July 10, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Narrows

There’s no shortage of iconic hikes to enjoy during your stay in our Springdale resort. Angels Landing is perhaps the most famous. This challenging, and sometimes dangerous trail is a bucket-list hike for many visitors. Unfortunately, the new reservation system makes hiking it during your stay a little more challenging.

Luckily, Angels Landing is far from Zion’s only incredible trail. Whether you miss out on getting a permit during your stay at Cliffrose Lodge or are looking for other trails to enjoy, another popular option is The Narrows. 

Hiking the Narrows can be just as challenging—or perhaps even more so—than Angels Landing. But unlike the other trail, this option can be adapted to make it much shorter and easier, and even family-friendly. This trail is one of Zion and the West’s most unique trails to experience. If you’re thinking about hiking the Narrows during your stay in our Springdale resort, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

What are The Narrows?

To understand what makes hiking the Narrows such a unique experience, you’ll first need to understand a little about the geography of Zion National Park. Most of the national park is situated around Zion Canyon. The opening to Zion Canyon is located at the entrance to the park, where Springdale and our Utah luxury hotel is located.

After entering the park—using your national park annual pass, if you have one—you’ll enter the Lower Canyon, which becomes more narrow the deeper you go. Eventually, the road ends, and cars and shuttle buses have to turn around. From there, you can continue on foot on Riverside Walk, which will take you to the canyon’s narrowest section.

At the end of Riverside Walk are a few short steps down to the banks of the Virgin River. This is also where The Narrows begins or ends, depending on which direction you’re hiking. This is what makes this trail so unique—no matter which direction you hike or how far you go, you’ll be trekking through the cool waters of the Virgin River. As you enter this narrow slot canyon, you’ll be ankle or even knee-deep in water, with incredible sheer cliffs rising on either side of you.

Hiking The Narrows

There are two different options for hiking the Narrows during your Springdale resort stay; Bottom-Up or Top-Down.

Bottom-Up Hike

The most popular option for hiking the Narrows is the Bottom-Up hike. This option starts in Zion’s Lower Canyon and can be customized to fit your group’s abilities and time constraints. 

Unlike Angels Landing, you won’t need a permit to hike this part of the Narrows. When the Zion Canyon Shuttles are in operation, you’ll ride to the last stop, Stop #9, also known as the Temple of Sinawava. From there, hike the Riverside Walk to the start of the Narrows. You can simply dip your feet in and enjoy the view of the slot canyon. Or, hike upstream for a mile or two to get a taste of this hike. When you’re done, simply turn around and hike back out. 

You can even do this hike with limited gear, although you will need to have shoes that you can get wet and plenty of water with you.

Top-Down Through Hike

The other option for hiking the Narrows is much more challenging. It involves arranging transport to Chamberlain’s Ranch, a private property where you can access the start of this hike. It’s 16 miles total, and most hikers choose to sleep overnight on the trail.

You’ll need to get a Wilderness Permit to hike this portion of the trail. You can get a Wilderness Permit online ahead of your stay in our Springdale resort. Reservation windows open on the first day of each month for the following month. For instance, if you’re hoping to hike the Narrows in August, you could apply for a permit starting on July 1. There are different permit requirements for those planning to hike the trail in a day and those planning to stay overnight on the trail.

Hiking the Narrows from the Top-Down requires the right gear and plenty of hiking experience to do it safely.

Hiking the Narrows During Your Springdale Resort Stay

Hiking the Narrows is a great choice for families, solo travelers, and couples planning a stay in our Springdale resort. This iconic trail offers some of the best views in all of Zion—and you won’t even have to trek up the infamous Walter’s Wiggles to enjoy them!

If you have your heart set on hiking the Narrows during your next stay at Cliffrose Lodge, you may want to consider when to book your stay. The Narrows close to hikers when water levels on the Virgin River are high. This is common in the Spring and into the early summer. Visiting in late summer or fall will mean a better chance of water levels being low. 

It’s also a good idea to stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center when you get to the park to talk to rangers about water levels and any weather you might need to know about on the day you plan to hike The Narrows.

Ready to start planning your next Zion adventure? Book your stay at our Springdale resort today!

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