Can anyone who has hiked the narrows tell me about having to hike in the water? I am curious as I am not a strong swimmer, but I can swim if necessary, is this safe and how far at a time are you swimming? I would really appreciate input as my husband and I are going on a vacation here in July. Thank you very much. jzolson (jen)
Jen - we did the Narrows in early Sept. a few years ago. It was a dry summer so the water level never got higher than thigh-level on me ( I am 5'2"). The levels change per the amount of rain during any given season - I've read about it being deep enough in places some years to involve a short swim. Your best bet is to always check with the park ranger's desk about current conditions as you don't want to do this with rain in the forecast - even if it's not supposed to rain at Zion. Flash flooding from upstream is something to be watchful of and they can tell you when it's safest to go
Another tip is to go to Zion Adventure Company in Springdale and have them outfit you with some rented gear that'll make your trip safer and more comfortable. They will fit you with "water" socks for warmth, good boots for walking slippery rocks, a stout pole for testing deep places and helping you stay upright, and waterproof bags for your camera and anything that needs to stay dry. They'll also give you a map and quick rundown on anticipating a flash flood and what to do. It was under20 apiece for boots, pole, socks and map and totally worth it! Our own boots stayed dry plus it was really difficult to watch barefoot folks pick their way painfully down the rocky river bottom! If you wear your own shoes, make sure they have a good heavy tread.
Another tip is to get into the river early in the morning as this is a popular hike, and the Narrows are best enjoyed with some solitude.
So, talk to a ranger when you get there and then GO FOR IT if the weather allows!!!! It was my very favorite hike at Zion - can't wait to do it again!!!!! Mail me if I can be of any more help?
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