Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park

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Within Utah's Zion National Park there is a 16-mile gorge called "the Narrows" that is considered one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the country. At times 2,000 feet deep and only 20 feet across, the Narrows was cleaved into the earth by the Virgin River, and is dotted with sandstone caves, natural springs, and hanging plants.

Among hikers, the Narrows hike is considered one of the top 10 hiking and outdoor experiences in the world—but it is not for the faint of heart. Hikers spend about 60 percent of the hike wading through the river, whose current is swift and cold, whose rocks are slick, and whose water level can sometimes flow as high as chest-deep. Flash floods are also a constant danger, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you head out, and the Narrows are sometimes closed due to extremely high water levels and fast flow.

The best time of year to go is May through October, and you must obtain a permit if you want to hike all 16 miles from the top down.

Check out our gallery of the Narrows above.

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