Zion National Park – The Narrows & East Canyon Lookout

Hi friends, welcome back! Today’s post concludes my time in Zion National Park with my mom and sisters. In case you missed any prior posts in my out west series you can check out Valley of Fire, Angels Landing, and Watchman Trail. This post includes a bit of a hodgepodge of sights and short trails that we ventured on. They are all great options after a longer hike, or if you don’t want to hike they’re relatively easy to see. Zion National Park is so neat, and there’s truly something for everyone!

The Narrows is another extremely popular hike in the park. As the name suggests, this trail goes through the narrowest part of the canyons in Zion National Park along the Virgin River. The Narrows can get about twenty feet wide at the thinnest section and the canyon walls can be one thousand feet high. After Angels Landing, we got off at shuttle stop #9, Temple of Sinewa, and walked the Riverside Walk for one mile.


We stopped to have a snack, got harassed by an overly friendly squirrel, and felt the chilly water.

You can also rent waterproof gear and go upstream in the river for an hour, or continue upstream for a strenuous ten-mile round trip adventure without any permit required. A permit is needed to complete the even more challenging sixteen-mile hike. Sixteen miles on land seems challenging in itself, but throw in a current and gear and it’s a hard no for me!

It’s not uncommon to have flash floods in the river, so caution is advised. The water level is also different throughout the hike, and the river can occasionally close for hiking due to too high of water levels or for flash flood warnings. Most people hike The Narrows in the summer and fall when the water is warmest and the water levels are the lowest, but the risk for flash flooding is increased. I’d definitely hike this one day if I came back to Zion National Park. We didn’t try to fit it in our itinerary this time because the water was freezing in early May. Canyoneering would also be a fun activity if you have more time and feel adventurous!

Another great spot is The Patriarchs viewpoint that you can get off at shuttle stop #4, Court of the Patriarchs, and have an easy quarter mile walk up here. We did this after hiking Angels Landing and walking to The Narrows, and we were all very exhausted from the hikes and the heat. This viewpoint is right across from the shuttle stop and definitely worth getting off at and spending a few minutes until the next shuttle rolls around. From right to left, the mountain peaks are named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from the Old Testament.

East Canyon Lookout was another shorter hike we did that I would highly recommend. We got lucky and found a coveted parking spot right across from the trailhead after the famous 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, but there are only about ten parking spots here. This trail is on the east side of the park and covers one-mile round trip. There were one or two parts that were close to the edge, so just be mindful and careful. This trail was pretty crowded and there were quite a few areas that got backed up, but the busyness makes sense once you see the view!


One benefit of the busyness was that someone spotted the three rams below and helped everyone else see them too. I don’t think I ever would have spotted them, they looked a bit like deer, but luckily I could zoom in on my camera and see the horns.

This guy was hanging by the side of the road. If you look closely you can see he has fake eyes and his real eyes are to the outside of the black circles.

Our last stop in Zion National Park was to see Checkerboard Mesa and we saw more rams enjoying the warm day. We stopped for quick pictures and then were on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park!

I hope these Zion posts have brought back fond memories or inspire a trip out west! While Yosemite still holds the top spot in terms of my favorite National Parks, Zion was incredibly beautiful and I’m so glad I finally visited this famous park! Stay tuned for our time in Bryce Canyon National Park!

23 thoughts on “Zion National Park – The Narrows & East Canyon Lookout

  1. So many great sights and memories Lyssy. We did many of these same hikes in January 2018 when there were no crowds. This park is a gem. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    1. It sure is a gem! My sister has been hiking in the national parks for years and she’s a bit bummed everyone found out how great they are and now they’re crowded now.

  2. Awesome Zion trip. Your photos of the narrows especially turned out great! Looking forward to hearing about your time in Bryce.

    1. Thank you!! It’s hard to take good pictures with all the shadows, I’m not used to canyons!

  3. This is a great roundup of shorter hikes that the park has to offer and truly looks like there’s something for everyone. I love the views from the East Canyon Lookout, amazing! The rams are hard to spot even in the photographs, they so blend in with their surroundings. The fake eyes are a bit spooky. I do love the Riverside Walk and the idea of walking upstream following the river through the canyon. Lovely article and wonderful photos, Lyssy.

    1. Thank you, Leighton!! East Canyon Lookout was one of my favorite parts. I think the views are as good as Angels Lamding but without the death defying hike! The ram eyes are spooky, I looked at the picture and I was like wait a second why are there four eyes 😂 Walking up the canyon seems like a nice challenge without the incline. Glad you enjoyed this post!

  4. I definitely want to hike The Narrows after reading this! Your squirrel photos are so beautiful as well. He looked to be very sociable and friendly! The East Canyon Lookout also seems to have spectacular vantage points.

    1. The Narrows seems so cool and unique! The squirrel was very friendly, a little unnervingly friendly ha! East Canyon had some of my favorite views in the park 🙂

    1. Thank you! Zion was my favorite of the two parks, but they are both so beautiful in their own way.

  5. The only line we experienced was to pay for parking at the entrance to the park. The young couple in front of us had on Michigan State sweatshirts and we wondered if they actually went to MSU. We got our confirmation when they both pulled out a can of beer. I said to Jerry, “Beer at 10:00 a,m? Yep, they are Spartans. 🙂

    1. The sign of a true Spartan! Lauren made sure we were some of the first to get into the park and avoid any lines…

    1. Thank you! It’s such a beautiful park and I can see how the second to last shot can make you dizzy.

  6. Zion really is a “grand” canyon! I had no idea there were so many hikes and so much variety in the scenery. If I had to choose just one of your hikes it would probably be The Narrows (and judging from the several people in your photos, I am not alone). The proximity to the flowing water really draws me in – an utterly tranquil setting.

    1. I am with you in being drawn to the water! If we knew how hot it was going to be when we were there it would’ve definitely been a good choice to go up the river. Zion is such a cool park with so many different activities and great views.

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