Best Hikes at Zion National Park in Utah for Families With Young Kids

On our last day, we attempted The Narrows. In hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with kids.

A mother and her son pose in hiking gear to wear in a river

The four of us attempted The Narrows, but only two of us were able to complete it and I regret trying with young children.

Angela Repke

The night before hiking The Narrows, I couldn’t sleep. My kids both say yes to adventure and are solid little hikers, but I was worried about the size of my youngest. As a petite seven-year-old, I was nervous the current would be too strong and the water levels too high for her.

To complete The Narrows in the late winter when the water is still cold and high from the snow melt, you need to rent dry suits, shoes, and a pole to trek through the Virgin River. This was not cheap — about $230 for all four of us.

After getting our gear, we entered the park to take a shuttle to the trail head. From there, we hiked one mile on land to the beginning of The Narrows.

As soon as we got into the water, I knew my anxiety was warranted. My daughter was clinging to rocks and my husband had to carry her in several deep areas. After only 30 minutes, we decided it was not safe for her, and she and my husband left while me and my son continued.

My son and I enjoyed our adventure and made it all the way to an area named Wall Street, where the rocks grow narrower and taller. Many people keep going from here, but our legs were ready to head back because hiking through water is tough business. But even after we hiked all the way back to land, we still had to hike the one mile to the shuttle in our wet gear. Our exhausted bodies felt so heavy with each wet step.

While The Narrows was a once in a lifetime experience, I wouldn’t do it again with kids, partially because of the cost and time required to get the gear, but also the risk factor. My son and I witnessed several kids struggling and even saw a few kids and adults slip into the water. No one got hurt, but I definitely can see how it happens.

If your kids are on the taller side or perhaps older than 10, it may be something your family considers. But if I could do it over again, I would have planned a different activity for all of us and waited to try The Narrows when my kids were older.

Because when it comes down to it, Zion National Park is an awe-inspiring place with or without The Narrows — our other hikes certainly proved that.





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