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The Subway Hike

by orke Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 1:03 AM

today i got an email telling me i got the permit to hike the subway, now i have a very important decision to make - do i want to go Round Trip from Left Fork(bottom) Trailhead or do i want to go top down (from Wildcat to Left Fork Trailhead)

has anyone done and can tell me the differences? i know that the top down require some swims (we r fine with this - i actually want this part) and some short rappels (never done it but generally we r in good shape so if this route is so much better i will go with this and learn to do it before we go or something)

the round trip one is under sun most of way which can be sucks

but main question is if one of the trails is more spectacular than the other in your opinion?

thanks

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8 Answers
  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    I haven't done this one yet but had done quite a bit of reading up in prep for a return hiking trip to the canyon.

    The difference is that the Left Fork Trailhead hike is non-technical: no ropes, canyoneering skills or other special equipment involved. The top-down route from Wildcat involves decent canyoneering skills (semi-techinical) 60 ft rope, belays, navigation skills, drybags, etc.

    Here are couple good pages I saved on the top-down, semi technical route (Wildcat entry)

    climb-utah.com/Zion/subway.h...

    citrusmilo.com/zionguide/sub...

    canyoneeringusa.com/utah/zio...

    And here are couple on the Left Folk, non-technical hike:

    philarmitage.net/zion_hikes....

    citrusmilo.com/zionguide/low...

    alexfilatovphoto.com/blog/su...

    Based on your abilities, I would be more concerned about managing the top-down route than 'spectacular route' if you aren't experienced in canyoneering OR not going with someone who is. If you truly do have the time and resources to acquire the skills before you go, then go for the Wildcat entry but I wouldn't try to do it with the barest of experience without assistance -take the non-techincal route.

    And either way you do it, check with the backcountry desk before you do the hike: heavy rain around or upstream of the canyon may mean scrapping the hike due to the risk of flash flooding.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    In case you're interested (and have the time) here are a couple of one-day canyoneering courses that may make that top-down route possible:

    zionmountainschool.com/canyo...

    zionadventures.com/zion-park...

    We've rented equipment from Zion Adventure Company: good outfit.

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  • orke's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by orke Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    thanks mate
    i am trying to find a guide here in israel and go on a day hike with some rappelling involved and already contacted a few in order to not join a group but make it in a way a mini course as well - meaning i would go with the guide and my husband only and we will use this day also to learn from him basic rappelling (i read that the subway has "some beginner technical canyoneering aspects." so ill see how it go with the guide- i prefer if i can obtain the knowledge before to do as u suggested - but will know how ok i am with it - once ill try it out :-)

    thanks

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    You're welcome, mate.

    Hope I didn't sound like a nervous nellie but having done my share of hiking in U.S. Southwest (including some slots) I've seen and heard about the over-confident who've played fast and loose with Mother Nature down there and lost. It's my favorite part of the country (southern Utah, northern New Mexico and Arizona) but the heat, arid climate, unpredictable weather and challenging landscapes can make for one lousy experience if unprepared.

    Google up "rescues Zion Subway" for a few of those.

    Heck, we had a tense couple of moments in a slot last year on a day with no rain in the forecast but, well, Mom Nature had other ideas. Fortunately, we were in as good a place as possible (for a slot/keyhole) with a quick escape route nearby.

    But I'm also a cheerleader for foot-happy adventurers so I DO hope you get to do this any way you wish to. Just wanted to make sure you were up to speed on what to expect and what you need to do to prepare so it's a successful trek. Would hate to have you get partway in and not be able to get yourself out, fall, break a leg, get lost or something, you know?

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  • orke's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by orke Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    ye :-)
    know what u mean

    talking to few guides on monday to set something and will decide after by how comfortable i would feel with the rappelling part - ofcourse prefer the top down hike but will decide later on and im guessing the round trip also is amazing
    (plus after the wave permit rejection im happy at least to get this permit.....;-)

    thx

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by goodfish Online Now Jul 6, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Sounds like you're a smart cookie; I feel better. :)

    Bummer about the Wave - that one is SO frustratingly hard to get.

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  • orke's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by orke Online Now Jul 7, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    ye, ill try to get it once there - we will drop by in the morning for the next day lottery...;-)

    thanks

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  • Segolily's Profile Photo

    Re: The Subway Hike

    by Segolily Online Now Jul 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    I haven't done this either, but from all I've read and heard the top down is the one that actually gets you into the Subway. However. And it is a big however. You better be darn well good and confident about the rappelling and canyoneering skills. This is not a place to learn on your own.
    The bottom up hike is a tough and long scramble and you do get into some beautiful country, better that than nothing.

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