Zion National Park is only a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas and since we were spending an extended weekend in sin city, we decided to add in some nature hikes to our girls’ weekend getaway.
We were planning on arriving at Zion National Park early around 9:30 AM but we didn’t arrive until 11 AM because we had no idea that Utah was in a different time zone and an hour ahead of Vegas. Something to note if you’re making the trip from Vegas like us.
We stopped by the Springdale Visitor Center to get some information and see what our options were for a day hike. The staff was very helpful and told us that the best option for us would be The Narrows, which would take about 4-5 hours for the full trip.
Since it was Labor Day weekend, the parking lots within Zion National Park were already at full capacity, so we had to park on the streets near the Springdale Visitor Center. From there, the Springdale shuttle bus takes you to Zion Outfitter where we had to get our hiking gear and transfer to the Zion Canyon shuttle bus.
Hiking The Narrows requires some special gear like water hiking shoes and a walking stick as you’ll be walking through the Virgin River. You can rent these from Zion Outfitters and the cost is $25. You can leave your regular shoes in a locker for an additional $5. Since it was a busy holiday weekend, they were already out of walking sticks but we didn’t think it was a big deal since we would be following a bunch of people in the river and could determine where the deep spots were by following them.
After we got our gear, we lined up for the shuttle bus to take the ride up to The Narrows which was the last stop, Temple of Sinawava (Stop 9). The ride took 45 minutes but it went by fast as you have grand views of the mountains all around you.
Once we got off at our stop, we started our hike to The Narrows. It was an easy 30-minute walk and on our way, we came across squirrels and deer. We were surprised at how friendly the squirrels were as we’re used to the squirrels in Florida always scurrying away. You can get very close to them and they don’t mind you touching them either (although I would advise against that).
Hiking The Narrows was such a unique experience. It’s a lot harder than it looks because you have to walk on top of rocks (that you can't see) in the water so you have to be very careful. This is where the walking sticks would have come in handy but we managed without it.
The scenery around us was spectacular with dramatic cliffs on both sides that were a few hundred meters high. The water felt so good on our legs as the temperature was near 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the day we went. We waded the river for about 30 minutes or so to a little waterfall and then turned around and made our way back. You can actually hike the entire 16 miles of The Narrows starting at Chamberlain’s Ranch but you will need a permit to do so.
We were a little worried about bringing our camera equipment with us but the deepest part of the water we encountered came up to our knees so we were safe there. However, you really need to be careful walking in the river as you can trip over rocks. We saw a few people trip and fall in the water and if that was us, we would have most definitely got our cameras wet. Just be cautious and careful. It might be a good idea to bring protective gear with you if you are really worried.
The walk back was a little miserable as our water hiking shoes were soaked and it was really difficult to walk in. I recommend bringing your own water hiking shoes instead of renting. We saw some hikers wear outdoor summer sandals that were perfect for this kind of hike.
We had such a great time at The Narrows and were so glad we chose to do this hike. It was a last-minute decision and we definitely made the right choice. Next time we're at Zion National Park, we might challenge ourselves to do the Angels Landing hike!
- Start your hike early in the morning
- Apply sunscreen
- Take plenty of water and some snacks with you
- Use the bathroom before starting the hike
- Bring your own water hiking shoes ($15.95)
- Bring protective gear for your camera
- Bring waterproof cell phone cover ($7.99) if you take photos with your phone
- Bring a waterproof cover for your backpack ($7.99)