Zion National Park despite it’s reputation as a desert, is an adventurers oasis. Located in southwest Utah, the Virgin River winds its way through deep gorges and narrow canyons. The sheer walls of the Narrows formed from Navajo sandstone and are the remains of a desert system created from fossilized sand dunes.
The topography of the park is ideal for exploring over 200 miles of trails, including the iconic Narrows. This 25 mile trek can be tackled via three routes:
1. Top Down in an epic long 13 hour day, where hikers begin at Chamberlain’s Ranch and finish at the Temple of Sinawava. Hikers should expect to hike in the dark if their permit is only for the day.
2. Top Down with an overnight stay in the bottom of the canyon, also beginning at Chamberlain’s Ranch and ending at the Temple of Sinawava. This allows hikers to take a more leisurely pace and explore the canyon more in depth. This requires an overnight permit, which should be reserved months in advance. There are a few sites available on a walk-in basis, available the day before the desired departure data.
3. Bottoms Up, starting at the Temple of Sinawava and allows hikers to trek up the river as far as they’d like and to return the same way. Although this is less demanding, this option is severely overcrowed with tourists.
The Narrows are breathtaking and dramatic, and the only way to do the landscape justice simply is to visit in person.