If any place has the power to inspire awe, it’s the Zion Narrows, southern Utah’s premier hike in Zion National Park. For 16 miles, the canyon winds through the crimson sandstone, in some spots stretching 2,000 feet high and narrowing to 6 meters. Lush hanging gardens spring from the walls, stately ponderosa pines grow in nooks, and the water can turn a shade of turquoise that perfectly contrasts with the cliffs’ deep terra-cotta hues. For more than half the time, hikers walk in the Virgin River, which can be waist-high and negotiate cobbles as large and slippery as bowling balls.

Still, the appeal of the area is certainly no secret, and the Zion Narrows attract plenty of keen walkers. Most hikers walk to hike top-to-bottom in one long day or do a shorter out-and-back from the bottom of the canyon. Doing a section of the Narrows is suitable for all ages.

In the summer you don't really need to hire dry-gear unless you really want to. You can hike the narrows in shorts and Teva-style sandles suitable for walking in wet conditions, or any other water-orientated shoe. Within Springdale several outfitters rent hiking poles, wetsuits and shoes for day hikes along the narrows.

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