Advanced Hike at Zion’s – The Subway

Zion’s attracts hikers and explorers of diverse backgrounds. Every summer, experienced and inexperienced alike find themselves in awe of the beauty Zion’s has to offer. That one national park can appeal to such a wide array of hikers is impressive to say the least. If you are visiting Zion’s as an experienced hiker and are looking for a trail that will challenge and inspire you, look no further than the Subway.

Subway Hike - Zions National Park2

Earning its name from the rock shape created by water running through the canyon, the Subway is a strenuous, day-long, 9-9.5 hike that requires some beginner canyoneering skills as well as swimming. There are two ways to hike through the Subway: from the bottom up and from the top down.

Bottom-Up
Starting at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace, the 9 mile round-trip trail takes hikers across boulders through creeks. Don’t forget to do your research on the trail and bring a map as trail finding is required.

Top-Down
Starting at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and ending at the Left Fork Trailhead, this 9.5 mile one-way hike requires technical skills of rappelling, advanced trail-finding, and swimming. The trail takes hikers down canyon walls and through cold, deep, debris filled water.

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Logistics
If this advanced hike is on your to-do list, be sure to remember these things:

  • Reserve a permit: Go to the Subway Permit Reservation Page and submit your request up to 3 months in advance. Due to the popularity of the hike, permits are selected through a lottery system. See more information on the reservation page.
  • Come prepared: Bring at least 60 feet of rappelling rope, swimsuits, neoprene socks, sunblock, a change of clothes, and snacks (in ziplock bags). Oh, and a camera. You’ll want photos of this adventure!
  • Map it out: Do your due diligence and make sure you know where you are going as route finding is required.

You may be reading this post and wondering why hikers embark on such a strenuous and involving hike. I will tell you: It is spectacular. Having done the hike twice before as a kid and teenager, I can promise you that the reward is worth the effort. The Subway gives hikers access to parts of the canyon enjoyed by very few. Trust me, this is a hike you will not soon forget.

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