Category Archives: The Narrows

Zion Narrows Fall Colors Video

Long-time ZAC client Jerry King visits us at least every year, regularly recording his hikes and canyon descents via video and still images. When Jerry gets home, he puts together some nice informational videos about the adventures he goes on. If you are thinking about doing a Zion Narrow Through-Hike, check out Jerry’s movie to learn about the hike and see the Narrows in prime fall color splendor.

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Seasonal, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Videos, Zion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Virgin River Flash Flood Video

Mike and Seth caught some revealing footage of the Virgin River in scary flash flood mode as it carried a huge cottonwood tree down-river like an insignificant Poohstick. See how dark the water is? The color comes from the high load of silt, mud, and rock the river picks up in a flood event. 95% of the erosion in Zion happens in punctuated events like this, where sudden, heavy rains create high-volume, high-velocity river conditions that pick up tons and tons of sediment and move it downstream. Once the momentum gets going, all that debris can scour banks and displace large areas of sediment, replacing ankle-deep shallows with deep pools, and vice-versa. It’s super fun to explore the river after a flood event like this and try to find the best “new” swimming holes the flood has created. The guys filmed this footagee just above the Springdale River Park, where we pick up tubers at the end of their runs. Seems like tubing would be a little extreme with that amount of water and debris in the river, don’t you think? If you want to see a flash flood, I highly recommend a viewing it from a safe place like this, … Continue reading

Posted in Natural History, Safety, Seasonal, Springdale, Summer, The Narrows, Tubing, Weather & Climate, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Is The Zion Narrows Hike Open? A DIY Guide

Every day now, we hear one question more than any other: “Is The Narrows hike open?” We are always happy to answer this question for our store visitors, but we’d also like to help you answer this yourself at home, on the road, or wherever you may be. If you want to see whether The Narrows is open, just check the USGS website. The data you’re looking for is in the areas highlighted in the red boxes below: USGS Narrows Stream Flow Data for the Virgin River Narrows The upper red box (the graph) usually shows continuous cubic feet/second (CFS) data. (For some reason, the data has large gaps over the last few days; this is not normal.) The Narrows is OPEN, if the CFS level has not exceed 150 CFS for the past 24 hours. Even with the gaps in this current graph, we can see the CFS level was around 165 yesterday morning, so The Narrows is closed today. The lower red box indicates the current CFS level. While the data is current listed as “unavailable,” there is typically a CFS number here indicating current conditions. Remember, however, that the current CFS level is less important than the 24-hour … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Zion Narrows Forecast for Spring 2012

The Zion Narrows closed last weekend for the first time in 2012; the hike is open again now, but will certainly close a few more times throughout spring. Since we are pretty big Narrows Nerds here at ZAC, I thought it might be fun to provide some “big picture” background info for those  eager to know if The Narrows and other technical canyons will be closed during YOUR visit. Like all things in The Nature, a wide variety of factors influence Spring flooding. But for the most part, spring water volume is determined by three primary factors: Snowpack – The snowpack on the Markagunt Plateau (elevation 8000 ft.) north of Zion feeds the Virgin River as it melts, contributing significant water volume to the North Fork watershed each spring. One year ago today, the snowpack was 112″, while today, the snowpack is only 54″. That’s a big difference. Drive up to Cedar Breaks along Highway 14, and you can see the snowpack for yourself. Daily High Temperatures – When temperatures are really warm, you can almost SEE the snow pack shriveling on the Plateau. Moderate temperatures, however, melt snow slowly, causing a slower, more gradual melt. If you watch the … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Zion National Park | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Zion Narrows Hike Limit Raised to 150 CFS

Shelley called the Park this morning and confirmed a rumor that the Bottom-Up Hiking limit for the Zion Narrows has been raised to 150 CFS. Woohoo! That’s a big deal! But what does that mean, exactly? Until the early 2000s, The Narrows was ALWAYS open, making it a do-at-your-own-risk activity: You looked at the river, maybe you got some advice from the rangers, and then you decided to hike or not. About ten years ago, however, the Park’s lawyers decided the liability of this policy was too great, and ZNP should take measures to protect unwitting Narrows hikers. The Park implemented a system that uses Virgin River water volume (measured in cubic feet per second (CFS)) to determine whether the Zion Narrows is open to hiking or not. The Park set the Top-Down limit at 120 CFS, and the Bottom-Down limit at 140 CFS; if the current CFS is ABOVE the limit any time in the last 24 hours, the hikes are closed accordingly. The upside of this closure system is very few people enter The Narrows when it is unsafe. The downside, however, is The Narrows is closed at levels where athletic hikers could have a lot of fun enjoying … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, In the News, Safety, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Narrows Hike Featured in Utah Valley’s Daily Herald

We have helped SO MANY people hike The Narrows on SO MANY days, and yet our visitors’ first impressions of The Narrows still delight us. Seems like anybody who hikes The Narrows for their first time is blown away by its majesty. Just to prove it, here’s another great example from the Daily Herald… Zion’s Narrows hike offers thrills, inspiration September 23, 2011 By Ron Hellstern, for The Herald Journal  Seventeen miles, and three potential swims. If those two descriptors aren’t deterrents, great scenery awaits those who hike the Zion Narrows from the top down into the main canyon. If you run marathons, bike the LOTOJA, or simply marvel at nature’s artistic masterpieces, there is nothing intimidating about this adventure. However, if you are a professional arm-chair quarterback, you had better get some miles under your feet before attempting this adventure, especially if you want to complete it in one day. I’ve been to Zion at least a hundred times, but nearly always been hobbled a bit with students, or little ones. But after seeing the inspirational film “The Bucket List,” I decided it was time to do this classic hike. Along with good luck, and good sense, the key … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Articles, Canyoneering, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Comments Off

ZAC Memories from John Heusler

This in from John Heusler, a guy who’s been with us since the beginning. Thanks, John! Wow… so much to say about Zion Adventures. Jonathan is without a doubt hugely knowledgeable and insightful about his craft. Besides being a great businessman, he is a heck of a nice guy to boot. We first met just about 15 years ago, when the company was in its infancy, on a cold February day. Jonathan outfitted us with dry gear to hike up the Narrows. He warned us of all the dangers and also pointed out the details of what to look for in terms of beauty. Things like “pictures in the rocks.” Keep your eyes peeled for lots of subtleties that are, in themselves, breathtaking. Ice was everywhere, but it didn’t stop us. We hiked all day and arrived back just in time for them to close the shop. What a trip it was! Since then I have hiked just about every single hike there is in Zion, and every time, I stop in for gear and help from the helpful staff at Zion Adventure Company. NEVER will you find a more accommodating group than this one! Kudos my friends! Congratulations on … Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, Reflections, Seasonal, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Winter, ZAC Events | Tagged | Comments Off

Narrows Injury Highlights Importance of Good Equipment

Picked up this story from Narrows hiker Glenn Jones (below) on the Yahoo Canyons Group. Though Glenn wasn’t intentionally advertising for us, his story tells a convincing story about why proper footwear and a sturdy hiking stick are so helpful in The Narrows. “Do we really need the rent equipment to hike The Narrows?” We hear this question often in our store, and our answer is always the same: No, you absolutely don’t need to rent equipment to hike The Narrows, but investing in gear innovated specifically for The Narrows hike helps you accomplish three key goals: 1. Greatly reduce the likelihood of injuries from tripping and falling. Sprained ankles are the most common injuries in The Narrows, followed by sprained wrists, dislocated shoulders, all resulting from tripping and falling due to poor traction and ankle support. 2.  Hike The Narrows comfortably. Spend your time and energy enjoying the breathtaking landscape, taking pictures, and enjoying your companions instead of staring at the ground, picking rocks out of your shoes, and fixing broken show laces. 3. Save your hiking boots and/or sandals from destruction. If you’re in Zion, chances are you have many more hikes on your vacation agenda. As Glenn’s story reflects, … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Gear, Hiking, Outdoor Leadership, Reflections, Safety, Summer, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

15th Anniversary Video Contest Entries Posted

With the August 15th deadline behind us, we have now posted the videos submitted to our 15th Anniversary Photo/Video contest to our YouTube page. Check out the great series of videos, ranging from ice climbing Southern Utah icefalls, to swing dancing atop Angels Landing, to sauntering through the Kanarra Creek slot canyon. All the videos are eligible for prizes, and we’re hoping you’ll weight in to help us pick the winners. We need to make decisions by September 1, so check out the vids and let us know which one you love most. Thanks to Jeff Guest, Casey Niederhauser, Mary Wang, Po-kai Chen, and Shane Burrows for submitting videos to the contest!

Posted in Canyoneering, Hiking, Sales & Promotions, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Videos, ZAC Events, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Great Video on The Narrows & The East Side

The LiveWell Network produced some great introductory videos on Zion last year, but I hadn’t seen them until recently. This segment focuses first on the Riverside Walk and The Narrows, then later on exploring the East Side. The “little slot canyon” Greg pokes into briefly is Keyhole Canyon, one of the easier slots to find and explore in the Park, but you can’t get very far without getting wet, and you can’t do the lower half without rappelling skills and gear. LiveWell taped their segments in November, a great way to find a virtually empty Park AND some of the best light you’ll find in Zion all year. To get a sense of November is Zion, you can watch all four segments of the LiveWell “Zion National Park” program on their website.

Posted in Canyoneering, Hiking, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Videos, Zion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off