Zion's Best Adventure Hikes

Permits and Special Preparation Required!!

There are three popular slot canyons in Zion that require a backcountry permit, even for one-day excursions: the Subway, The Zion Narrows (from top to bottom) and Orderville Canyon. Due to their enormous popularity in recent years, and the wear and tear that has resulted from overuse, the park service has limited access by imposing a permit system on these three drainages. If you are interested in obtaining a permit you can contact the park service………for more information on obtaining a permit.


Due to the wilderness nature of these hikes it is imperative that you understand what the risks are for each trip. These canyons require backcountry skills beyond those of the average hiker. In this case traversing narrow canyons can often involve route finding, the possibility of flash flooding, cold water and the need to have the proper equipment and clothing. Knowledge and experience are important elements in determining whether you have a safe and enjoyable trip in this unpredictable and unforgiving terrain. Your safety is your responsibility.


Certain times of the year these excursions require particular gear that can make your trip safe and enjoyable, such as drysuits, wetsuits, neoprene socks and drybags to keep equipment and clothing dry. Plan ahead for unexpected events by staying prepared.


Zion Rock and Mountain Guides are committed to your safety. We rent and sale specialized gear that meets the demands of traversing the diverse backcountry conditions encountered in Zion. We also offer instruction courses to help you gain the skills and confidence necessary to become a safe and competent backcountry traveler. We hope you will use these skills to enjoy many future trips on your own. Stop in at Zion Rock and Mountain Guides or the Zion Backcountry desk for up to date weather information and route conditions.


The Zion Narrows (from the top to bottom)
This trip traverses the entire 16-mile length of the Zion Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River. You begin at Chamberlain's Ranch north of the park boundary and descend into what is probably the most spectacular slot canyon on the planet. In places the walls tower over 2000 feet overhead and the walls are as little as 40 feet across. This is truly a one of a kind spectacle of nature that will take your breath away. Whether done as a day or overnight hike it requires special preparation due to the possibility of flash flooding, exposure to cold water, and the potential for twisted or broken knees and ankles. This hike needs to be taken seriously as this a wilderness environment.

Narrows Shuttle

You can save yourself a three-hour roundtrip drive by making reservations with Zion Rock Shuttle to take you and your fellow adventurers to Chamberlain's Ranch to begin the hike. Call 434 772 3303 to make a reservation. Shuttles leave daily at 6:00 & 9:00 AM.


The Subway (Left Fork of North Creek)
A most unique and wondrous slot canyon which will both enchant and challenge the hiker on this nine-mile one-way hike from the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead to parking area at the Left Fork of North Creek. This hike is a mini-adventure that involves navigating massive slickrock, swimming in icy water and doing some rappels along the way. This is some of the most strikingly beautiful scenery Zion has to offer and should not be missed if you have the time and know-how.


Orderville Canyon
This tributary of the Zion Narrows requires less technical skill than the Subway and makes a great introduction to canyoneering. With towering sandstone walls, swimming, scrambling and descending over obstacles, this thirteen-mile one-way hike serves up all the thrills of a more technical route without the risk and effort.Often overlooked as an alternative to the Narrows and Subway hikes this canyon offers many of the best features of both and should not be overlooked. After reaching the end of Orderville Canyon you must then hike three more spectacular miles through the Narrows and Riverside Walk to catch a shuttle ride back to Springdale for pizza and beer. Such a deal!