THE ZION NARROWS
There's no doubt that The Narrows is a special place full of scenic beauty and wonder, but with that beauty comes the risks associated with backcountry travel.
The three main risks found while hiking the Narrows are tripping and falling, hypothermia and flash flooding. Your safety is your responsibility, but with proper planning and your own good judgment, you will find yourself enjoying a safe and successful Narrows hike.
Before starting your hike, come see a Zion Adventures™ outfitter for current weather and river conditions, as well as flash flood potential. With the right information and equipment, you can enjoy this hike safely and comfortably.
Most Common Risks
Tripping and Falling: The most common injuries stem from hikers losing their footing and falling down. Not only are river rocks wet, round, and extremely slippery; they are also prone to unpredictable shifting, making walking more challenging.
Hypothermia: Even on sunny summer days, when temperatures in Springdale can be 100º, Narrows hikers are vulnerable to hypothermia. Water temperatures in the Narrows rarely break 65º, and hours of direct sunlight are limited, causing air temperatures to be 10º - 30º colder inside the canyon. Because the Narrows is a conductive environment, with water and air constantly drawing heat away from our bodies, we can lose heat 4 to 12 times faster than usual.
Flash Flooding: The least common, but most dangerous threat in the Narrows is Flash Flooding. Every few years, people are killed or seriously injured when they find themselves unaware of and/or unprepared for canyon flooding. Fortunately, we can avoid such tragedies by recognizing conditions with high flooding potential and having the right knowledge and equipment to identify and mitigate a flooding situation.
Carry out everything you carry in: The Virgin River is the water source for your campground or hotel, the restaurants you eat at, and all the homes in Springdale. Do not throw cigarette butts, feminine products, diapers, or anything else anywhere but into appropriate trash cans. Bring a plastic bag with you to carry garbage while you hike.
Stay near the river’s edge to protect the plants and wildlife: Wet shoes carry sand and slowly destroy the canyon ecology by eroding precious soils from the stream banks.
Carry out all human waste: Do not leave piles of poop or toilet paper on the shoreline. Stop by the Zion National Park Wilderness Desk or Zion Adventure Company to pick up a carry out bag for your waste. Pee directly into (or close to) flowing water to quickly dilute your urine and avoid accumulating odors on the rocks and sand.
Use a Walking Stick: Do not break trees or branches because you did not plan appropriately.
Please be reasonable during your visit: Restrain yourself and party members from chasing or feeding animals, catching fish, frogs, or lizards, or forging new trails.