Looking back at our trip – my only regret is that we didn’t spend an entire day in the Narrows!
In Zion National Park, farthest tip of the canyon from the parks main entrance and it is also the most narrow (hence the name). The Virgin River runs through this narrow canyon which means you’re going to trek through water – which served as a refreshing change to our previous hikes and an exciting new adventure!
I strongly recommend checking with the staff at the visitors center and checking the weather forecast so you can dress accordingly for the Narrows. The water was going to be between 55-65 degrees the day of our hike. We stopped by Zion Outfitters in Springdale, UT (on the way into Zion National Park) and rented Neoprene Socks for around $7 a pair for additional warmth. We planned ahead and purchased watershoes online which was well worth the investment. Knowing we would be doing more than the Narrows on Day 5, having the extra pair of socks and shoes designated for the water allowed us to switch into dry and warm socks and shoes for the rest of the day!
I dressed for the 50-60 degree morning with a packable but warm Nike jacket – and paired it with comfortable and breathable LuluLemon running shorts… Not exactly the most fashionable look for the trail – but it was the most practical for the job at hand!
We noticed the water level rise a few inches from the time we started till we turned around. For the most part of the hike in we stayed in the shallow parts of the water to keep most of our bodies out of the water – but as the sun came up I was waist deep on multiple occasions which made for some awesome photos and I’ll never regret getting a little wet to fully experience a situation.
You can look at pictures all day long of what to expect in the canyon, but nothing is even close to what you witness in real life! I loved the small waterfalls and hanging gardens that decorate the tall and earth-toned walls on this almost never-ending hike.
We got to the park right at 8:00am so we could be some of the first adventurers in the water. I strong suggest going early… We started with maybe 4 other people and as we made our way back to the entrance of the trail there were dozens of people – which would have taken away from the peaceful and serene experience we had just a few hours earlier.
One of the cheesy tourist things I was most excited about was getting a walking stick as a right of passage in the Narrows. I kept reading everywhere that you don’t need to buy a stick because you just take one from the people as they leave… A very campfire and boy-scout thing to say – but that was the awesome reality of it! When we arrived, there were dozens of “well-lived” walking sticks stacked along the canyon walls, so I picked the one with the most personality and headed on my way into the canyon! And with the strength of the current and the slickness of the rocks – it was a wise choice to have the walking stick in hand!
And to continue the tradition of the canyon – as we left, I gifted my walking stick to another guy just making his way in! People in nature just seem to be better people. Maybe its the fresh air, maybe its the disconnect from day to day stress or maybe it’s because I had a bad ass walking stick.. But finishing our tour of the Narrows and handing off the ceremonial walking stick was like I was sharing the experience with someone else – I wish life had more opportunities for people to interact in these ways.
Again – my biggest regret is that we didn’t get to spend 10-12 hours in the Narrows as we didn’t get to experience all of the greatness it had in store – but I love every minute we spent in the canyon and WILL return for a full day trip one day soon!
After the Narrows we dried off (having the dry shoes and socks was clutch) and headed to a few more trails! The map from the Visitors Center had many more places to see and things to do – and we were set on doing as much as we could in our 3 days in Zion!
The hike to Hidden Canyon Trail was a straight incline for 1.5 miles… In the planning of the hikes I think I only read “1.5” and neglected to notice the INCLINE – not the best pairing after 4 hours in the Narrows – but still amazing views of the center of Zion canyon!
This is another trail I wish we would have had more time to explore. The initial hike takes you straight up (again, the incline) into the mouth of the canyon… but not down into the hidden canyon which looked like its own adventure. The weaping rock trail could be seen from the climb up to hidden canyon – pretty cool. But I’m content with seeing it from a distance and we didn’t take that short trip to see it up close and personal and this trip.
We went about 1/2 a mile on the Hidden Canyon trail – you have to climb through a small opening one person at a time to access the trail which immediately had our attention and sparked our curiosity!
This day could have easily been split into two days – which would be the first two days of my return trip to Zion in the future! I loved everything about the two full days we had in the park – and was thrilled to have one more day (Day 6) to see the remaining trails on the to do list!
Check out some video highlights from the this day on my Vimeo Channel:
One more day… Recap on its way!