Hiking the Narrows

December 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I have wanted to hike the Narrows for a long time. The Narrows refer to the Virgin river flowing in a very narrow canyon in Zion National Park. The hike itself presents a few challenges:

In winter and spring the water is very cold. In the summer the water level can be higher and the current stronger. In the fall the river is the friendliest, but the number of people is still high for photography. The river plays an important role as much of the time you are hiking in the river.

The second challenge is presented by the round, lose river rocks you walk on. Where there are little rapids in the water you can't see the river bed. So walking in water and stepping on lose, round river rocks makes one prone to fall. Falling into the water with expensive photography gear is no laughing matter. I almost fell while my camera was out and unprotected. My wife did fall.

The third problem is that it can be windy and cold. Walking upstream can be a workout but then there are sections were you are out of the water. Then you get cold and then you get too hot. Dealing with layers is not so easy given the gear you wear. As with any hike you need to hydrate yourself. But that presents another problem. Were do you relieve yourself? Did I mention that there are people all over the place?

Wearing the right gear is important so as not to be miserable. The right shoes give you grip and keep your warm. The right dry suite pants keeps you dry and warm. A waterproof backpack protects your gear. Walking sticks prevent you from falling (hopefully). Always check the weather as flash floods can come out of nowhere and kill you. Be safe.

Enjoy your hike.


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