My Experience Hiking the Narrows in Zion N.P.
This summer we took a family trip to St. George, UT. Joined by my two sisters and their families. On our third day in St. George, we headed for Zion. My excitement was palpable, I could not wait! We were going to hike the Narrows! Yes!
The night before, a severe monsoon storm rolled through, bringing a lot of rain. We became a little concerned if the Narrows would be open to hiking or what the water level would be. We were hiking with two 9-year-olds after all. We headed out early the next morning to make the gorgeous drive to Zion. Despite leaving at dawn, we arrived being told no more cars were allowed in the park. Thankfully we found a parking spot near the entrance, but we had to pay for it. If you plan a summer trip to Zion, expect higher crowds. Zion only allows so many cars in the park each day. Be prepared to pay for parking. The park does run shuttles about every 7-10 minutes.
With excitement pumping through my veins, we made our way into the park. Hopped on a shuttle for the most insanely beautiful drive. We rode past Angels Landing where we spotted hikers making their way to the top (I will be heading back to hike Angels Landing in a few months). The kids were just amazed at all the beauty surrounding them and became more excited at each stop.
The hike down to the Narrows is about a mile on a paved path. Beware the squirrels they are everywhere, and they are NOT shy! Those little guys have become so used to humans and unfortunately being fed. Please don’t feed the squirrels. The kids made a game out of how many they saw. The path was crowded but moved steadily toward the river. Thankfully the Narrows was open to hiking but there were park rangers reminding hikers to be aware of flash flooding. Once you get down to the water there are places you can sit to put on water shoes and prepare before stepping into the water.
Due to the storm, the water was higher than normal at that time of year. It was also quite chilly! (A few areas got as high as our chests). Once you acclimated to the water it was totally fine. The kids did just fine as well. The Narrows is a very popular hike, and it was super crowded but don’t fret it does thin out a lot and that’s due to a lot of people coming completely unprepared. We saw several people without the proper shoes and clothing. Girls wearing their cute little shoes (which were going to be trashed after that), people wearing jeans, flip flops, no waterproof shoes, and parents not preparing their kids properly. We will go over what you need to bring and wear in a few minutes.
The water was unusually cloudy due to the storm making it very difficult to see the rocks and boulders in the water. LOL! Normally the water is much clearer. We pulled out our hiking sticks to help keep us balanced and to feel our way through. We laughed at each other as we tripped and stumbled along the way. Often clapping as one of us fell. Our kiddos had a blast trying to make their way through their big adventure. As we made our way SLOWLY the crowds dissipated dramatically. Soon we were able to take pictures without other people in them.
Words cannot describe the sheer beauty of the Narrows. The stunning red rocks and cliffs against a clear blue sky. We did not hike the entire Narrows (because…kids) but we did do a big chunk. There are plenty of pull-offs to sit and eat a snack or small lunch or just to take a break and admire the beauty. In the one spot we stopped we decided to stack rocks. So, if you go and see a bunch of rocks stacked, we started that. You’re welcome.
The Narrows was the coolest hike I have done! It is challenging but not so challenging that your kids can’t do it. I recommend kids 8 and older. It was an incredible experience and one I highly recommend.
Here are my tips for hiking the Narrows:
-Head to the park early
-Be prepared to pay for parking especially if you are going during the high season
-Keep an eye out for the weather and check with the park’s website before leaving
-Bring a hiking backpack with a bladder for water. Make sure the kids have one as well
-Pack healthy high-protein snacks. Keep the sugary snacks to a minimum
-Wear high-quality water shoes! Not the Walmart kind. You don’t want to be hiking a rocky river with those
-Bring hiking poles
-Wear the proper clothing. Lightweight quick-drying clothes.
-You don’t need to bring another pair of shoes unless you plan on doing other hikes that day. We just wore our water shoes
-Bring sunscreen, a hat, and a cooling towel (if you need it)
-Prepare your kids for the hike. Tell them what to expect and what the day will be like
-Leave it better than you found it. Pack all your trash out
-Have fun, take pictures, and make memories
Zion is a park you don’t want to miss! Yes, the Narrows are very popular but keep in mind the crowds thin about after a mile or two. Then you can truly experience the Narrows.
Keep hiking my friends!