River Walk/The Narrows

Round Trip Distance: 2 - 9.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4593 - 4757 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1.5 - 8 hrs.
Trailhead: Temple of Sinawava
Fee: $30/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic canyon, hanging gardens

The River Walk and The Narrows trails are located in Zion National Park. The River Walk is billed as the most popular hike in the park. The Narrows begins at the end of the River Walk where hikers can continue up the canyon for about another 3 and a half miles. The River Walk itself is an easy hike with only minor changes in elevation. Hiking the Narrows requires wading and swimming in the Virgin River for most of the distance.

The Temple of Sinawava is the last stop in Zion Canyon for the free shuttle bus. Just in case you are wondering, Sinawava is a Southern Paiute word that means 'Coyote'. Coyote, or the trickster, appears in many Southern Paiute legends. Get the book 'American Indian Myths and Legends' if you would like a good read on the subject.

The River Walk trail is sandwiched between the Virgin River and the east wall of the canyon.

The entire trail is paved making it suitable for baby strollers and wheelchairs. There are a couple of gentle slopes where wheelchairs may need a little assistance.

The deeper into the canyon the you venture the narrower it becomes. With the coolness of the water and the almost perpetual shade from the high canyon walls the temperature can be much cooler than other places in the park.

Many parts of the canyon walls where water is seeping from within the rock are covered with beautiful hanging gardens. Besides the ferns there are several varieties of flowers that are common with seeps like the scarlet monkeyflower and the cardinalflower.

The River Walk extends into the canyon for just over 1 mile where it comes to an end.

From the end of the River Walk is the beginning of The Narrows. The Virgin River is the trail from this point on. It is recommended that you wear no open toed shoes or sandals and that you have ankle support to manage the slippery rocks. Check out Zion Adventure Company where you can rent water shoes and everything else you will need for the trip. NOTE: Before venturing into the Narrows you will need to check the current conditions at the Visitor Center. They can tell you of any flash flood dangers and whether the water flow is at a safe level.

There are numerous rock squirrels on the River Walk trail mooching for food when instead they should be stocking up for winter. It is a bad idea to feed them, besides being illegal, and if they bite, you may be in need of stitches.

Zion Canyon is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth. We seem to have a lot of those places in the southwest.

With the River Walk being the busiest trail in Zion National Park it can get extremely busy. The best times to beat the crowds between May and October are during the early morning and evening hours. The buses leaving the Temple of Sinawava trailhead can become standing room only when they are really busy. Fortunately the buses run only a few minutes apart so you don't have to wait long for the next one. The River Walk trail is worth the hassle of the crowds or it wouldn't be crowded to start with. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.