by Tyler Knudsen (of the UGS)
The one complaint I have with hiking the infamous Zion Narrows
are the multitudes of people you’re forced to share your adventure with.
But Zion National Park is a big piece of country, and I’ve discovered that
with a little homework you can find less-crowded alternatives to Zion’s
most popular hikes.
It turns out that the Narrows of the North Fork of the Virgin River is not the only vertical-walled canyon confining a sizeable perennial river in the region. Guidebooks describe the narrows of the East Fork of the Virgin, known as Parunuweap Canyon, near the park’s southeast corner, as “reminiscent of Zion Narrows,” “remote” and “seldom visited.” This sounded sublime and I couldn’t wait to explore its depths, but guidebooks also describe the hike as either a one-way route necessitating a car shuttle or a long out-and-back, neither of which are appealing to me.
I love the simplicity of loop hikes. Car shuttles are a hassle, and why see the same thing twice unless you absolutely have to?