"Virgin River in Zion Canyon"
September 2012, Zion National Park, Utah
The hike through the Zion Canyon Narrows is one of the premier adventures in America, if not the world. The narrows is the ultimate slot canyon. It is massive, extraordinarily colorful, and awe inspiring. It simply is a must do for anyone who has a love for the outdoors.
The canyon was formed by the Virgin River over countless centuries. This means that the majority of time the lucky visitor will be wading through the river's chilly waters. I went back for several miles and the water level never got more than waste deep. However, I could see a few areas where it appeared as though deep pools existed, so I was very careful to circumvent those since I was carrying a backpack full of very expensive camera gear. You can't see the bottom in deeper areas, so you must choose your steps carefully.
The canyon walls are so tall that much of the time you are hiking without any direct sunlight, adding to the chill of the already cold river. Depending on the time of year, you may want to rent some waterproof waders available at several outfitters in nearby Springdale. A word of caution is in order here. If thunderstorms are forecast anywhere in the area, the canyon must be avoided at all costs. Even rainfall 20 miles away can become deadly as a sudden flash flood roars through the canyon walls.
RiverSlot CanyonUtahVirgin RiverZion Canyon NarrowsZion National Park