The Zion Narrows hike was first undertaken in 1872, but not by John Wesley Powell. Grove Karl Gilbert had that honor, on his way to becoming the most important geologist of the era.
Gilbert descended The Narrows on horseback as part of the Wheeler Survey of 1872, and reportedly dubbed it “The Narrows.” The Park allowed horses in the Narrows for many years, so pack trips were common up through the early 1960’s.
The Narrows, or more formally, the narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River, has become one of the most famous hikes in the world, and for good reason. It is Zion’s hallmark hike. For beginner and intermediate hikers, it can be quite a challenging adventure.
Fit, experienced hikers will be wowed by the soaring sandstone walls and the novelty of walking IN the river for miles at a time. Whether done as an overnight through-hike, from the top down as a dayhike, or from the bottom up, the Zion Narrows hike is a classic not to be missed.