About Zion Narrows Waterfalls (including Orderville Canyon)
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. 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 while talking about our Narrows experience. On this page, we’ve also included a side trip within the Narrows to Orderville Canyon, where we were turned around by an attractive waterfall obstacle there.
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).
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. 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. 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.
The Zion Narrow Waterfalls reside in Zion National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The way we did the full hike through the Narrows was by a shuttle that we made bookings for from one of the outfitters in Springdale (we also rented spider rubber shoes and bought our own neoprene socks from these outfitters). Springdale is roughly 2.5 hours drive from Las Vegas and about 6.5 hours drive from Los Angeles.
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 dropping 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.
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