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Zion Narrows (Bottom-Up)

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One of the most iconic part of Zion National Park is the Zion Narrows. The Virgin River has carved a path through the canyon that in some places is 1,000 feet high and as as narrow as 30 feet across.

Zion Shuttle System

The shuttles in Springdale and in the main canyon make for a great experience to be able to hop on and off the shuttle and not have to fight for parking. For this hike you want to go to the very end of the line, stop #9, to the Temple of Sinawava.

Before you begin a hike in The Narrows, be sure to check the weather forecast. Zion National Park gives updated information at the trailhead. In early June 2023, The Narrows were still closed because of the high waters.


To get the base of the Narrows get off at shuttle stop #9, the Temple of Sinawava and hike the Riverside Walk.

Most years and season this is a great place to let kids play in the shallow water and get a small taste of The Narrows.

Zion Narrows

The Narrows are actually 16 miles long, but to hike the entire stretch you need a permit. A tributary of the Narrows is Orderville Canyon. The last 1/4 mile of Orderville Canyon can be hiked from the bottom as part of The Narrows Bottom-Up hike, but to hike the full 11 1/2 miles of the canyon to the base of the Narrows, you’ll also need a permit. It requires canyoneering and must also be done from the top down.

The most popular way to hike the Narrows is from the bottom up. It doesn’t require a permit and can be done by more skill levels. The full hike from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Springs and Imlay Temple is 8.6 miles round trip and difficult. This is fully flexible though. You can wade around in the river for a couple minutes or for hours. Be sure there is no rain forecasted as dangerous flash floods can occur in this or any slot canyon.

Beginning The Narrows Hike

I have hiked parts of the Zion Narrows a few different times, but these photos were taken a few years ago in April. Local outdoor adventure companies rent equipment to make hiking the Narrows a lot easier. For $32 you can get hiking water shoes, neoprene socks, and a hiking sticks. If the weather is cooler you can get dry pants for an extra $17. We felt like it was well worth it for our April hike.

When I’ve been there in August when the water is lower and warmer it wouldn’t have been as needed. Here are a few pictures of my son’s July 2022 trip. The water was mostly only ankle-deep with a few deeper pools, but it was refreshing.

There are parts where you don’t need to walk in the water, but at least 60% of the hike of the hike requires you to walk in the water. In April was mostly only to our knees or below, but there could be parts that you would need to swim.

Even though the water wasn’t that high, it was still somewhat tiring to walk through because of the flow pushing against you and having to step over rocks to find good footing.

It is an amazing place to be with so much beauty! Here is a packing list.

Riverside Walk Trail

Stats: Distance – 1.9 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 1-2 hours
Elevation gain – 193 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – paved
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round
Permits needed – $35 for 7-day pass or National Parks Pass
Pets allowed – No

Zion Narrow’s (Bottom-Up)

Stats: Distance – 0-8.5 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 1-8 hours
Elevation gain – 0 – 4163 feet
Difficulty – Moderate/Difficult
Trail – walking in water that is mostly ankle deep, but can get several feet deep in spots, some trail and rocks
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round, best April-October
Permits needed – $35/vehicle for 7-day pass or National Parks Pass
Pets allowed – No



We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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