The Narrows in Zion National Park

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A vertical view of the deepest part of The Narrows in Zion National Park called 'Wall Street'.

There is no possible way to over exaggerate the beauty of The Narrows hike in Zion National Park! It’s rated as one of the top, if not the #1 hike in all of the United States. With those kinds of words to live up to, you might expect you’d be disappointed, but instead you’ll find yourself looking up at the most beautiful and mysterious canyon you’ve ever seen.

That’s not to say you’re not going to deal with some challenges, along with fame comes a price – this is a busy and often crowded hike. Some of these photos took me 45 minutes or more to get without a steady stream of people in them, and we went in the off season.

There’s also the delicate topic of the smell along the first part of the Narrows which comes from the fact that this hike is incredibly popular and there are no bathrooms. So it would seem that people just go anywhere along the trail, and well… it really smells at points.

Despite the amount of people and other factors we faced including 40ºF water, this is still one of the most amazing hikes I’ve ever done. It doesn’t seem to matter what you’re going to do in life, there are always drawbacks, so if you just choose to ignore some of the issues, you’ll have a much better day.

Another section of 'Wall Street' in the deepest part of The Narrows with end of the day sunlight glowing on the canyon walls.

We stopped to set up for a photo right in this very spot (above photo). And no sooner did I get my tripod set up and my camera ready, (note that I’m squatted down in 40ºF rushing water trying to keep my footing and not dump my camera in the river) than a girl with her iPhone steps right in front of me and the guy next to me who has been trying to get the shot for a while now. She then proceeds to spend at least 5 minutes standing right in front of our cameras. While I know we all want a shot, maybe we can stand next to each other to get it, instead of being so pushy?

Anyways… I started laughing at the absurdity of it all, but the guy next to me was mad, so mad I thought he might just strangle her. She eventually wandered off and I got my photo. But while she was blocking our cameras, I started talking to him and found out that he had traveled all the way from Italy to get photos of the famous Narrows. Which really got me thinking that often we’ve all come a long ways to see something, and it would just be so much nicer if there was a little respect offered to those around us.

The view of the start of Orderville Canyon a off shoot of The Narrows.

But for every disheartening experience you can find so much good ones around you that it’s really not worth dwelling on, I just want to add a little reality into the magic of this place. On a positive and fun note, we met a group of three guys hiking along, 2 of them were brothers living on opposite sides of the United States.

And they were hiking with their father who had flown all the way from India to spend a vacation with his sons. The father asked me to take a picture to commemorate their trip, so I gladly took their picture, and emailed it to them later when we got back home.

A view of where the canyon begins to narrow from the beginning of the hike through The Narrows.

The early section of The Narrows looks a lot like this photo and the next one…

A view of the earlier section of The Narrows hike where the canyon is wider.
Another view of the 'Wall Street' section of The Narrows.

… but be sure you start early in the day so that you can get to the best part – Wall Street.

Deep into the 'Wall Street' section of The Narrows where the canyon walls turn vertical.

The section of The Narrows called Wall Street is where the walls start closing in, and it all becomes dark and mysterious. Towards the second half of the day, the light starts refracting around the canyon, and it’s pure magic!

A section where the water was low enough to be blue against the orange canyon walls.

This photo was taken as we were right at the end of the hike. I looked back and actually gasped out loud, there was a rock wall that was covered with moss and algae I hadn’t paid any attention to early that morning, and it had suddenly turned to gold with the last rays of sunlight. Which really proves you’ll never have a bad view all day long!

A section at the very beginning of The Narrows hike at the end of the day with gold light on the canyon wall.

No post about The Narrows would be complete without mentioning the dangers of this hike. Because it’s a narrow canyon, flash flooding is a serious concern, and it’s recommended not to go in without checking with the authorities.

There’s 2 places in the town of Springdale, (located at the entrance of the park) that rent out gear to go into the canyon with, and they can give you current conditions. Since we went really late in the season, we needed to rent canyoneering shoes and pants because the temperature of the water was so cold.

Water running over the river rocks in the beginning section of The Narrows hike in Zion National Park.

We did see some people trying to hike without gear, but they didn’t make it even 1/4 of the way. They also rent out hiking sticks which will be really helpful for the constant river crossing you’ll be doing.

If you’re going to be renting gear, it’s nice to go into town the night before to secure your rental and get sized for what you need. They also require you to watch a safety movie, so with that in mind, it’s good to have it all out of the way so you can have the full day hiking The Narrows!

And finally, if you’re visiting Zion, you may enjoy reading about the popular Angel’s Landing Hike.

12 thoughts on “The Narrows in Zion National Park”

  1. Hello Kari
    My family and I took this hike years ago, and it’s amazing!
    I have pics of my kids on the rock that you have as your first picture of the article. I have been looking for a picture that you have posted to purchase and frame alone along with he pics of my kids on the same rock.
    Can you help me purchase the print if you are not the not who took the pic?
    I would love to download. Thanks

  2. Headed to St George UT. Looking for amazing sites and things to do near St George but willing to travel as well. Can you help me out with moderate to easy hikes? Any thing you can think of for a first traveler to UT. Thank you very much

    • There are so many wonderful hikes, I would recommend looking into the AllTrails app and going with what distance looks good to you. The Emerald Pools are nice and so is the Canyon Overlook Trail which are both in Zion. Taking a short drive to Bryce Canyon to view at the overlooks is worthwhile. There are different hikes there as well, just check the app for how long you want to go. Also there’s Snow Canyon State Park in the area as well.

  3. My very favorite place is Zion and your photos are STUNNING! People just don’t realize the treasure they have in the National parks. Too Bad. We spent Christmas, 2015 in Yellowstone, which is my husband’s favorite. We love Montana, too, reminds us of Austin before the tech boom and it got so big. I am a HS science teacher in TX, he is a geologist/computer geek, currently paid as a geek, lol.

    Thank you for sharing so much: I thoroughly enjoyed!


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! We loved Zion too, but I’m not sure what our favorite park would be. If you ever feel like heading way north, you should check out Banff, the Columbia Icefields, and Jasper in Alberta, Canada – the scenery is unbelievable! We’re planning a 2nd trip there soon, so there will be lots of pictures to come. 🙂

  4. I so wish we could have done this hike but the water level was too high this spring. Maybe someday I can go back and check it off my to do list. Your photos as usual are awesome. Thank you for not photoshopping with colors that are not real. Zion doesn’t need added color, it is perfect the way it is.


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