If you are staying multiple days in Zion National Park, The Narrows is definitely a trail you should consider doing. It is super easy and a lot of fun, and a very different day out than your average trail run. There are two ways you can do this route, either by starting at the trailhead off the free Zion Shuttle, (More info on that here.) or you can get a permit and hike down from the top.
The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and is a hike through the Virgin River into deep canyons up stream. It is cold, narrow and busy. But really beautiful. It really is a cool hike, and on a good day the deepest it will get is probably waist deep. In 90 degree weather though, this feels SO GOOD. There are chances for flash floods through this canyon so make sure to check the weather before you go.
Our original plan was to do the East Rim of Zion Canyon, but The Weeping Rock Shuttle Stop and East Rim trailhead are closed due to the rock slide that happened a few weeks ago. You can see that here. It was pretty scary. Three people were severely injured and others stranded on the trail. The trail is closed until further notice.
What gear should you take to run and hike The Narrows?
Ok no need to get all crazy here. We used our Altra Superior trail shoes and Leki trail running poles. These worked so well and the river wasn’t that deep most of the time. Just think; “training for Western States, training for Western States” and you will be fine. You can however rent la Sportiva waterproof boots and wooden hiking poles at the front gate like the rest of the general population, but this is seriously overkill. We ran in shorts and t-shirts and had an awesome time.
Getting to The Narrows Trailhead.
We started running on the road to get more miles of sweeping views of Zion Canyon which you really do not get to see on the bus. This canyon is gorgeous and the road is pretty deserted save for slow moving shuttle buses and every so often a bike.
Get off at the free Zion Shuttle Bus Stop 6 - The Grotto and then keep running the same direction the bus is going. Run all the way into the canyon where the road ends at stop 9 Temple of Sinewava. This is where The Narrows trailhead starts. It is 2.5 miles from The Grotto stop to the trailhead and then 1 mile to where you get access to the Narrows canyon. This is route does not need a permit and is a good easy way to see the Narrows.
It gets super crowded at The Narrows and no matter what time of day, it is going to be busy. But get your poles and get into the water and start hiking up. IT. IS. SO. BEAUTIFUL. You will actually forget about the crowds because A: your feet will start going numb from the cold and B: it’s so pretty you just want to keep going.
You can keep going 2.5 miles upstream to Orderville Canyon, just keep walking upstream climbing over smooth rocks and boulders and look at the views. The water is emerald green at spots and the canyon walls are so high. It really is breathtaking.
We ate lunch on a rock and sunbathed and you can actually find sections that have no people and just relax. It does get a bit arduous the further in you go, so people start thinning out at about a mile upstream.
This is an out and back loop if you chose to do it this way, so turn around and head back downstream and back out onto the road at Temple of Sinewava. It is a gradual decline back to The Grotto stop and the views are so gorgeous. We met some climbers attempting The Great White Throne, and that wall is truly a beast of a climb. Due to California Condors in the area these climbs are permits only and only recommended for experienced climbers.
With road, trail and a hike up The Narrows we managed to snag a nice 11 mile run on this route. The weather was great, the road quite and the views to die for. It was such a great day two in Zion. I don’t think you could have a bad day in this park. Check out our Day One adventure here!
View The Narrows Run in Zion National Park Photo Gallery below: