The Subway Trail

HARD 226 reviews
#4 of 87 trails in

The Subway Trail is a 7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Virgin, Utah that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October.

DISTANCE
7.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,305 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

waterfall

rocky

scramble

no dogs

In order to hike the subway trail, hikers need a PERMIT from the administration of Zion National Park that can be picked up from the visitor center. This is day-use only hike. The Subway Trail can be accessed off of Kolob Terrace Road at the Left Fork Trailhead. The trail gets its name from the pipe-like gorge formed by the canyon walls of North Creek. This is a canyoneering tour through the left fork of North Creek. It is a long day hike to dinosaur tracks, keyhole falls, and the subway. The trail follows a the creek and hikers have to pass through creek in many locations along the hike. The trail is not maintained. It is recommended that you are either an experienced hiker or have an experienced hiker to guide you on this slot canyon trail, as unlike the Narrows, it is a semi-technical hike that can require rappelling and swimming through deep pools of cold water. The subway section of the trail can also be very slippery so proceed with caution. This hike starts from the bottom of the Subway Trail, however many hikers do this trail from the top down off of Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, as the bottom up route is much more difficult. This area can be prone to flash floods so be mindful of rain and talk to park rangers before heading out on your hike if you have any concerns.

nature trips
3 minutes ago

Such a beautiful hike, a bit long and exhausting but well worth it all. The falls inside the caves at the end are amazing and refreshing after that long hike.
Remember the trail back or you might get lost or turned around. A bit tricky towards the end but it’s doable.

13 days ago

Amazing amazing place... not to be missed
Easy enough hike, trail is well wide with not too much traffic

hiking
27 days ago

My boyfriend and I won permits for this hike about a year ago now and it was a great experience. Though I will disagree with the mileage listed above. By the end of the day as we reached the car my GPS indicated over 11mi hiked. NPS page for The Subway notes 9mi from the bottom up. Either way expect a long slow approach, though we flew out! Maybe because we were going against the current of the creek on the way in.
We opted to bring out hiking boots as well as a ultra light sneakers for in the water. I’m glad we had both, my fee would not have faired well wearing my ultra light sneakers the whole hike.
I was also really happy to have my trek poles.
Bring some tasty food and have a hang and a swim when you reach the subway! Though there are several great swimming holes along the way.
Take your time as the rocks get be unpredictable and really slippery at times and you’re in the backcountry so a slip and fall here may end up being a bigger deal than if you were in the narrows in the park.
Have lots of water or a water filter, even though we were down near the creek with a moderate amount of tree coverage it was still really hot.
Enjoy!

hiking
28 days ago

Amazing hike! Very beautiful and the cool dip in the water is totally worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

There has been a report for “probable chance of flooding” in Zion this week, but rangers were still issuing permits for this hike. Just be sure to start early and use GPS and/or cairns for direction! Very easy to get lost off the trail if you’re not careful. Otherwise, amazing experience at the “Subway” area. Make sure to swim to the last waterfall!

1 month ago

Need a permit for this hike. You will have to drive out from the campsite to get here. Beware - the beginning trek which brings you down to the river is VERY STEEP. You’ll need to remember that for when you return to your car. Bring LOTS of water. Stacked rocks will guide you on your journey all the way to the end. Flash flooded night before so the pools were willed with sand :( incredible hike! Took about 8 hours if I remember correctly.

hiking
1 month ago

I really loved a lot of this hike. The 2-3 miles of what you see on google images is amazing and you could spend a lot of time in that area. Very spectacular. However, I do think this hike comes short compared with the top down narrows hike as that has 10-12 miles of beautiful canyons. This is a must do hike if you can get the permit.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! Coming back out can be a bit tiring especially if it's during warmer weather.

hiking
2 months ago

A difficult hike, but well worth every step! Be warned: this is not for the faint of heart. Adventure seekers on the other hand, will adore this journey.

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes. spectacular ending. make sure to pay attention and have a plan. I came across some lost hikers when I was out there.

3 months ago

Stunning!

hiking
3 months ago

An awesome hike, it worth to do it! I did top to bottom. I had wetsuit 3/4 mm. The water wasn't too cold with wetsuit! Use GAIA GPS app and you don't have to worry to get lost!

hiking
3 months ago

After doing strictly hikes for elevation the last couple days this one is a completely different beast. For 7 or so miles it’s an all out scramble up to the subway formation which requires you to hopscotch from each side of the creek attempting to follow the sandy pathway. There is no defining direction and at times you don’t know which side is correct, but if you follow the water you will be fine. Luckily, we started with another couple (thanks Paul & Marlene!) at the top early in the AM and as a team found our way together. I wore my keen hiking boots and wool socks and got wet the entire hike (there is no way around it). I guess neoprene socks would help, but oh well! There are times where you must walk on the rocks in the water and they are covered with algae which makes it very slippery so watch out. The scene at the end is remarkable and I decided to get in the pools at the end and wade to the waterfall. It was freezing FYI. The hike OUT at the end is the most strenuous part and can be a bit tiring at times, especially after we hiked 7+ miles. Altogether it was an amazing experience and would do it again!

See photos on Instagram @drpatrickmuller

3 months ago

Great trail. Poorly indicated but this is what makes it great. It is an adventure! You don’t feel like in Dysneyland Angel’s landing. We were lucky to win the lottery to be allowed to hike there. One of the best hike of our vacation. We rented hiking boots with Neoprene socks near Zion visitor center the evening before (mid of Aprîl)

3 months ago

Gotta laugh at some people with no sense of adventure. The beauty of this trail is that it isn’t a trail. It’s an over-land scrambling adventure. It is a ball buster too. Very challenging in the sense that you’re climbing up rocks, walking up waterfalls, etc. The Subway itself is iconic and does not disappoint. Awesome time

3 months ago

The end of the trail is a wonderful place to see, so don’t get me wrong here. But the trail itself is BS. Why I say that is one reason only... This is most likely the most horrible marked (unmarked) trail I have EVER seen. You have no idea what side on the stream you need to be on to keep moving forward. You guess if water run off patches in the sides are paths or not and your back tracking 1/3 of time instead of moving forward. Most of the trail has no real pay off for at least there hours in. Plus after going all the way up and then back, you then have to climb back up that mountain with tired legs to get out. So be prepared. I’d skip the bottom up trail for the Subway and just go to the amazing Narrows in Zion!

3 months ago

Incredible hike. Very challenging because the trail is scarce. You have to do a lot of climbing. Looks for the dinosaur footprints!

hiking
4 months ago

Did the bottom up hike with neoprene socks, canyoneering shoes, and dry pants. Highly recommend for this time of year since water temps were 35 and water was thigh high at some points. We started the hike at 8 am and were the first ones to the subway- it was great having the views all to ourself!

hiking
4 months ago

Such a stunning trail! The hike down into the canyon is Pretty tough since it is vertical most of the way down. Be sure to check back at the trail end when you drop down into the canyon. There was a ribbon tied to a tree and some rocks stacked up by the river to let you know that’s the left fork trail up. Once inside the canyon you have a two hour hike to the subway. The bottom hike is very sunny and hot so bring plenty of water. There are social trails on both sides of the river so keep and look out for those and go with what works best for you and your group. Once you make it to the waterfalls and the subway you are in for a treat. It’s like nothing on this earth and seems like you are exploring a different plant or dimension. We did not have wet suites on so we only went as far as the deep pools allowed.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the most beautiful trails in Zion. Make sure to book a permit far in advance because it fills up quickly. The ranger made it seem like the trail would be very difficult but I found it to be more on the moderate side (once you get past the first steep section. Make sure to head northeast from the trailhead towards the large cliffs (on your left as you're looking across the valley.) On your way back look for the large black cliff on the right as a marker to return to the trailhead.

5 months ago

This was hands down one of the hardest hikes I’ve done. Went in early March, was cold and wore water suits. The hike just goes on and one from warm temps to seeing snow on trees to seeing leaves to the rock scramble back to the car. Pure hell. BUT. When you enter the Subway it’s just pure magical. Bring lots of water.

hiking
7 months ago

A great trail which involves crossing the stream several times and scrambling over rocks and boulders which was fun. The view at the end is incredible but you must traverse through 40° water for a few seconds to get there. Make sure to talks good trail shoes that are good on wet surfaces. Take clothes that dry quickly as well. The last incline out is a haul after a long day but well worth it. You must have a permit to do this hike.

hiking
7 months ago

One of my favorite hikes. Not much elevation, but the crisscross to get to the Subway is a lot of fun. I only wore neoprene socks and boots from Zion Adventure Co, but in hindsight should of worn the entire water tight outfit to see the last waterfall. Had to stop where the canyon narrowed and went chest deep. Highly recommend.

hiking
7 months ago

A bit rough on the knees but no pain no gain! Beautiful landscape and off season a brilliantly mystical place. Highly recommend going in the winter to have the whole place to yourself!

8 months ago

not gonna lie we got lost on the way back, be very careful because there is a false exit and you want to be SURE not to take it.

the trail was BEAUTIFUL though. not to difficult other then the small hiccup at the end. And the tunnel and waterfalls were amazing!

9 months ago

Fun hike.

9 months ago

Spectacular hike. 9/10 difficultly.

9 months ago

amazing hike. don't forget to bring enough clothes in order to get into the pools in the end (I switched shoes just for the end) totally worth it!

9 months ago

Giving this hike 3 stars in comparison to the top down hike. As a down and back hike, you're obviously covering the same terrain twice, which I'm personally not a huge fan of.

Hiking along the river is beautiful but offers little new or unique scenery until the very end as you near the subway trail end.

The top down version by comparison is AMAZING and is only a small increase in time investment.

10 months ago

Awesome

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