Zion National Park, Utah
The Narrows, Temple of Sinawava, wildlife, towering sandstone cliffs
About 2.5 miles roundtrip if you hike from the Temple of Sinawava to Mystery Falls. If you hike from the top of the narrows down to the bottom it is about 16 miles.
Top of the narrows in Chamberlain's Ranch is 5861ft. The end of the paved trail elevation is 4507 ft
Chamberlain's Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava is about 1427 ft
End of the paved trail to the Temple of Sinawava is about 73 ft
About 2 hours if you are hiking just the paved trail hike. If you hike the entire Narrows from top to bottom you can do it in 12-15 hours or take two days.
Yes. Entrance fees are required. If you hike from the Top Down Approach you will need a permit. If you are hiking just the paved section of the Narrows and hike up to Big Springs you do not need a permit.
Bring plenty of water
Late spring, summer and fall
Open year round
Not a whole lot of sun exposure once inside the Narrows
Good 1-mile paved trail then you must walk the rest of the way on river rocks and through the water
Yes. At the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop
Allowed by permit only
Bring food and snacks as needed
Bring a backpack, hiking poles, hat, sunglasses, good hiking shoes that can get fully wet.
Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop: 37.285268°, -112.947426°
End of the concrete footpath: 37.296456°, -112.948185°
Bottom Up Approach – RIVER WALK TRAIL
Park at the Zion National Park Visitor Center and take the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop.
Top Down Approach
You need a permit to hike the entire Narrows from top to bottom and you will also need a two-car shuttle system or have someone drop you off at the top. Follow the map to the Top Down Approach trailhead for the Narrows. It is about a 2.5 hour drive from St. George to this traillhead.
You can hike the narrows in two ways. You can either hike Top Down or Bottom Up.
Top Down Approach
If you plan to hike the narrows from the Top Down you will need to reserve a permit from the park service. It is a 16 mile trek which some people do in two days – it took us about 13 hours to do. I have only hiked from Top Down one time and it was completely exhausting but we had a lot of fun doing it. Unfortunately, when I hiked from top down, I didn’t bring a camera and I honestly don’t remember too much except for my feet and ankles killed by about half way through because I rolled my ankles walking through all the river rocks. It took us the entire day and it will require a shuttle system so you can be dropped off at the top of the narrows and you will end at the Temple of Sinawava.
The Top Down approach will require good hiking shoes that can get wet and dirty. When I hiked this way back in 2008 I had only my crock-like shoes that I used – not recommended. Bring a water filter, lots of food and snacks, flashlights and walking poles. Also, bring a big enough backpack to fit all of your gear. You will need to pay careful attention to the water levels and always check with the park to make sure there are no flash flood warnings.
The trailhead begins at Chamberlain’s Ranch. Again, you will NEED a shuttle system with two cars or have someone drop you off at the top. It is about an hour and a half drive from the park to the ranch so keep that in mind if you are using a two car shuttle system. You will then follow the creek all the way down the 16 miles to the Temple of Sinawava. Let the fun begin!
Top Down Starting Point – (Chamberlain’s Ranch): 37.385288°, -112.838964°
Bottom Up Approach
If you hike UP the narrows you will begin by taking the Zion park shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava stop (it’s the last stop at the end of the road in the park). You will then hike about a mile on a concrete trail to where you will need to hike through the water. Many people simply hike up the concrete trail and hang around at the end then hike back. Bring your shoes that can get wet and hike up a little ways! You are allowed to hike UP the narrows to Big Springs but you cannot hike passed that point. Some people hike up to Orderville Canyon and turn around – it is about a 2 hour round trip hike. Depending on your skill level and who is part of your group, you may just want to hike to Mystery Falls which isn’t that far from the end of the concrete trail.
The trail begins at the Temple of Sinawava shuttle stop. Here there are restrooms, benches and plenty to see! The concrete trail starts here and makes the 1 mile trek up to the canyon.
On our trip we saw lots of wildlife. There were plenty of deer hanging around eating all the grass near the creek and we saw a few very tame squirrels picking up crumbs from hikers’ food – please don’t feed the wildlife!
Along the 1 mile trail there are many areas where water comes right out of the rock walls and creates beautiful gardens all over the canyon!
Once you come to the end of the paved trail you will see a large open area where people usually leave their shoes and walk barefoot up the Narrows. I wouldn’t recommend walking barefoot because there are more chances for you to slip or roll your ankles.
From here on out you will be hiking through the creek. Many people bring walking sticks and if you plan to hike up a ways through the Narrows I would suggest you do the same. The canyon begins to narrow exceedingly here and it makes for some incredible photographs. If you look up it’s crazy to think that the canyon rim is about 2000 feet above you!
We hiked a few hundred yards up to Mystery Falls and then came back down.
This is Mystery Falls.
If you are interested in Canyoneering, one of my favorite canyons is Mystery Canyon which ends right at the base of Mystery Falls. You can check out the Trek here for more information.
Head back the same way you came up.
The Narrows is an incredible hike which offers some of the best Zion has to offer. I always enjoy hiking up the canyon and then hiking through the creek and seeing the sandstone walls towering thousands of feet above you. I always see little children on this hike and they seem to be having a ton of fun too – bring the whole fam!