Zion Riverside Walk

The Trail: The Zion Riverside Walk in Zion National Park is exactly as you might expect: a trail that follows along side the Virgin River. The path is mostly paved though there may be small areas where it is wet or areas where the trail needs to be repaired. The river will be on your left and a rockface will be on the right. There is almost no elevation gain and it is a little over one mile long (2+ miles round trip). You should give yourself 1 hr to 1.5 hours to complete the walk.

The Narrows: For those of you who are used to more challenging hikes, this walk might seem a bit boring. However, this walking trail leads to the Zion Narrows. Indeed, the Riverside Walk used to be called "Gateway to the Narrows". The Narrows is a crack in the Zion Canyon created by the flow of the Virgin River. If the conditions are agreeable, you can actually wade into the river and walk up the gorge. Here, you will see sandstone walls that rise straight up for thousands of feet. Read more about the Narrows hike here.

Getting There: To get to the Riverside Walk, drive or take the shuttle bus to the Temple of Sinawava parking lot. The trail is marked with a large sign. The simplicity of the map is indicative of the simplicity of the trail. There are no switchbacks or scrambling involved.

At the head of the walk, there are a few access points where you can walk right up to the river.

But as you proceed along, you will find a wooden guard rail or a brick retaining-wall to keep you on the trail. Limiting foot traffic to the paved walkway is better for the vegetation growing along the river.

But don't let the idyllic view fool you, danger can be just around the corner (or overhead).
Note the sharp-edged boulders off the trail, the battered path, and the red tape. This part of the Zion Riverside Walk was recently damaged by falling rocks!

Large slabs of rocks are fun for
kids to climb on.
And if they get tired, there are benches along the way for resting.

This is a Jerusalem cricket found along the Zion Riverside Walk. This insect was at least an inch long. They are generally harmless though they will bite if threatened. Despite their name, they are not crickets, nor do they live in Jerusalem.

The Zion Narrows

This section is about the Zion Narrows. The Narrows trail is not for beginners. More than half the hike is in water, so you will need to wade, walk or swim in the water to proceed. Keep in mind that the water is cold, the currents may be swift, and the rocks underfoot are slippery.
Casual hikers can go into the Narrows for a peak, but those who want to go further should be prepared with gear. At minimum, you should have a walking stick, sturdy shoes, easy-dry clothing, extra food/water, and a head light.

Given that you will be wet, it is recommended that you do this hike in the summer so the water is not as cold, and when you are not in the water, the warm air will keep you from hypothermia. If you want to hike this trail in the fall, you may want to wear a wet suit.

The Narrows trail is about 9 miles long (one way). So, it will take 6 to 8 hours to complete the hike. There is no formal trail in the Narrows, you simply walk along or in the river. A convenient stopping point is at the junction of the Narrows and Orderville Canyon - this is about a 2 hours walk up the Narrows. When you are ready, turn around and walk back the way you came. The Riverside Walk and the Narrows Trail combined can take 6 to 8 hours to complete. Photo from here

More Zion National Park links:
   • Visitors Center
   • Zion Mountain Carmel Tunnel (drive through)
   • Weeping Rock trail (easy, 15 minute)
   • Zion Riverside Walk (easy, 2-mile walk)
   • Emerald Pool trail (pretty waterfalls)
   • Zion Canyon Overlook trail (panoramic view, steep drops)
   • Angels Landing trail (incredible height, dangerous drops)
   • map of Zion Canyon area

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