe prints from an earlier through hiker, late-autumn color, and a curious canyon wren (and hungry mouse at night) to keep me company. The first 3-4 campsites before the first tributary are very spooky at night - the white noise of the water seems amplified through the canyon.

hiking
7 months ago

The Narrows Top-Down will definitely remain the best memory of my trip in Zion. Did the hike a week ago. Started at 7:30AM. It was 28F, was super worried about becoming hypothermic, some ice was forming on my shoes ... but the dry suit and neoprene socks kept me warm! I never use poles to hike but one is absolutely life-saving to keep your balance in the river. The first 3 miles were in go-go mode, took us 40 minutes to have more time in the Canyon. Most of the hike is obviously in the river, with a few path on a trail. You can even swim in the river if you'd like, don't be scared of doing it if you have a dry suit, it's just fun and you don't get wet ! Do not rely too much on the GPS mileage to see where you are... at the end of the hike it said we hiked 26 miles (which is unlikely even with a lot of zigzag in the river). Picnic between campsite 10 and 11 under the sun (finally some sun). 6 hours of solitude and what a wonderful experience. The last 2-3 hours was crowd crowd with all the hikers doing the bottom up. Made it to the shuttle at 430- 9 hours of pure pleasure !!!!

backpacking
rocky
7 months ago

Beautiful the entire way!!! But definitely do not recommend doing the 2 day in November, it was way too cold to camp out on the river. You HAVE to swing by Zion Outfitters and rent some water pants before dipping into that ice cold water. We stayed at Campground #1, best view to wake up to. Only saw 2 people the entire hike aside from the last 2 miles. Not for the faint of heart, prepare for this journey. You cannot speed through this hike. Balancing on slippery rocks and treading through water currents slows you down tremendously. All in all, I'd do it again...only in warmer months and without all the overnight camping gear on my back. The scenery is indescribable and worth every second!!

hiking
8 months ago

Hands down best hike of my life. Truly a one-of-a-kind experience and a must for any bucket list. Trail takes longer than the mileage / elevation profile would indicate due to all the river crossing/wading/swimming. Definitely keep the AllTrails offline guide handy as it helps with some of the ambigous crossings, especially when you find yourself at the top of a waterfall. As with any hike, hope for the best and plan for the worst. Did this top-down in late fall when conditions were still icy in the morning. My friend and I both started with 2 layers of neoprene socks. Her feet became numb and I donated a layer to her; she was fine after that and I didn't notice too much of a difference. For somewhat related reasons we also wound up finishing the trail in the dark. A surreal experience, but we would not have made it back without our headlamps to see through the canyon. If you're not able to do the Top-Down approach, the 5 miles in the Bottom-Up were admittedly the most stunning, and are certainly worthwhile.

hiking
private property
8 months ago

Wow! What a great experience! We started the trail at 7:00 am and it was still dark. Used our headlights. It’s quite chilly so a pair of warm gloves would be a good idea. There was 6 of us. Moderate hikers. We kept a nice pace with very little stopping until campsite 12, is when we had lunch. By the time we got to the bottom we were quite sore from all the water walking. It took us 10 hours. Loved our rentals from Zion guru, they were brand new, we used drysuits, neoprene socks, water hiking shoes and the wooden pole, the proper gear make this much more enjoyable! Loved the solitude

hiking
8 months ago

This was a great adventure! We did it with a group of 6 women (ages 32-60) and we completed it in 10 hrs. We got a private shuttle and started at 7am. We rented dry suits, neoprene socks, boots and poles and we brought dry bags. I would 100% recommend getting all the gear! It makes a huge difference!! We wore lots of layers, had gloves, hats and headbands to keep warm in the morning. We brought and consumed lots of water and lots of food! Bring lots and be prepared! It was a long hike on uneven terrain in amazing canyons. It was definitely hard and tiring but a great adventure.

hiking
8 months ago

awesome hike. check weather well before as you will not get out alive if rains come

hiking
8 months ago

One of the best hikes I've done! Beautiful nature all the way. We, a group of two, started the hike at 0800 (October 13th) and finished at 16:15, so 8h15mins with stops, photos etc (above average physical condition). Water temp: 34 degrees, air temp: 30 in the beginning, 69 at the end. They said the average time to complete this is 12h20min, but then you have to walk really slow. It was freezing at first, so I really recommend neoprene socks, a good pair of boots, dry suit/ dry pants of some sort. You can rent this for around 50 dollars for the day hike. Using two poles will also help with the balance when crossing slippery rocks. Also, bring a beanie and some warm gloves. I used a thin layer of wool which was very nice. This trip is long and straneous, but nothing cosmic about it as long as the weather is good (no risk og flash floods and heavy rain), the flow rate is on the lower side and you bring food with a lot of calories (pro tip: Cliff bars with a LOT of peanut butter; bring a jar). Everything about this hike is beautiful, you basically have a whole canyon to yourself for miles and miles. I loved that we did this in October, with fewer people and beautiful colors everywhere. The only downside was all the people at the last couple of miles.

Such an amazing hike! These reviews made me super nervous but the hike was super easy until the end just because there’s more slippery rocks and faster current.. It was definitely long (I had tracked almost 25 miles on my gps) but so worth it. We rented the pants, boots and socks and it was perfect! Definitely recommend.

hiking
8 months ago

Know what you are getting into before you attempt this, I did but I after seeing some people out there I know why he backcountry desk people treat everyone like an idiot. I completed the top down day hike on 9/25/19, one of the most incredible and rewarding hikes out there, beautiful the whole way(at least until you start running into bottom up hikers). The recording didn’t read mileage right but I tracked about 20, I assume the additional is from crossing back and forth on the river when not in the narrow sections, finish in just over 10.5 hours with a few small breaks and one longer one. It was 34 degrees to start the day, I had rented the wetsuit package from Zion Adventure Company, the wetsuit and the boots/neoprene socks were great and kept me warm and dry all day. I wouldn’t want to do this hike in the conditions I did it in without the gear I had, I passed one group early on in shorts and tshirts with normal shoes and they looked to be struggling, as well as struggling with finding there way from bank to bank. Keep your eyes open when hiking from bank to bank so you know when to cross and can cross diagonally instead of making a right angle every time, this will save you time and energy (easier hiking with the current than up or across it). The hike is fairly easy until you get to where Deep Creek feeds in, seems that Deep Creek dumps a lot of large rocks in that make it more difficult to find good footing, i thought it from there to Kolob Creek and the few miles before and after Big Springs to be the most challenging. Hiking stick or trekking pole is a must, I almost never use either on hikes, I forgot to grab the hiking stick that was part of my rental so I took one of my trekking poles, worked well except it got stuck in between some rocks a few times, the hiking stick has a fatter base so that would probably happen less with it. I saw someone say they recommended two trekking poles, I would disagree with that as it would be more difficult when you have to scramble over boulders or wouldn’t have a hand to catch yourself with if you lose your footing which would probably result in face-planting in the river a few times. If you think you are up for the challenge you won’t regret the hike! When I do it again I would plan on camping overnight, due to time constraints my only option was to day hike, its doable but you can’t take a lot of breaks and don’t have as much time to enjoy the beauty of the Narrows. If you can figure out a way to scale out of the canyon after big springs you will enjoy the best hike ever by avoiding all the idiots and people that don’t know hiking etiquette doing the bottom up hike, lol.

hiking
private property
scramble
9 months ago

If you’re in the water the whole time, this hike is 16 miles. If you avoid the water it’s more like 21 miles with probably over 100 river crossings. Don’t expect tourists in the lower areas to know anything.

hiking
9 months ago

This was definitely one of the best hike I have ever done! Views were just breathtaking! First couple of miles are easy until you get to canyon then most of the trail is in river so I would definitely recommend have neoprene socks (rented for $7). I didn’t rent canyoning shoes just used my hiking shoes and didn’t have any problem. High cut for ankle support is very important to avoid twisting ankle. And also trekking poles were super super helpful! I think I would probably end up in water without having poles for support. Start around 8am in ideal. Enjoy!

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely stunning! I was fortunate to be able to do this hike (day hike) two Sundays in a row. First time down (large group, completed in ~12hrs) I rented boots and neoprene socks. Second time (small group, completed in ~10hrs) I purchased my own socks and wore my trail-running shoes that I typically wear for backpacking. I found the boots to be a tad clunky for my style and much preferred my light shoes the second time. I also found that two trekking poles provided much more balance for me than the single large hiking stick that is common to rent for this hike -- though you need to be extra careful not to bend or break your trekking poles. Both times I packed a shorty wetsuit (2mm) and wore it with the top unzipped during the last stretch. I'm sort of a wimp with cold water and wanted to swim as much as possible. Both times I tracked over 20miles (adjusting for read errors). I would definitely rate this a 5 star if it were not for the tourist trap at the end (echoing the statements of other reviewers). To be working so hard through the whole day, in almost complete isolation, just to end up in a literal line of hobbling, barefoot-tourists is just... odd. Not that I have a problem with anyone enjoying the canyon, but we had several rude encounters where people were frustrated that we wanted to move faster than them. Basic hiking etiquette seemed to be non-existent. For me, it just leaves the hike with an off-note.

hiking
private property
rocky
9 months ago

Wet, cold, and long.

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