Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Over 3 million people visit Zion National Park every year, and a hike through The Narrows is one of the park's most popular attractions. The Narrows is a breathtaking hike through the slot canyons of Zion National Park. 

The only way to see The Narrows is to brave the Virgin River, which literally is the trail. The trailhead starts via the end of the Riverside Walk Trail where the path meets the Virgin River. To prepare for this hike you must take a lot into consideration. First, it is a there-and-back trail. That means you must anticipate the toll that hiking in a river will take on your body; be sure to conserve enough energy for the return trip. Second, the conditions can be quite cool in the canyon. In the spring, the water was about 30 degrees, which means wearing a wetsuit or even a drysuit is essential for your safety and comfort. You'll also want to make sure your gear can stand an accidental dip in the river, and sturdy footwear is also a must. You can rent gear at Zion Adventure Company. Finally, flash floods are a real danger, so check with the ranger station before you head out. 

The sheer cliffs of the slot canyons and the Virgin River's emerald green water constantly entice you to see what is around the next bend in the river. In some sections you'll move through water that is waist to chest deep, and in other sections you'll hike on a sandy shore. There are two different trail entrances: this adventure describes the lower hike, and the upper requires a wilderness permit and can be completed as a multi-day trip. If you have rapelling gear, you can continue to other sections of the the canyon that are considered a different trail altogether, such as The Subway. During Summer months, you can expect heavy traffic in The Narrows, but if you are into hiking or canyoneering, you should definitely consider making the trip.

Before you head out on your next adventure through the Narrows, make sure you have the right gear!

Here's a list of our go-to essentials to get you started:

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)





Amazing geology. Fun hike. Great photo opportunities.


Cold water. May require specialized water gear. Crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

4,344.00 ft (1,324.05 m)


Historically significant
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




The crowd of day hikers was the only negative associated with this otherwise phenomenal and mesmerizing slot canyon. There is a large number of visitors that I dare say are unprepared and disrespectful to the natural beauty of this sacred place. I did, however, meet other photographers within the canyon that I have befriended and mutually respect each others work to this day! Photo Tip: For any advanced or pros that haven't experienced this river hike to date, be prepared to be minimalist with your gear. For this, I purchased a Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW ll shoulder strap bag and waterproof pouches to pack my D810 body and just 2 lenses of my trifecta collection. I hand carried my tripod and it doubled duty as a hiking pole with ease. Ultra-wide angle and a 24-70mm will do the trick.
Bring a set of trekking poles, you won't regret it. Most people stumble around without sure footing and get frustrated quickly.
Visited Zion for the first time about 3 weeks ago and did around 14 miles in the Narrows. So epic and beautiful. We paid the $20 to rent canyoneering water socks/shoes and a walking stick, which was well worth it and made the hike more enjoyable. I don't think I'd have gone nearly that distance with my hiking shoes.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.