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Take a hike - at Zion National Park

By Greg Goodsell
June 3rd, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Zion National Park in Utah has something for every hiker. You can strap on your hiking boots and go explore dusty trails, or wade in calf-high mountain streams, and take short, easy walks or something more challenging for the more adventurous.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Zion was formed millions of years ago when volcanic activity through up countless rock formations. The resulting landscapes vary in shape and design. In Zion, massive sandstone slabs reach the sky from the ground.

If you have limited time, the trek to take is the Riverside Walk to The Narrows. A guided tour of Riverside Walk at a bus drop-off point at a formation called the Temple of Sinawava. The park ranger explains Zion's unique ecosystem and the role water played in forming the landscape as the tour meanders a mile to the Virgin River.
 
Many tourists dip toes in the icy water and turn back. The sturdier traveler must wade for several hours, stepping on slippery round rocks in the riverbed that are impossible to see. Serious hikers bring Neoprene booties, hiking poles and waterproof gear for their belongings.

The depth of the water inches up to mid-calf, and then hip-deep. Few hikers make the full two-hour trip to a point in the river called Wall Street, but that's where you see how The Narrows got its name. The riverbed starts out 40 yards wide between steep 1,500- to 2,500-foot cliffs, but here it narrows to a claustrophobic 25 feet.

For even more adventurous treks, there are two choices. The complete Narrows Bottom-Up hike takes four to 10 hours, depending on your speed and how long you stop for pictures, with turnaround points at Big Springs or Veiled Falls to return you to the Riverside Walk starting point. The other option is The Narrows Thru hike, a one-way 10- to 12-hour hike, which can mean overnight camping, requiring a National Park permit. It starts at Chamberlain's Ranch and finishes at the Temple of Sinawava.

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