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Riverside Walk and The Narrows, Zion

Our last hike during our October 2020 trip in Zion National Park was the Riverside Walk and part of The Narrows. The riverside walk starts at The Temple of Sinawava which is at the end of the Zion Scenic Canyon Drive and The Narrows start at the end of the Riverside Walk. To reach The Temple of Sinawava you either need to walk the 3.7 miles (one way) from Zion Lodge or take the Shuttle Service. We took the Shuttle Service.

Riverside Walk

The Shuttle Service will drop you off right by the Riverside Walk Trailhead. It starts at The Temple of Sinawava, which is a large rock amphitheater type rock. The name Sinawava is after the Paiute nation’s coyote god. The walk is along the Virgin River and is an easy walk. We found it very scenic but also crowded. We saw lots of squirrels and also some deer. The 1.9 mile round trip trail is out and back. It ends at the river where The Narrows Trail begins.

The Narrows

The Narrows Trail in Zion is a little over 15 miles and the trail is basically through the Virgin River. The trail passes through the narrowest part of the canyon, thus being called The Narrows. We debated hiking in The Narrows at all, as signs stated there is cyanobacteria in the water. Cyanobacteria is toxic especially when consumed. We talked to a ranger there about the risk and he said that the level at this time was very low but if they found any signs of it in the water, they had to warn people. He stated we would be fine if we didn’t drink it. So we decided to give it at try.

Hiking In the Water

First of all, the river was cold. While walking The Narrows, we were told we would be in the water 60% of the time. The area we walked, we were in the water most of the time. We wore our Keen water shoes which protected us from the rock bottom, which at times was slippery. Using a walking stick would have been helpful if you were to hike through the water for any length of time. We knew we wouldn’t be going far as it was getting close to evening and we did not want to miss the last bus back to the Lodge. (An additional 3.7 miles did not sound like fun).

According to our Fitbit’s we walked about 1/3 of a mile into The Narrows. It was very beautiful. The sun reflecting on the canyon walls was just gorgeous. That being said, it just wasn’t our thing. We both love to hike, but hiking through the water was fun for awhile, but we can’t imagine doing this for any length of time. It wasn’t necessarily walking through the water that bothered us, it was the frequently encountered slick rockbottom. We did a total of 2/3 of a mile in The Narrows and that was enough for us. That being said, from what I understand, we missed the best and most beautiful parts of the canyon.

Back to the Lodge

We retraced our tracks and headed back to the Shuttle. Wow, was there a line! We waited about an hour in line to board the shuttle. The sun was just setting as we returned to the lodge and a hot shower was perfect.


The Riverside Walk and Narrows Trail in Zion are two totally different trails. I loved the scenery with both. The Riverwalk is great for those who want a beautiful easy trail that showcases the canyon narrowing. The Narrows is a great adventure trail great for those who are looking for something very different from the usual. I know people who have backpacked the entire Narrows and loved it. We enjoyed it, but not to the point that we would do the entire 15+ miles.


While planning for our trip to Zion National Park I referred to the Falcon Guide Book, Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. If you click on the link you can buy it through Amazon.

I also bought the Zion National Geographic Map which you can purchase through Amazon also. Everything was so well marked we did not use the map, but I do believe in having one with when hiking.

Diary of a Gen-X recommendations for hotels, restaurants, activities or tour companies are based on our own experiences. We do not receive compensation for recommending at any of these nor are we affiliates of any hotels, restaurants, activities or tour companines.

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