Difficulty Rating: Moderate; Strenuous at High Water Flow

Length: Varies. Up to 10 miles round trip, but you can turn around at any point

Time Commitment: 4-8 hours

Access: Begins and ends at Temple of Sinawava

Preferred Season: With proper gear, this hike can easily be enjoyed year round. However, seasonal snowmelt can occasionally close the hike in the Spring. The river must be under 150 cfs for the hike to remain open.

Elevation: Flat, but rocky and wet terrain 

Permit Required: No

Author’s Opinion: I highly recommend this hike to anyone who is visiting Zion. I make a point to enjoy this hike every winter. I love seeing all of the extra waterfalls flowing from the feeder canyons, and the extra water resurrects the moss on the canyon walls, adding greenery to the hike.

Route Description

The beginning of the trail starts at the Temple of Sinewava. This is the last shuttle stop on the Zion Canyon shuttle system. The first mile of the trail is the Riverside Walk trail. This is a paved, wheelchair accessible trail. Once to the end of the Riverside Walk, your trek through the river begins. At the beginning of the hike, the canyon is a little wider and is more life hiking through a stunning gorge than a true slot canyon. You will have more beaches and high ground during this portion of the hike. About 10-15 minutes through the hike, make note of the 120-foot Mystery of Falls off to your right-hand side. It is not uncommon to see canyoneers rappel down this.

The Middle At roughly 2.5 miles (1.5 of wading through the river), you will note a fork in the river. This is where the canyon walls narrow. To the right Orderville Canyon meets the Narrows. Travel up this canyon is restricted and requires a permit. Continue on straight. This is where the true narrows begin. Beaches and high ground are more infrequent at this point of the hike. 

The End: The turn around point for this hike is at Big Springs. This is a wide, 20-foot waterfall that comes out of the canyon wall. This is located on your left-hand side. Enjoy Big Spring, and then turn around. Make your way back to the Temple of Sinewava. 

*Note: You can turn around at any point on this hike. 

Leave No Trace: Please, pack in whatever you bring in. This includes your own waste. Leave this hike clean and beautiful for those to come after you