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Hiking The Subway in Zion National Park - A Must-Try Canyoneering Experience

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

The Subway hike in Zion National Park.
Discover the Hidden Gem of Zion National Park: The Subway Hike.

Hiking The Subway in Zion National Park is an exciting and challenging adventure that takes you through a stunning slot canyon in the backcountry of the park. It is a popular canyoneering route that requires a permit and should only be attempted by experienced hikers with technical skills.

Here's some essential information about hiking The Subway:

  1. Permits: To hike The Subway, you'll need a permit from the National Park Service. Due to its popularity and to protect the delicate environment, permits are limited and issued through a lottery system. Make sure to apply for the permit well in advance and check the park's website for the latest information on the permit process.

  2. Technical Skills: The Subway hike involves rappelling, swimming, and navigating through narrow slots, so it's not suitable for beginners. You should have previous canyoneering experience, be comfortable with rappelling, and know-how to swim in cold water.

  3. Gear: You'll need technical gear for this hike, including a harness, helmet, ropes, and canyoneering-specific equipment. If you're not familiar with the necessary gear or techniques, it's best to go with an experienced guide or take a canyoneering course before attempting the hike.

  4. Trailhead: The Subway can be accessed from two trailheads: the Bottom-Up Trailhead and the Top-Down Trailhead. The Bottom-Up Trailhead is less technical but still requires some route-finding and scrambling. The Top-Down Trailhead is more challenging and requires advanced canyoneering skills. Both options are strenuous and should not be underestimated.

  5. Timing: The best time to hike The Subway is during the late spring and fall when temperatures are more moderate. Summer temperatures can be scorching, and flash floods are a significant concern in the canyon, so avoid hiking during or immediately after heavy rain.

  6. Leave No Trace: As with any outdoor adventure, practice Leave No Trace principles. Respect the delicate ecosystem, pack out all your trash, and avoid damaging the flora and fauna in the area.

  7. Safety: Always check the weather forecast and flash flood warnings before starting the hike. Flash floods can be dangerous and life-threatening in narrow canyons like The Subway.

If you don't have the required skills or are unable to secure a permit, there are plenty of other incredible hikes in Zion National Park that offer stunning views and unique experiences, like Angel's Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point. Your safety should always be the top priority, so choose hikes that match your skill level and preparation.

A beautiful slot canyon in Zion National Park's Subway Hike.
A Thrilling Journey Through Nature's Masterpiece 🌿


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