Zion Narrows Waterfalls (including Orderville Canyon)

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

About Zion Narrows Waterfalls (including Orderville Canyon)


Hiking Distance: 16 miles one-way shuttle; additional 1 mile round trip for Orderville Canyon (6 miles round trip from bottom); river scramble
Suggested Time: 2 days

Date first visited: 2001-06-18
Date last visited: 2003-06-21

Waterfall Latitude: 37.33143
Waterfall Longitude: -112.95722

The Zion Narrows Waterfalls were waterfalls that we’ve managed to find while hiking and wading within the famous Zion Narrows.

The Narrows was one of our most unforgettable adventures as we did a one-way 16-mile shuttle hike along, across, and within the Virgin River.

Zion_Narrows_143_06212003 - Big Springs in the heart of the Zion Narrows
Big Springs in the heart of the Zion Narrows

We even spent a tentless night on the Summer Soltice within the depths of the tall sandstone cliffs towering over us.

So this web page was my excuse to celebrate the waterfalls that acted as both obstacles as well as scenic landmarks.

It also was my excuse to talk about our Narrows experience.

On this page, we’ve also included a side trip within the Narrows to Orderville Canyon.

Zion_Narrows_213_06212003 - Wading in the Narrows under towering sandstone cliffs surrounding us. This is the kind of scenery that makes the Narrows the uniquely unforgettable adventure that it's known for
Wading in the Narrows under towering sandstone cliffs surrounding us. This is the kind of scenery that makes the Narrows the uniquely unforgettable adventure that it’s known for

That side trip also included an attractive waterfall, which acted as an obstacle that blocked further progress.

The nice thing about this trek was that we didn’t need technical gear to experience the magic of the place.

With the aid of local outfitter shops in Springdale (right at the south entrance to Zion National Park), we were given spider rubber canyoneering shoes for rent which helped us grip the slippery boulders.

We were also provided dry bags to keep our stuff dry, and the same outfitters even shuttled us to the trailhead (see directions below).

Zion_Narrows_089_06202003 - This was the 12ft waterfall obstacle comprised of a logjam and rocks in the Upper Zion Narrows
This was the 12ft waterfall obstacle comprised of a logjam and rocks in the Upper Zion Narrows

To summarize some of the most noteworthy waterfalls that we saw, here’s a list:

  • A 12ft waterfall in the Upper Narrows
  • Big Springs (see photo at the top of this page)
  • A 10ft waterfall in Orderville Canyon
  • Mystery Falls

On a prior trip, we did manage to do a day hike starting from the Riverside Walk then wading up the Narrows to Orderville Canyon.

Then, we explored Orderville Canyon until the 10ft waterfall obstacle that turned us back.

Orderville_Canyon_002_06172001 - The waterfall obstacle in Orderville Canyon, which was a side canyon of the Zion Narrows
The waterfall obstacle in Orderville Canyon, which was a side canyon of the Zion Narrows

That six-mile out-and-back adventure took the better part of at least a half-day.

The longer 16-mile hike was done as a two-day adventure which pretty much took a minimum of a day and a half including an overnight stay within the Narrows.

So this should give you a pretty good idea of how much time and effort would be required to explore the Narrows and/or the side canyons.

During that longer hike, we also noticed side canyons up Deep Creek, Kolob Creek, and Goose Creek in addition to Orderville Canyon.

Zion_Narrows_009_06172001 - Looking back at the waterfall from Mystery Canyon
Looking back at the waterfall from Mystery Canyon

However, we only had limited time and energy to do more than the minimal traverse through the Narrows in two days.

So I’m sure those would be motivating factors for us to do another one of these adventures here once again.

Authorities

The Zion Narrows Waterfalls reside in Zion National Park near Springdale in Washington County, Utah. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Zion_Narrows_001_06202003 - The Virgin River at Chamberlain's Ranch at the trailhead of the longer Zion Narrows hike in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_004_06202003 - Looking back at some cows grazing as we hiked from Chamberlain's Ranch into the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_005_06202003 - Walking along the Virgin River as we went through Chamberlain's Ranch en route to the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_006_06202003 - This dilapidated cabin we noticed before getting into the Virgin River is called Bulloch's Cabin as seen during our June 2003 visit
Zion_Narrows_009_06202003 - Looking back at the broad pastures of Chamberlain's Ranch as we entered the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_012_06202003 - Starting to hike alongside and into the Virgin River as we left Chamberlain's Ranch and started to get into the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_015_06202003 - The group continuing to skirt alongside the Virgin River as we started to encounter some cliffs along the upper parts of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_023_06202003 - Continuing to hike alongside and into the Virgin River as we entered the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_025_06202003 - The Upper Zion Narrows path continued to skirt alongside the Virgin River, but pretty soon we would have no choice but to go into the water during our hike in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_027_06202003 - Approaching the part of the Upper Zion Narrows where we had no choice but to go into the Virgin River in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_028_06202003 - Now we were starting to hike into the Virgin River as we were pretty much within the Upper Zion Narrows on our June 2003 trip
Zion_Narrows_031_06202003 - Other people river walking as this guy was passing us within the Upper Zion Narrows during our visit in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_035_06202003 - Continuing our stream hiking within the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_039_06202003 - More hiking within the shady confines of the narrowing Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_042_06202003 - More river walking within the Virgin River in the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_044_06202003 - Hiking within a particular deepening Virgin River as we continued to slosh and wade our way downstream within the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_045_06202003 - Negotiating some of the boulder and rapids obstacles in the Virgin River during our trek through the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_046_06202003 - Continuing along the steep walls of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_049_06202003 - Looking up at what appeared to be a dry waterfall as seen within the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_050_06202003 - Context of the group hiking within the high walls of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003 as the walls continue to shoot higher above us
Zion_Narrows_056_06202003 - Approaching some kind of alcove in the distance as the Virgin River was about to round a bend within the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_057_06202003 - Looking upstream at where the Virgin River was moving rapidly over some boulders in the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_062_06202003 - The crew continuing to hike further downstream along the Virgin River as we made our way through the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_065_06202003 - This was one of the brighter parts of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003 where the sun was actually penetrating the canyon floor
Zion_Narrows_069_06202003 - Rounding a bend in one of the spooker parts of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_075_06202003 - Continuing to traverse between the high walls of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_076_06202003 - We spotted this little lizard while hiking through the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_077_06202003 - Approaching yet another narrow part of the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_079_06202003 - This was probably one of the more notable parts of the Upper Zion Narrows during our June 2003 visit
Zion_Narrows_081_06202003 - Looking back at what was probably the narrowest part of the Upper Narrows during our June 2003 visit
Zion_Narrows_082_06202003 - This little detour went around a waterfall obstacle in the Upper Zion Narrows during our June 2003 visit
Zion_Narrows_084_06202003 - This was the waterfall obstacle that we had to go around in the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_086_06202003 - Another look at the 12ft waterfall obstacle in the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_091_06202003 - Looking up at an interesting spire within the Upper Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_099_06202003 - This part of the Narrows was near the Deep Creek confluence where the Virgin River all of the sudden grew three-fold during our June 2003 hike
Zion_Narrows_102_06202003 - At first we thought this was a cave until we managed to get right in front of it in the Upper Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_103_06202003 - We started to notice quite a bit more greenery after having gone downstream from the Deep Creek Confluence within the Zion Narrows on our June 2003 hike
Zion_Narrows_105_06202003 - We spent a relatively comfortable tentless night within the Narrows during our June 2003 hike
Zion_Narrows_109_06212003 - The next morning, it was time to get moving again within the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_117_06212003 - Continuing with our early morning start to the lower parts of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_128_06212003 - It was quiet and moody during the morning of day 2 of our zion Narrows June 2003 hike
Zion_Narrows_133_06212003 - Looking into one of the side canyons, which I think might have been Goose Creek though we didn't take the time to explore it during our Zion Narrows adventure in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_139_06212003 - Continuing with the downstream river walk within the Virgin River on the lower part of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_141_06212003 - Incident morning daylight starting to penetrate the canyon floor of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_145_06212003 - Approaching Big Spring, which was a good place to replenish our water supply before getting into the deepest part of the Zion Narrows during our June 2003 adventure
Zion_Narrows_146_06212003 - Direct view of Big Spring within the heart of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_170_06212003 - At this point of the June 2003 Zion Narrows hike, it was pretty much wall-to-wall water as we were passing through the deepest part
Zion_Narrows_177_06212003 - The crew dealing with thigh-deep water on the Virgin River through this deepest part of the Zion Narrows hike in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_179_06212003 - Continuing through still more of the narrow parts of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_183_06212003 - Once we got through the narrowest parts of the Zion Narrows hike on our June 2003 adventure, we started to see day hikers coming up in the other direction
Zion_Narrows_188_06212003 - The crew continuing to navigate through some of the Virgin River as we looked for the shallowest parts to continue our wading into the lower parts of the Zion Narrows in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_189_06212003 - The crew wading through more thigh-deep sections of the Virgin River as we continued our June 2003 Zion Narrows adventure
Zion_Narrows_190_06212003 - Frequently crossing the Virgin River in the Zion Narrows as the canyon seemed to be ever deepening during our June 2003 hike
Zion_Narrows_198_06212003 - Traversing through another narrow section of the Zion Narrows during our June 2003 adventure
Zion_Narrows_200_06212003 - Looking ahead at the crew continuing towards the end of the lower parts of the Zion Narrows as we were able to leave the shadowy depths of the narrowest part of the Lower Narrows and enter the more lit sections of the gorge
Zion_Narrows_215_06212003 - Continuing towards the confluence of Orderville Canyon and still within the depths of the Lower Zion Narrows during our June 2003 adventure
Zion_Narrows_221_06212003 - Rounding another bend in the Zion Narrows as we started to see more daylight further downstream on our June 2003 adventure
Zion_Narrows_224_06212003 - Looking back at the confluence of Zion Narrows and Orderville Canyon on the right as seen during our hike in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_226_06212003 - Approaching the Mystery Falls towards the mouth of the Zion Narrows as seen in June 2003
Zion_Narrows_235_06212003 - Back at the mouth of the Narrows and the back end of the Riverside Walk to end the watery portion of our Zion Narrows June 2003 adventure
Riverside_Walk_013_06172001 - Virgin River besides the Riverside Walk the first time we explored part of the Zion Narrows in June 2001, where we walked up the Riverside Walk and got this last look at the Virgin River. The rest of the photos in this gallery came from that visit
Riverside_Walk_016_06172001 - At the end of the Riverside Walk, we saw these funny stick and rock figures stacked against the lookout wall
Zion_Narrows_001_06172001 - Now we were wading up the cold Virgin River on that June 2001 trip en route to the Lower Zion Narrows
Zion_Narrows_005_06172001 - Approaching the Mystery Falls near the mouth of the Lower Zion Narrows in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_007_06172001 - Looking further ahead within the Virgin River as we hiked the Lower Zion Narrows from the bottom up in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_008_06172001 - Looking directly at Mystery Falls in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_010_06172001 - We noticed this interesting heart formation on a rock within the Virgin River while hiking up the Lower Zion Narrows in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_011_06172001 - Hiking through a wider part of the Lower Zion Narrows during our bottom up hike in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_012_06172001 - The sun penetrating this part of the Lower Zion Narrows during our bottom up hike in June 2001
Zion_Narrows_015_06172001 - Continuing up the Virgin River as the morning sun was penetrating more of the depths of the Lower Zion Narrows on our June 2001 adventure
Zion_Narrows_020_06172001 - Wading towards the Orderville Canyon junction on that June 2001 trip
Orderville_Canyon_008_06172001 - Looking back as we left the shadows and went into a sunny section of Orderville Canyon during our June 2001 adventure
Orderville_Canyon_009_06172001 - Going back downstream along the Virgin River after leaving Orderville Canyon in our June 2001 adventure to both Zion Narrows and Orderville Canyon from the bottom up

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The way we did the full hike through the Zion Narrows was by a arranging for shuttle from one of the outfitters in Springdale.

We also rented spider rubber shoes and bought our own neoprene socks from these outfitters.

They then picked us up from the Watchman Campground, drove up UT9 through the Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel and then onto an unpaved side road.

At this point, they dropped off hikers at both the head of Orderville Canyon as well as Chamberlain’s Ranch at the start of the Narrow’s hike.

Regarding trip logistics, we actually had to drive up to Zion at least two days prior to our intended visit.

That’s because we needed permits to camp within the Narrows for a night, which were on first-come first-serve basis.

We made sure we showed up early the next morning after our arrival to pick up the permits to do the hike on the following day.

The whole time we were preparing for this adventure and worry about its logistics, we had to pay careful attention to the river level of the Virgin River as well as the threat of flash floods from thunderstorms (especially in Summer).

Some parts of the hike do not have higher grounds to avoid flash floods while a wet suit would be mandatory if this adventure took place in the colder off season months (outside Summer).

For the latest Virgin River water levels data, we consulted this link.

For geographical context, Springdale is roughly 2.5 hours drive from Las Vegas and about 6.5 hours drive from Los Angeles.

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Tagged with: zion, zion canyon, utah, springdale, waterfall, virgin river, orderville canyon, chamberlain ranch, washington county, narrows



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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