Zion: The Coolest Hike

Welcome to the most photo-filled post ever.

ZionNP_064As you probably know, Brad and I are suckers for slot canyons.  They are amazing, weird, mind-blowing cracks in rock that can go down to just a few feet wide and hundreds of feet high.  The walls seem to surround you and you have to twist and turn your body to get through the narrow spaces. If that sounds interesting to you- which it should by the way-the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park is like a dream come true.

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“The Narrows” comprise a huge expanse, some of which you can get to via public access but most areas you need a special permit to access.  If you are just going for the day, the public access hiking area is beautiful and totally worth it.  You spend the first mile just winding through redrock on a maintained path, it’s beautiful but very flat and simple.  After the first mile, you actually enter the water.  Let’s make this perfectly clear- the water is cold, and you are in it the entire time.  It’s great, but make sure you are prepared for it.  My group went in October and MAN was that water freezing! We bought some neoprene socks (wet suit material) that we wore under our hiking sandals and they were absolutely necessary. They are a must if you aren’t going in the summer!

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The public access to the narrows goes for about 10 miles before you need a permit.  Since you are wading through the water the whole time, and the ground is filled with large rocks and pebbles like pictured above, you need to plan about an hour per mile you want to cover, especially if you stop for pictures as often as I do.  The Narrows don’t get as skinny as most slot canyons we go in- the slimiest section is about 20 feet wide, but they are so beautiful and magnificent.  The water cuts through the rock and makes amazing shapes. The water is perfectly clear but there aren’t any fish or anything, so I didn’t freak out at the water creatures.

We made it about 5 miles in.  At about a mile and a half, there is a little off-shoot called “Orderville Canyon” which is short and awesome and definitely worth the side-trek.  If you continue along, you eventually get to Wall Street, which was our goal.  Wall Street gets pretty narrow and the rock above comes down closer to you, the water flows through, and the walls glow with a goldish hue. It’s fascinating.

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This is really a must-do for … pretty much anyone.  Zion National Park is so beautiful and this hike is so unique, you just can’t pass it up.  Even in the absolutely freezing water, we had an amazing time.  We even ran into a little deer who got lost down in there! She was running right by us!  Here are a ton more pictures- sorry for the overload, but the best way to learn about this hike is to see some more photos of it. Then you won’t be able to avoid it any longer. Book your trip to Zion!

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