Zion Narrows, Utah: Photos & Trip Report

» the narrows
The "Narrows" are upstream from the main Zion Canyon, where the walls squeeze to slot canyon dimensions: 1,500 feet tall and as narrow as 30 feet wide in places. In these spots, the water flows from wall to wall so hiking it involves a lot of wading through the Virgin River.

The Narrows span a distance of 16 miles but to hike the whole thing you need a permit, and more time than we had. Without a permit, you can hike up from the end of the Gateway to the Narrows Trail (Riverside Walk) to Big Springs, about 3.6 miles one way. We rented drypants, neoprene socks, shoes, and walking sticks from the Zion Adventure Company who gave us a quick lecture on the Narrows and said that if we hiked all the way to Big Springs we would most likely run into some spots where we had to swim. Not looking to get that x-treme this time, we set our sights on getting to "Wall Street", the section where the canyon is most narrow, which is only a couple miles in and requires no swimming.

So, the Narrows have much more to offer than what you will see here, but even a quick trip offers amazing and unique scenery.

We started out at about 9am, I think, and were out at about 3pm. I stopped about every 50 feet to take a picture and due to the darkness of the canyon I always had to find a natural tripod (a rock) to shoot from. We did not see another person until we were on our way out, probably around 1-2pm.

The point at which the canyon becomes truly narrow.

Me in the Wall Street area of The Narrows. (Photo by Megan)

Megan being dwarfed.

Left: The 120 foot Mystery Falls. Right: Textured walls.

Megan wading near Mystery Falls.

This is a huge alcove that is very impressive in person.

Us.

Wall Street area.

Megan making her way.

More views.

The walls are very smooth here, polished by years of flowing water.

Megan taking a break near Floating Rock.

Leaning walls.

Left: Megan wading through one of the deeper crossings. Right: The zig-zagging river.

Much of the hike is like this, with a rocky river bank on one side.

Left: Megan rounding a bend. Top: Narrowing walls. Bottom: The back side of Floating Rock.

Light and dark.

Top: Fall color. Right: Wall Street area. Bottom: Megan fighting the current.

Near the start.

Me with Mystery Falls off to my right. (Photo by Megan)

Left: Mountain of Mystery, far above. Right: Rapids.

Me on top of Floating Rock, near the spot where we turned around. (Photo by Megan)

Megan at the junction of Orderville Canyon and The Narrows (she is in The Narrows, I am in Orderville).

» orderville canyon
Orderville Canyon is a tributary to The Narrows that is well worth a detour from the main canyon. It has less water flow, narrower walls, and more obstacles. Not having an excess of time, we only hiked a short distance into Orderville.

Megan in Orderville Canyon.

Us above a small waterfall near the spot where we turned around.

Left: Megan in Orderville Canyon. Top: Looking up at the plants that cling to the walls. Bottom: Orderville Creek feeding into the Virgin River.

 

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