View Full Version : Zion National Park- The Narrows and Other hikes

10-20-2012, 17:40
So I am planning a trip to Zion in March and want to do the Narrows (long version) and some other cool hikes. I wont have a car so I was wondering how I would be able to get from place to place such as from the airport (which is the best airport to fly into also) and within the park. I will be sleeping outside. Thanks guys

10-20-2012, 20:09
Just got back from Zion/Grand Canyon on my motorbike.
I would assume that St. George would be your closest airport, if not its certainly the closest city/town to Zion, being approximately 20 miles or so away. Failing St. George, next closest is Mesquite, NV, 30 miles from St. George, and if they don't have one its Las Vegas another 80 miles away. Not sure if there's buses running from these Towns to Zion or not. Maybe check with the St. George/Utah tourist bureau. I'm thinking your going to have to end up hiring a car.
Don't know if you've ever been to Zion or not, but if you haven't, no matter what the hassle/expense it takes you to get there - DO IT! Its the most beautiful place I've ever been.
Good Luck. E.T.

10-20-2012, 20:40
There are shuttle busses for inside the park. It really is an awesome place. Angel's Landing is worth the walk. I don't know what the temps will be in March, but I bet the park looks magnificent after a snow.

10-20-2012, 20:43
The hike up the Narrows is in water which means that it's completely unhikeable in March when snow melt water will fill up the slot canyon
As far as getting to Zion goes
Fly into Las Vegas -LAS - take a cab to the Greyhound Station
Take a bus to St George UT
Make a white cardboard sign that says ZION on it
Find the entrance ramp for I-15 NOBO
Hitchhike to SR 9 Hurricane and then into Zion NP

le loupe
10-22-2012, 19:21
I second what whitebear said. I hiked the narrows in May, it got cold once the sun was blocked by the canyon in mid afternoon. March would likely be unbearable. Outfitters rent wetsuits, but that might make you a Touron.

Tourist + Moron = Touron. :)

10-22-2012, 20:07
I believe Zion keeps cars out of the park now, only bus service from the gate. I was there prior to this rule. Flew into Vegas, rented car, stopped at Sam's Wholesale Club north of the airport (friend had membership) loaded car with cooler, ice, beer, charcoal, food, etc etc. We had several tents, used one for a base camp at the campground, carried the others on overnighters, including the narrows trip. Ended up making a big loop Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, and Grand Canyon South Side, as well as a few other stops, before returning to Vegas for return. Over 30 days of fun. Check for rain, in a big surrounding area, when hiking in any slot canyons.

10-22-2012, 20:10
For those that are PC, the Grand Canyon South Side = Grand Canyon South Rim

10-22-2012, 21:38
I was just there in September.....we flew into Las Vegas and rented a jeep so that we could do some back country exploring. I know from Las Vegas there are busses that go to Zion but not sure if they are tour groups only. You need to get to the town of Springdale which is right outside the park where a free shuttle will then get you into and around the park. As far as hikes, we only day hiked the Narrows for a couple of hours one direction then turned around. It was beautiful and well worth it. Angel's Landing was a great hike not to be missed. We camped out at the campground but also got a backcountry permit and backpacked into Wildcat Canyon and stealth camped. I would recommend this....gets you away from the crowds, beautiful views and you can't beat the serenity. Zion is incredibly beautiful....you will enjoy it.

10-23-2012, 00:19
Pick an AP nearby Zion. Take the Greyhound to St George. I've had little hassle and short wait times hitching into Hurricane and Springdale, just outside the park, from St George and hitching back to St George from Zion's main entrance just outside Springdale.

The free park bus system typically doesn't start up until Apr 1. Even if it did operate in Mar 2013 it would help to get from Springdale into the park but the park buses DO NOT run out to the North Fork Virgin River TH where the Virgin River Narrows hike typically begins. To get to that TH you need to arrange for a ride, walk, or hitch down a mostly improved dirt road. There is SOME traffic on this road as there is a ranch and private hunting areas adjacent to it. In the Fall during hunting season and during when most others hike the Narrows, which is typically in LATE spring, summer, and during early fall, rides are not too difficult to come by. But, in Mar I'm not sure of the hitching potential. And, before you commit to walking this road, like I've done in the snow(UGH!), know that it is a rather lengthy walk of well over 10 miles. Check with a Zion NP map or call the Backcountry Ranger Office in Zion and they will give you an exact distance you would need to walk to the Narrows TH(long version).

Another crucial aspect of this hike is that the Virgin River is the trail! You will be wet the entire hike! The water volume flow, depth, water temp, air temp. etc are critical factors! If the flow, depth or water temp are problematic OR if rain is in the forecast the Back Country Office shuts this hike down! No permits will be issued in such dangerous and potentially serious flood conditions, whether they be a day permit or campsite/Narrows hiking permit. This hike is in a slot canyon for some miles. It sometimes requires wading in water chest deep. Sometimes, like in Summer when it hasn't rained for a while and after the majority of snow melt runoff has subsided, the water in the river may only be knee deep. In March, depending on weather patterns, you probably can expect heavy flow rates and COLD water from snowmelt run-off and cool/cold air temps. If the rangers will issue you a permit in March a dry suit or wet suit may help or be necessary. In St George and surrounding towns, you will find canyoneering outfitting companies that rent dry and wet suits . I strongly advise checking ahead with weather forecasts and the conditions of the Virgin River with the Back Country Office before heading all the way out there if you have your heart set on doing this hike in March! BTW, even though some speed demons do this hike as one LONG day hike with only a Narrows day hiking permit I'd strongly advise against it because there are some stunning campsites along the trail(river) and some worthy side canyon hikes for exploring. Again, I advise you check these things out further! It will put the icing on the cake so to speak.

Good news is that there is a short dead end (one way, out and back) paved and graded Virgin River(short version) Narrows Trail which gives a glimpse into the narrows if you do get closed out on doing the long version.

Besides the Narrows(long version) hike, Angel's Landing is spectacular, as everyone has attested, as well as the West Rim, WildCat Trails, "Subway" and "Weeping Wall". You'll need a 30 ft or so section of repelling rope to do the "Subway" And be ready for a COLD water entry at the end of that repel too!

Zion NP has a well stocked med sized grocery store(with alcohol and even some organic trail foods), adjacent cafe where sandwiches and salads are made to order, and some outstanding educational exhibits including an IMAX theater themed to related environmental issues. These amenities as well as some others are all within a short walking distance to the main campground. Check out the Lodge too. It's one of only a handful of classic rustic GRAND National Park lodges that has survived.

AND, if ZION NP isn't enough for you you always have Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Grand Canyon NPs not too far away or if you prefer, Glen Canyon Nat. Rec. Area, Escalante/Grand Staircase Nat. Monument, Buckskin Gulch/Paria River, Vermillion Cliffs, and the San Rafael Swell!

Yeah, it's amazing out there!

10-23-2012, 00:25
Oops, can't forget Bryce Canyon NP. That's another spectacular place!

Train Wreck
10-23-2012, 07:48
Yeah, it's amazing out there!

+1 on this.
I absolutely LOVE southern Utah. One big reason it's taking me so long to finish the AT is because I keep going to Utah every chance I get. The hikes, rivers, and scenery out there are amazing.

I think the Narrows might be an iffy proposition at best, in March due to the water conditions. Angels Landing is an exciting hike, but it is not suitable for anyone with a fear of heights. I'm thinking it could possibly be dangerous at that time of year due to melting snow or ice on the trail. Parts of it are EXTREMELY exposed and one slip on an icy spot could kill you. Seriously. Be sure to check with the rangers to get an idea of the conditions before you start out.

One thing you might want to look into, if the Narrows walk doesn't work out, is hooking up with the outfitter near the park entrance and trying out rappelling. They can also give you advice or help you with a trip that is suitable for the current conditions.

There is a t-shirt sold at various state parks that says "Utah Rocks". It truly does. Good luck with your trip and be flexible - you'll find something to do!