The Narrows Hike – The Ultimate Zion Campervan Getaway
Zion National Park, located in southwest Utah, is a fabulous addition to many of our favorite itineraries and has made it onto our list of the Ultimate National Parks Road Trip. Its geography is stunning, and without a doubt, it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Zion National Park is renowned for its striking red sandstone, varied landscape, slot canyons and a diverse array of plants and animals.
Some of the critters who call Zion home include some 70 species of mammals (including mule deer, foxes, bats, bighorn sheep, and rock squirrels). Also, there are nearly 300 species of birds, eight species of fish, and 44 species of reptiles and amphibians. Zion National Park is also a habitat for some rare species including the California condor, Mexican spotted owl, the Mojave Desert tortoise, and the Southwestern willow flycatcher.
Its predominant feature- the Zion Canyon is 15 miles long and as much as 2,640 feet (800 meters) deep with reddish-colored sandstone walls. The Virgin River, which sculpted its way through thousands of feet of Navajo sandstone, created it. The river flows to the Emerald Pools, which contain waterfalls and a mystical hanging garden.
The topography includes monolithic cliffs and high plateaus sprinkled with box elder, cottonwood, ash, and willow trees. The enormity of the canyon belies the soft and subtle nature of the fern and wildflower gardens that have grown around it. In the upper portion of the canyon is a startling gorge, often referred to as The Narrows.
Hiking the Narrows has become a phenomenon for hikers, and you can take my word for it: the Narrows is one of the most awe-striking treks you will ever experience! In this article, we’ll talk about the Narrows and what you can expect when you get there. We’ll also review how to prepare ahead of time, so you have everything you need to load up your Travellers-Autobarn converted camper van and go on your epic hiking adventure!
The Narrows 101
You can’t get to the Zion Narrows by car from February through November, so if you’re planning to visit during those months, you must travel on foot, by bike, or take the shuttle bus. Be prepared! The shuttle bus can often have long waits so plan to arrive early.
The shuttle bus offers an excellent opportunity to take in the beautiful views of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and preserve your energy for the hike ahead. With all the stops, the drive takes about 30-45 minutes.
Riverside Walk – 1 mile
The walk to the trailhead is about a mile long, and it goes along the Virgin River. It’s an easy trek that anyone can do and you’ll get to see some beautiful scenery along the way.
Mystery Falls – 1.5 miles
This next section is about a mile and a half long and involves wading through water. This section can be challenging as you will be walking against the current, which can be tiring. Be careful of your footing and tread lightly.
Wall Street and Orderville Canyon Confluence – 2.5 miles
About a mile upstream is the Wall Street marker. At this point, you will notice the canyon walls get much closer together, and the feeling of awe and wonder take over. It is an otherworldly feeling when you’re there. Orderville Canyon joins on the right and offers a 0.5-mile detour to Veiled Falls for those who want to check that site off their list.
Big Spring – 5 miles
From the confluence, you can go about 2.5 miles more along the Virgin River until you reach Big Spring. It’s at this point that day hikers must turn around and go back. Anyone who wants to travel further must get a permit. You can find out about that here.
In its entirety, this day hike takes about 2-4 hours depending on how fast you go and how many times you stop for breaks.