Tag Archives: The Narrows

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

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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

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October in The Narrows Video

One of my very favorite things about hiking The Narrows this time of year is the incredibly clear water. Unlike April through September, when the Virgin River can be silty or muddy from recent rains, the fall/winter season typically features crystal-clear, blue-green waters… you can see straight through to the myriad river rocks below. The above video, sent to us from a couple recent Narrows clients, shows a glimpse of these conditions, as well as great examples of the deep wades, river crossings, and general splendor a Narrows hike brings. Enjoy!

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Hiking, Seasonal, Videos, Zion, Zion National Park | 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

‘Tis the Season: Late Summer Adventures in Zion

Ahhh, August is here. The desert is still hot, the thunderstorms are coming and going, and for many it is the last chance for a summer adventure. I offer this post as a guideline on how to maximize this time in Zion and the surrounding area. Climbing, for me, is the most important form of recreation, so I will start there. There are few sports that offer such extreme physical challenge and such inspiring rewards. Even when it is 100 degrees outside, climbing in the shade is amazingly reasonable. Shady cragging opportunities exist all through the main canyon for those who can find the right aspects and times of day. One of my favorite summer climbing areas, Kolob Canyon’s South Fork of Taylor Creek, features cool temps and shade most of the day. Perhaps the most exciting and challenging summer climbing I have done is in Kolob on Huecos Rancheros (5.12c) and Namaste (5.12a). Also, Last Rites (5.10+) is a super-fun single pitch finger crack with a bolted start. St. George also has some fun summer climbing opportunities. Enjoy the novelty of Veyo’s Crawdad Canyon Climbing Resort; if you go, don’t miss “The Fly” (5.11c), right off the pool deck. Snow … Continue reading

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Trip Report: Zion Narrows Top-Down Thru Hike

I ran (ok, trotted) through the Zion Narrows from the top last Sunday (7/13/2011). Here is what I found: 1. I had never done The Narrows from the top in highish water. It was MUCH more difficult than I expected. There are many obstacles in the upper part of the Narrows (above Big Springs) that require quite a bit of hunting around to find a reasonable route. With water high, plunging into the river was not always an option. 2. There were maybe five required stream crossings that were thigh-waist high with strong current (i.e. where being swept away was a real possibility). 3. I ended up taking about five swims. I would say two were mandatory. The water was nice and warm-ish, so shorts and (Sport Science) tee shirt was fine, and the air temps were high enough to not require stopping and warming up. 4. I was somewhat concerned about the other 11 hikers on the 6:30 am Chamberlain shuttle. But, I guess they did OK. It is a BIG DAY, I hope they all realize it. I was hoping to match my time of 15 years ago, six hours. No way! About 15 minutes of breaks, moving reasonably well, … Continue reading

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Virgin River Falls Below 140 CFS, Narrows Hike to Open Soon

The light at the end of the Narrows tunnel draws nearer. Yesterday, and again this morning, the Virgin River fell below the magic 140 CFS-mark, the Park benchmark used to determine whether The Narrow is open or closed. Once the River remain below this 140 CFS mark for 24 hours, the Park will open The Narrows to bottom-up hiking. Unfortunately, those wishing to hike The Narrows top-down as an over-night backpacking trip or a single-day thru hike will need to wait at least a few more days. All top-down Narrows hikes require a backcountry permit, and the Park will not issue permits until the River is below 120 CFS for 24 hours. If you are in Springdale and hoping to hike The Narrows this week, stop in to our store anytime to check on the Narrows forecast. We are happy to inform you about current conditions, and can help you reserve equipment so you’ll be ready to go as soon as the Park gives the green light on The Narrows.

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