Rock Squirrel

Zion National Park - Riverside Trail

There may not be any more iconic hike at Zion National Park than that which takes you into the spectacular Narrows of the Virgin River.  It was thus our intent upon planning this trip to, of course, include a walk up the Narrows.  What we didn't plan on, foolishly in retrospect, was that in spring and early summer snowmelt from the high plateau above makes the Narrows inaccessible due to high water.  Thus it was that we arrived in Zion and weren't able to make the hike we were perhaps most looking forward to.

Determined not to be put off, we instead decided it would at least be worth our time to take a quick walk along the Riverside Trail which leads right up to the entrance of the Narrows.  Beginning form the Temple of Sinawava bus stop at the very north end of Zion Canyon, the Riverside Trail follows the Virgin River for a mostly flat mile up into the increasingly narrow canyon.  Despite not being able to enter the Narrows themselves it was still a beautiful hike.  The shear rock walls towering over us the entire way were awe-inspiring and it was at least a bit cool to see the iconic entrance to the Narrows.

So, come on along with us as we take an easy stroll along Virgin River into one of Zion National Parks most famous settings.  Easy doesn't mean it wasn't spectacular though, as you'll see.  As always...ENJOY!!!

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  37.285157, -112.947543

Route Type:  Out-and-back               Difficulty:  EASY  (Petzoldt Rating:  2.56 )

Mileage Hiked:  2.4 miles                    Hike Duration:  1:30

Trailhead Temp:  65'F                         Trail Traffic:  100+ people

Min. Elevation:  4,420'                          Max. Elevation:  4,500'

Total Vertical Gain:  80'                       Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  33'

Trails Used (blaze color):  Riverside Trail (unblazed)


(Gaia GPS login required)


  • Dave Kathy Weemhoff

    on May 12, 2017

    Tough to not get to get the full hike in, but wow, the views you were still able to see.... kindof cool to be able to walk down along the river -- gives a great idea of just how big the canyon is! Those walls are huge!