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Hiking the Narrows for Beginners

One of the most famous places to hike is in Zion Canyon. In this beginner hiking guide, you will learn some tips for hiking the The Narrows in the Zion Canyon.

What is The Narrows?

The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. It is surrounded by walls that are a thousand feet tall and a river that is twenty to thirty feet wide. It is a popular hiking trail because it involves wading upstream through a river and at only 8.6 miles it can be done as a day-hike.

Tips for Hiking The Narrows

This hike involves hiking through water and is one of the must-try hiking trails for beginners. Below are some tips you should know for a great hike. 

How to hike The Narrows?

Keep in mind that hiking through The Narrows will require you to pass through the Virgin River which means that you will get wet. Most hikers start their path from the Temple of Sinakawava through the Riverside Walk and going upstream. The path would also be the same going back.

When to hike The Narrows?

The best time to hike The Narrows is during summer because the water is warm and the water level is not too high. However, always be prepared for flash floods which can easily become fatal. For this reason, The Narrows are usually closed during springtime. 

How high is the water?

Knowing the water level is an important thing to consider before hiking The Narrows. Below is a table that will help you understand its importance to your safety.

Water LevelMeaning
< 70 cubic feet per secondKnee-deep crossings, sometimes waist-deep
> 70 cubic feet per secondMid-thigh deep to chest-deep
>150 cubic feet per secondProne to flash flood. The Narrows will most likely be closed.

Cyanobacteria Toxins

The Virgin River System contains harmful cyano toxins that are harmful to the human body. The water in the river is not potable and the risk of toxin exposure is high depending on some areas, so don’t drink it!

Hiking needs for beginners

The Narrows is one of the best hiking trails for beginners, but that doesn’t mean finishing the trail comes without challenge. Here are some of the hiking essentials you must always have when going on a hike. 


The weather is unpredictable, which is why you need to bring extra clothes. Another thing is that you are going to cross the river, which means you will probably want to change into clothes afterward. Make it a habit to bring emergency clothes when hiking, just in case you get lost. One of the leading causes of death for lost hikers is hypothermia because they do not have extra dry clothes.

Food and Water

Going on a hike can be physically tiring. It is always best to bring a pack of snacks that are easy to eat during the hike. Trail mix is a good choice. Also, don’t forget to bring fresh water with you since the water in The Narrows is not potable. Adjust the amount of food and water you are going to bring depending on the intensity of your chosen hike and weather conditions.

Get some trail mix here.


Bring a compass and map for navigation in case you lose the trail. A hiking GPS is extremely helpful but technology can go out of signal range, run out of battery, or break. An old fashioned map and compass is always a good backup.

Emergency and First Aid

Bring first-aid supplies whenever you are hiking in case of injury. A firestarter is also essential so that in the case you have to spend the night somewhere in the woods, you will be able to easily light up a fire. Finally, a personal locator beacon is a lifesaving signaling device in case of emergencies.

No matter where you go you need this book,
because the information inside it saves lives!

Wilderness and Travel Medicine Cover


Always bring a flashlight with you. It is very common for first-time hikers to get lost in the woods. Having a flashlight will help you navigate easier at night and signal for help.

Get your flashlight here.


Don’t forget to put on sunscreen whenever you are going on a hike. Sunscreen helps protect your body from skin damage which a lead to skin cancer or other conditions.

Get some sunscreen here.

Teach yourself evasive survival,
because surviving in the wild is harder when your enemy is chasing you!

Evasive Wilderness Survival Techniques Cover

Hiking The Narrows Conclusion

This hiking guide for beginners will help you hike The Narrows easier. The Narrows is a great choice for day hiking for beginners, but always remember to bring the hiking essentials mentioned here to ensure your safety. For more general hiking tips, you can look at our article on long-distance hiking tips.

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