The Narrows#1 in Best Things To Do in Zion National Park
The slimmest section of Zion Canyon is known as the Narrows, and it's one of the park's most popular hikes. To experience it, set out from the Temple of Sinawava along the Riverside Walk for a one-mile, wheelchair-accessible hike that offers a good view of the Narrows. But if you want to go any farther, you'll be wading or even swimming upstream since the footpath turns into the Virgin River. Along the way, you'll enjoy towering views of the striated, orange-red canyon.
Recent travelers recommend sealing any valuables in a waterproof bag, as the water can rise as high as your waist in some places. According to reviewers, you'll also need to rent or bring waterproof shoes as the rocky, slippery terrain cannot be traversed with bare feet. Hikers also suggest getting to the Narrows early to avoid the crowds.
Most visitors hike the Narrows in the late spring or summer when the waters are at their lowest levels and warmest temperatures. But when storms are in the forecast, you should forgo this hike, as the Narrows can fill quickly with life-threatening flash floods. You can rent equipment like water shoes, waterproof socks and walking sticks in town from places like the Zion Adventure Company. Many visitors trek upstream from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Stream, which is a 10-mile round-trip hike that doesn't require a permit. To hike 16 miles downstream from Chamberlain's Ranch (located outside the park), you will need to obtain a permit, which you can reserve here. Access to the Narrows is free with your park entrance fee. For more information, visit the National Park Service's website.
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#2 Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Likely a traveler's first stop in Zion National Park, the visitor center contains a large bookstore, a miniature model of the entire park and knowledgeable park staff who are more than happy to answer questions. Plus, it's also a "green building," complete with solar panels, cooling towers and outdoor shade structures, among other eco-friendly elements. In fact, visitors can go for an "ecohunt" inside the visitor center to find out more about its green features.
One traveler describes the visitor center as an invaluable place to pick up maps and information about the park on your way in. On the way out, it's a great place to purchase mementos and books for further reading.
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