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Left Fork (The Subway)

Difficult
 4.8 (19)

A bottom-up hike of the classic, beautiful, and super FUN route, perfect for a curious and adventurous soul.


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Map Key

3.9

Miles

6.4

KM

Point to Point

5,755' 1,754 m

High

4,665' 1,422 m

Low

1,218' 371 m

Up

919' 280 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

166%

Max Grade (59°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

Permits are required to access this area from either direction. Please visit nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/… for more information.

Description

We did this hike on 4/16 when the water was still cold because it's completely snow melt. We were told to rent some dry pants so we did. Some of my friends also rented canyoneering shoes and neoprene socks; they loved it. I only have neoprene socks with my Keen sandals; I also loved it. Trekking sticks were very helpful for me, however, not needed.

The trail begins at the parking lot for Left Fork trailhead, starting out pretty flat on a well-maintained trail for about 10 min then it starts to lead you down to the bottom of the canyon. There's a lot of loose rocks coming down this quite steep part. You'll see a sign "Left Fork Trailhead" once closer to the bottom of the canyons and the water.

Once at the bottom, start hiking upstream! There are "obvious" trails on both side of the creek, one might be easier than the other. There are a lot of water crossings, rock hopping, and some boulder climbing, if you prefer. After hiking for a while from the trailhead sign, the views of the canyons start to open up; it is majestic. There are many small waterfalls along the way created by some boulders in the stream before we hit those "signature" cascade waterfalls at almost the end of the hike.

There are beautiful wildflowers in yellow, red, orange, and purple, along with some prickly pears that are budding. We even saw some fish! It is very green during this time of the year. Also, there is supposed to be a dinosaur footprint 2.2 miles in from the parking lot, but unfortunately, we missed it both times (in and out).

At about 15 minutes out from The Subway, this is where my trekking poles were especially helpful. We had to go across the water (not over ankle high) on very slippery rocks a few times. Some groups did not make it to The Subway because they said that the current was too strong (still not over ankle high). But going slowly and firmly helped me! Soon after that, we saw The Subway! (The canyons on both sides came close together to form a tubular "tunnel", there was a lot of water in The Subway when we were there).

There are a couple of swimming pools in The Subway area. Not sure how deep but my trekking pole could not reach the bottom of them. It is a little bit more chilly in there. We headed back the same way after taking a ton of pictures. Make sure not to miss the turn to ascend back to the parking lot. It is easily passed over.

Contacts

Shared By:

Warinsinee Phusitkanchana with improvements by Abe H

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 19 votes

#103

Overall
  4.8 from 19 votes
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Trail Rankings

#12

in Utah

#103

Overall
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7,169 Since Apr 19, 2017
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Photos

Rainbow just above the entrance to the Subway, Zion National Park.
Feb 3, 2016 near Springdale, UT
The Subway, Zion National Park.
Jan 31, 2016 near Springdale, UT
The Subway
Aug 18, 2015 near Springdale, UT
The beautiful view inside of the Subway! Permits required for this 9 mile round trip hike from Left Fork Trailhead. Microspikes also highly recommended if you plan on going in the winter.
Jan 8, 2016 near Springdale, UT
The red waterfalls! Once you reach this part of the trail, you are just about 10-15 minutes from the main attraction. Walk directly onto the rocks of the waterfall to hike up two levels of rocks/waterfalls to reach the lower subway canyon!
Jan 8, 2016 near Springdale, UT
The Subway!
Feb 22, 2016 near Springdale, UT

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