The Narrows hike in Zion National Park has been on our list of must-do hikes. Although anyone can hike the bottom up half of the trail as a day hike, you need to get a permit to do the full top to bottom.
We opted to do the top-down overnight hike since we like to stop a lot for photos, and in hindsight, we were so glad we did the 16 mile hike over 2 days! We’re not the slowest hikers, but treading through the water throws in a new dynamic. You have to watch every step to make sure you don’t slip and fall.
We woke up bright and early for our 6:30 AM shuttle pick up (see details at the bottom. we highly recommend it!) and after arriving at Chamberlain’s Ranch Trailhead at 8 AM, we were off!
The first 3 miles are nice and easy on a dirt road. Just before you hit the water, you find your first landmark – Bulloch’s Cabin. After arriving at the water, the next 6 miles, you work your way down the river through ankle deep waters and the path takes you back and forth onto banks. Because there aren’t large crowds hiking the upper section, you really get to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the area. Although it doesn’t have as many iconic spots as the lower section, there is still a lot to be appreciated.
Stopping for Lunch:
The next main landmark is at the 8.5 mile mark. The North Fork Falls is a 10-foot tall boulder and log jam that makes for some nice photos. The trail is hidden here, but if you hug the left wall you will see a small passage that takes you to the other side. Roughly half a mile after that, the Virgin River converges with Deep Creek. At this point, there was a large pool that was chest deep at its deepest point. We tried to stay dry by passing our gear over and making a leap, but Jacob had no grip on his shoes and slipped and fell into the water. It was fun for us.. not so much for him.
After the rivers meet, the campsites start to appear. The campsites are scattered over the next 3 miles so keep that in mind when you books yours. We booked campsite #3 and were happy to get settled in. We arrived around 5:15PM, and sunset was around 6:45PM. It felt great to get out of our wet clothes and sit down for a warm meal.
This was our first time using our portable poop bags (everything needs to be carried out.. except pee).
How do you like our make-shift toilet?
Tips for Hiking the Narrows Zion National Park (Day 1):
- Day 1 was our favorite day because we felt alone in the wilderness. A total of 10 people did the top down including us that day. Day 2 gets crowded by the day hikers and feels much more touristy (still a cool day hike though!).
- Don’t forget to cut down your toenails! I sliced my toes up pretty bad on the first day.
- Don’t forget to bring flip flops. This was our biggest regret. After getting into our dry night clothes, we still had to walk around in wet shoes while setting up camp.
- We liked our campsite, but as we continued down, we saw that campsite 9 has a cool cave and campsite 10 has a pool that would be great for summer.
- We dried our wet clothes on tree branches, and though we worried that it would get wet from morning dew, it was fine. :) Also helps to have quick dry clothes.
- Jacob’s shoes fared the best in the water out of all four of us, however it had the least grip when climbing wet rocks.
- See our Packing Guide and TONS of additional tips here.
Have you done an overnight hike before?
Have you been to Zion National Park? What’s your favorite part of the park?