Southern Utah’s Zion National Park is famous for its narrow passageways and breathtaking canyon walls. It’s also home to one of the top canyon hikes in the world. Known as the Narrows, this is a 16-mile hike through waist-deep water, twisting slots, and smoothly carved sandstone walls.
But as the Zion Adventure Company is quick to remind potential visitors, “The Narrows can be as dangerous as it is beautiful.”
To make your journey as fun as possible, here are a few Do’s and Don’ts when hiking the famous Narrows.
Start at Chamberlain’s Ranch- If you want the total Narrows experience, start from the top of the canyon at Chamberlain’s Ranch and make your way down. The 16-mile trip will take between 10-14 hours, even for fit hikers, so plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.
Check Zion’s Weather Patterns- It’s an absolute must to check the weather reports before heading into the canyons, as flash floods are common during heavy rains. And the last place you want to be stuck during a flash flood is the Narrows.
Bring Waterproof Gear- Pack your food, water, warm clothes, and camera equipment in a dry bag. This $20 dollar piece of equipment protects cameras and other expensive gear every trip. You can also expect to spend around 60% of your time in the water and the remaining time walking on the riverbank, so dress accordingly. Waterproof shoes are essential for an enjoyable hike. And be sure to pack a dry set of clothes for afterward.
Visit Wall Street- The 2-mile section of slot canyon where the walls thin to 22-feet wide and 1,500 feet high is known as Wall Street. No road or trail can take you to this awesome place; you have to walk the river to see it for yourself.
Come Out of Shape- This is a 16-mile hike through tight spaces and slippery shores, so be sure to come with a crew that doesn’t mind getting some serious exercise.
Come Unprepared for Cold Water- Hypothermia is a risk any time of year as the water can get to as low as 40 degrees in some spots of the Canyon.
Hike Without a Permit- If you decide to hike the full Narrows, permits are required.
Bring Your Cell Phone- Your mobile device is useless, as the Narrows are service free. It’s added weight, liable to get wet, and besides, you’re there to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on Earth, right?