Saturday, October 13, 2012

Riverside Walk to The Narrows

The Riverside Walk at the far end of Zion Canyon is an extremely popular hike. The trail follows the North Fork of the Virgin River into The Narrows.

Most of Zion Canyon is very broad, but the upper reaches of the canyon narrow to only 20 or 30 feet in some places. This section of Zion Canyon, known as The Narrows, is 16 miles long, and has vertical walls that soar up to 2000 feet above the river. Within this deep gorge intrepid hikers will experience sandstone grottos, natural springs and hanging gardens.

The Riverside Walk takes visitors/hikers/adventurers to the edge of this spectacular gorge. If you’re considering proceeding further into the canyon you should note that at least 60% of your hike above the Riverside Walk will be spent wading, walking, and sometimes swimming in the frigid Virgin River. The park recommends wearing sturdy water shoes, neoprene socks, and using trekking poles. Also, be sure to check weather and flash flood conditions before venturing any significant distance into the canyon.

Unless you’re on that first shuttle in the morning, don’t expect a wilderness experience on the Riverside Walk. Although a very nice hike, you'll have lots of companions - as in a couple hundred - literally.

The high canyon walls offer lots of shade, and provide a nice respite from the hot desert sun.

Along the paved path are several trailside exhibits. One of the unexpected features of this hike is that you’ll pass through a desert swamp, a result of the presence of the river, spring run-off and occasional cloudbursts.

As a side note, the trail was listed on the National Register of historic places in 1987.

Trail: Riverside Walk
Roundtrip Distance: 2.0 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 40 feet
Max Elevation: 4500 Feet

Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks covers 56 hikes in the two parks, as well as the surrounding areas, such as Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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