Canyons of the narrows | Zion national park

hiking and canyoning the narrows in Zion national park

Canyoning is an extreme sport and a true adventure. Canyoneering the narrows of Zion National Park, Utah  on the other hand is non technical and does not involve any hiking up the mountain or abseiling down. Its mostly a river walk realizable by anyone in a good shape and not deterred by the idea of dampened legs in the river Virgin. The narrows is a highlight of Zion. It is also a great way to seek shelter from the scorching sun.

canyoning the narrows in Zion national park
views while canyoning the narrows in Zion national park
You are surrounded by views like this

We started by paying a visit to the rental shop in Springdale, just outside the Zion national park entrance. It being summer, we declined the wet suit and opted to just take the canyoning shoes and a walking stick. Both of which were extremely useful and I would suggest anyone planning to do the narrows needs to have them. The shoes kept our feet protected from the stones and any sharp objects in the river bed. They didn’t do much in the department of keeping our legs dry though. The stick helped gauge how deep the river was before we lay our next step.

the narrows in Zion national park
sandstone cliffs of Zion national park

We started from temple of Sinawava and went upstream the Virgin river. A muddy stream, concealing how shallow or deep the river is does not seem appealing when you start off. But as you walk along the virgin river the canyon narrows. The sun and shade paint the canyon walls in hues of red and orange.The rising sandstone walls above, the winding river below kept us spellbound. Each turn revealed more of the canyon, artistically carved by river virgin. The sandstones walls were a smooth orange and thousands of feet tall, making a glorious sight to behold.

wall street in the narrows in Zion national park
Can you spot the people in this picture
the virgin river in zion
This was a side stream flowing into the Virgin river

The canyon got narrower and the walls more majestic as we reached an area called Wall street, aptly named for the towering canyon walls that surrounded us. The crowds thin considerably after this and we barely found anyone as we continued along the river. Frankly, though the best part is over by now and one wouldn’t miss much if they turned back here. We continued further for half an hour or so before deciding to turn back.

the wall street in the narrows of zion national park
The wall street
the wall street in the narrows of zion national parkthe wall street in zion national park
the wall street in the narrows
The river is a mere creek in some areas. And then, there are also portions where the water gets to over the waist. There are also non-artesian springs that trickle down the canyon walls creating hanging gardens and pockets of vegetation in the otherwise arid landscape.

hiking the virgin river
Praveen appears delighted to be in the muddy river

springs in Zion
Springs trickling down

Flash flood is always a danger here and must be checked for before starting this adventure. Even if its clear skies, rain water from upstream can easily flood the narrow canyon. Its the most fun activity and you will want to do it again for sure. For the more intrepid ones, Zion offers challenges in the name of Heaps Canyon.

canyoning shoes for narrows
When the mud painted my shoes

temple of Sinawava, zion
Back at the start near temple of Sinawava

Getting There

Zion national park is in the Utah state of USA and can be conveniently reached by car. The nearest major airports are LasVegas and SaltLake city. There is an entrance fee of $25 per vehicle or $12 per person and the ticket is valid for 7 days. It is however cheaper to buy a National Park pass if you have plans to go to other national parks around Zion.

One Comment:

  1. I love this website – its super inspiring

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