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The Narrows - Bottom Up Route

 4.8 (188)
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5.1 Miles 8.2 Kilometers

305' 93 m


-305' -93 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (4°)

4,656' 1,419 m


4,456' 1,358 m


Shared By Brian Smith



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2000-foot sandstone walls usher visitors through one of the best experiences in Zion NP.

Brian Smith

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Get the kids set up with the proper equipment for this outing, and they'll absolutely love every minute of it.

In 2010, The Virgin River was designated as a Wild and Scenic River, preserving and protecting this unique body of water in its natural and free-flowing state. Please adhere to these NPS rules and regulations to minimize you impacts while visiting the Narrows.


While there are many incredible sights and stops in Zion National Park, few are as well known as The Narrow. Here, the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge in the upper reaches of Zion Canyon: 16 miles long, up to 2,000-feet deep, and at times only 20 to 30-feet wide. The Narrows, with its soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs, and hanging gardens can be an unforgettable wilderness experience.

The Narrows is not a hike to be underestimated. Hiking The Narrows means hiking in the Virgin River. At least 60 percent of the way is spent wading, navigating, and sometimes swimming in the river. There is no maintained trail because the route is the river. The current is swift, the water is cold, and the rocks underfoot are slippery. Flash flooding and hypothermia are constant dangers. Appropriate planning, proper equipment, and sound judgment are essential for a safe and successful trip. Your safety is your responsibility.

The Narrows is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. This route leads from the Temple of Sinawava to Orderville Canyon and back again.

Need to Know

Flash floods, often caused by storms miles away, are a real danger and can be life threatening. During a flash flood, the water level rises quickly, within minutes or even seconds. A flash flood can rush down a canyon in a wall of water 12 feet high or more.

Continuously evaluate weather conditions. If bad weather threatens, avoid traveling in a slot canyon. Watch for these indications of a flash flood:
-Any deterioration in weather conditions
-Build up of clouds or sounds of thunder
-Sudden changes in water clarity

The Narrows is like navigating on slippery bowling balls. It requires balancing on algae-coated rocks in the middle of a swiftly flowing river. Sturdy footwear is essential. Hiking boots with good ankle support are best. Inappropriate footwear often results in twisted ankles and crushed toes.

Lastly, cotton kills! Wear moisture wicking clothing and bring layers. Lower temps in the narrows, coupled with cold water, can have you shivering on a 100° day.


This is the easiest way to experience The Narrows. Ride the shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, and use the restroom facilities before embarking - there are no facilities in the Narrows. Start along Riverside Walk, which works its way north, along the shores of the Virgin River. Along the way, hikers will have awesome views of the river itself, as well as some ultra lush "hanging gardens" Zion is famous for.

At the end of Riverside Walk, begin wading upstream into the Narrows. Use caution as you move upstream given the slippery and uneven nature of the river bottom. There is no formal destination (turn around whenever you feel like it), and you return the same way you came. This route turns back on itself at Orderville Canyon, a tributary creek approximately two hours upstream from the end of Riverside Walk (2.5 miles from the shuttle stop).

Along the way to Orderville Canyon, you'll be continuously awestruck by the peculiarity of this narrow and incredibly deep canyon. The sandstone walls of the canyon flow overhead like the water that carved them into existence.

Flora & Fauna

Visitors are often surprised by the relative lushness found in Zion Canyon. The riparian area of the Virgin River supports enormous cottonwood trees and a diversity of herbaceous plants and grasses. Nearby, saturated wetlands make nice habitat for cattails, willows, aquatic plants, and rushes. Water seeping out of the Navajo sandstone creates tranquil springs and the unique hanging gardens for which Zion is famous.


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Your Check-Ins


Dec 29, 2018
Jessica Tran
Nov 29, 2018
Angelina Fortino
Nov 14, 2018
Alvin Wong
Nov 8, 2018
Brad Baxter
Nov 5, 2018
Donnie Bowden
Nov 4, 2018
Matt Chitwood
Just beautiful! I cannot wait to do it again!!!
Oct 27, 2018
Stephanie Elizabeth
Oct 25, 2018
Ashley Lohmann

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 188 votes


in Zion Canyon


  4.8 from 188 votes
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Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
The best hike. Jul 20, 2016
Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
We hiked the Narrows Bottoms Up on 10.1.16. The water was up slightly due to the rain the previous night and the Virgin River was muddy. The hike was my best ever! I would rate the hike blue/black due to water visibility. An incredible view unlike any other! Oct 3, 2016
Brian Whitten
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Brian Whitten   Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Amazing hike, a must do for Zion. Water shoes or sandals are a bad idea. You need good protection for your feet as you will be walking among rocks and small boulders that move in the riverbed and tend to smash toes. You DO NOT need to rent special boots from local outfitters in the summer. Any sturdy hiking boots will do fine. Just accept that your feet and boots will be wet all day. A wood hiking stick/pole is a good idea. The bottom up route is great. For the epic day hike, try to 16 mike top down, but this requires a a permit and a shuttle to the trailhead. Jun 24, 2018

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