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When should I do the Narrows?
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Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
When should I do the Narrows? on 11/26/2013 05:44:41 MST Print View

I've not hiked in the southwest and am looking at doing the Narrows in Zion. I would like to go late enough in the spring/summer that I don't need to wear a wetsuit but early enough that its not 110 degrees when I am hiking in the rest of the park. Suggestions on timing or anything else?

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: When should I do the Narrows? (without wetsuit) on 11/26/2013 06:20:23 MST Print View

I did it at the end of May 2006 and did not really need a wetsuit, though the water was still a little chilly. Some used rented wetsuits but most did not. One thing: hiking poles really do not work, … bring (or rent, if the outfitters outside the park are still doing it) a stout hiking stick. It will help you against the current plus balance against large obstacles hidden under the water (kind of grey but you really cannot see all the way through it).

ed: emphasis/tense

Edited by hknewman on 12/06/2013 13:24:12 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
when to Narrows on 11/26/2013 07:50:01 MST Print View

Mid-September would be the surest bet. Mid-late June can work, but depending on the snow year runoff might still be a bit high.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
When should I do the Narrows? on 11/26/2013 08:01:09 MST Print View

I went early October a couple of years ago and it was perfect.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: When should I do the Narrows? on 11/26/2013 11:51:35 MST Print View

"I went early October a couple of years ago and it was perfect."

Same here. Early October 2009.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: When should I do the Narrows? on 11/26/2013 14:28:08 MST Print View

Late June/early July both times I've been in The Narrows...was quite warm in Springdale and absolutely beautiful in the river.

-Mark in St. Louis

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Re: When should I do the Narrows? on 11/27/2013 08:31:16 MST Print View

I had to cancel a trip in late June due to high water flow, so watch the snow levels
Late June through August is monsoon season, so you have to watch the weather and you typically can't complete your reservation until the day before
The flowrate drops as the season goes on so expect deep cold water in June and shallower water in September
During peak temperatures, the canyon stays cool as it sees little sunlight. It has been in the 70's in the canyon and over 100 as you exit.
October can be very cold, I have hiked upstream to the Narrow using a drysuit. Towards the winter season, you may not be able to get a driver to drop you off at the start of the trail.

I highly recommend river shoes and hiking poles. Sometimes it is like walking over alga covered bowling balls. Zion Outdoor Adventure can set you up with everything that you need.

Have fun

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Having your cake and eating it, too... on 12/06/2013 13:09:55 MST Print View

I think you're going to have to prioritize your wishlist.

Early May temps are great for hiking in Zion but for all my May trips, the Narrows has never been open because of high water flow.

Temps from mid-September on are also good but be aware of flash flood conditions. Late summer/early fall is "monsoon" season in the Canyons. There were lots of flashes this past fall in the area.

We hiked it the first week of November. Air temps were on the cool side but the water was a frigid 36deg and flow was high. We were comfortable in drysuits; we even floated the river back.

Imo, a drysuit would be the lesser of evils compared to flash risks and high heat. Cooler temps also mean smaller crowds. I hear it gets pretty crowded in summer.