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The Narrows

48 hours, 16 miles, 1 approximate trail map
It is not an adventure for the faint of heart or feet. The Zion Narrows is a 16-mile hike in water ranging from ankle to chest deep. Our journey started at the top of Chamberlin’s Ranch, where the air was cold and the Virgin River was still shallow. As we walked deeper into the canyon, its rising walls started closing in over our heads, the water became gradually deeper, and we were alone.

What we saw was a feast for the senses: the clear, blue river - gentle at times, rapid at others. The steep, wavy canyon walls surrounding us in shades of deep orange, red and brown. We felt incredibly small standing on the canyon floor, 2,000 feet down, staring up at the crack of blue sky overhead. All around us were reminders of nature’s power. Washed up trees lined the bends in the river, creating roadblocks that we had to pick our way over. Frequent flash floods stained the rock 15 feet over our heads. Deep pools, wide rapids and slippery boulders were constant threats to our toes, ankles and sanity.

The most surprising discovery was the sense of complete isolation we felt at the end of the first day. No cell phone, GPS or park patrol could help us get out of trouble - a terrifying reality check when you’re 10 hours into the hike, with the daylight fading and water depth increasing, and you still haven’t located campsite 12.

The intense physical exertion was a small price to pay in order to gain a new level of respect for nature’s power to transform and persevere.
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Walk of wonder
Walking up The Narrows was on our Top 5 list for our Utah Parks vacation. We arrived in March and from the blog reading I'd done to prepare for our trip, we knew there'd be a chance the river would be too high for our traverse. Checking in at the park desk the day before gave us great hope...we learned conditions were favorable for making it all the way to Big Spring- as far as allowed for the Bottom Up hike.
Wanting to get an early start the next morning, we headed straight for Zion Adventure Company to procure full suits plus walking sticks. The staff there had great tips for us & were super helpful.
The morning of our hike we caught the 2nd shuttle bus to the Temple of Sinewava entrance to the Virgin River. The area is pretty and the sights only get better from there. We needed the full waders and neoprene socks with water shoes & wading sticks we had rented. Water levels were waist-high in places and water temps were frigid. We fell several times along the way because the current is strong. Lots of bruised shins!
Most of the crowds turned around before reaching Big Springs, but it was well worth the effort to see the beautiful waterfalls at trail end. We returned to the Temple of Sinewava trail head in late afternoon-- wet & cold with minds full of the wonder of towering canyon walls. Next time we're in Utah, The Narrows hike will be our number one destination!
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The Narrows Bottom Up, Hurricane, UT 84737, USA
+1 435-772-3256
Sun - Sat 6am - 9pm