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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend I hiked the Zion Narrows starting at Chamberlain ranch and ending at the Temple of Sinawava. The distance was 16 miles not including the 1 mile trail to the shuttle bus that takes you to the main entrance. I finished in 11 hours. I would highly recommend this hike to all of you and want to share things I learned.

1. This hike is very strenuous. Much of the distance is hiking in the river, often on smooth rocks that are slippery. You will do a fair amount of wading thru deep water and will cross the river dozens if not hundreds of times. A trekking pole or staff is critical. My son snapped his pole and had to finish with his pole missing the lower third. I was stupid not to have a spare.

2. Clothes: Something that will dry quickly and won't retain water. I wore mostly synthetic clothing. I wore a hat but didn't need sunglasses. You only get direct sunlight for a few hours.

3. Shoes: you will constantly be jamming your feet and ankles against rocks. I wouldn't recommend sandles or water shoes. You could rent shoes in Springdale but I didn't. I wore an older pair of Merrell low tops which worked fine. High tops with ankle support would be better. There is no way to keep your feet dry.

4. Backpack: I took a Gregory z30 but in hindsight could have brought something smaller. My son took a camelback which worked great.

5. Temps: air temp in the morning was high 40's. I started with a fleece pullover but wished I'd left it in the car. It warmed up quickly and I didn't need to wear it again. Water temp will take your breath away when you are wading in deeper water up to your armpits. Shorter folks will be swimming certain sections. Your backpack will help keep you afloat.

6. Food: we packed lots of jerky, crackers, peanut butter and power bars. I thought I had packed a lot but wished I'd brought more. I packed a katadyn hiker in case we needed more water.

7. Unless you put it in a dry bag it's going to get wet.

8. Bring a camera and stop to take pictures.

9. Getting there: you can take a shuttle but it has to be prearranged and cost $25-30. It is quite a drive to Chamberlain ranch with a significant portion on unpaved road. I had my wife drop us off at the trailhead which worked great.

10. Know when sunrise and sunset will be. Plan on starting just before sun up if you want to finish before it gets dark.

11. Bring a watch. Sounds stupid but in our group of 6 people nobody wore a wristwatch. It's good to keep track of time to adjust your hiking speed if needed.

12. If you get hurt, you might be staying in the canyon overnight. I packed a small emergency kit with firestarting material, etc. just in case. If you do get hurt you are better off trying to get out on your own power as rescue will not be swift.

13. Permit: this is mandatory. You will need to get one at the backcountry office the day before. Permits are on a first come first serve basis. You can reserve online but you have to physically be present at the visitors center prior to and watch a movie in order to qualify to do online reservations in the future. My brother did this and made our reservation online.

14. When you start seeing tourists you know you are getting close to the end.

Overall the hike was incredible. You will see some on the most beautiful sights the West has to offer. If you're an avid hiker I would add this one to your list!
 

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My drive to the Chamberlain ranch in the rain was terrifying. That mud was slicker n' snot.

The hike is quite a grind, but cool.

We saw a flash flood right after we got out of the narrows. A very impressive sight, as long as you are not in its way. It is unbelievable how much junk that water picks up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My drive to the Chamberlain ranch in the rain was terrifying. That mud was slicker n' snot.

The hike is quite a grind, but cool.

We saw a flash flood right after we got out of the narrows. A very impressive sight, as long as you are not in its way. It is unbelievable how much junk that water picks up.
A "grind" is a good way to put it. It really made me think about how far I could push myself in a survival situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are 2 different permits. One for hiking the narrows in a single day and one for overnighting it. There are 12 campsites spread out along the river with at least one larger "group" site. By large I mean it might handle 6 people.
 
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