Resting Place (05/27/2003) Things erode quickly in the desert as this young tree has discovered. It is now balanced on a rock.
Transition (05/27/2003) The transition from the Navajo Sandstone to the Kayenta Shale makes for some interesting rock sculpture.
Riverside Walk (05/27/2003) The riverside walk into the Zion Narrows is one of the most popular trails in a popular park. The people are happy, smiling and polite. This picture was taken Memorial Day 2003.
Side Pool (05/27/2003) A side pool along the Riverside Walk glistens in the sun.
Canyon Springs (05/27/2003) The Navajo Sandstone is porous. The Kayenta Shale is not. As a result there is a number of springs at the transition between the geological layers.
Zion Narrows (05/27/2003) The Zion Narrows end when the Virgin River cuts down into the harder Kayenta layer. The canyon is a slot canyon when it is in the Navajo sandstone, but forms a U shaped valley when it breaks into the kayenta.
Hanging Gardens (05/27/2003) There is a large number of hanging gardens just before the narrows. The yellow flowers are columbine.
Hanging Garden (05/27/2003) A hanging garden at the transformation from Navajo to Kayenta shale.
Desert Spring (05/27/2003) The desert springs helps cool down the Riverside Walk.
Riverside Walk (05/27/2003) The Riverside walk is paved and wide enough for people to pass. You see interesting flowers and rocks.
Virgin River Narrows (05/27/2003) The Virgin River Narrows are the most popular destination in the park (especially on hot days.) The narrows go back several miles.
Virgin River Narrows (05/27/2003) Hikers splash up the narrows. The river bottom is composed of large rocks...you will want a shoe with a good stiff bottom.
Canyon Forest (05/27/2003) A forest of Pine finds a small shoulder to cling to.
Riverside Walk (05/27/2003) The narrows is a popular place to visit on Mememorial Day weekend.
Stonework (05/27/2003) Stone work on the riverside walk.
Mule Deer (05/27/2003) There are many mule deer living in the canyon. The long ears help dissipate heat.
The Riverside Walk to the Virgin River Narrows is the most popular hike in Zion
National Park, especially on a hot summer day. The trail is a wide paved affair
that allows parties to walk four abreast. It is easy walking. When you get to
the narrows you need to be prepared to stomp off into the water.
The best walking gear for the canyon is an old pair of running shoes or
sneakers that you are willing to get wet. You can walk several miles up into the
river...but your shoes will be worse for the wear. Unfortunately, on this trip,
I did not heed my own advice and went with a brand new pair of hiking shoes.
Sandals and flip flops usually do not do well in the river--even the expensive
sandals seem to have problems when walking for long distances in water. It is
also best to wear a swim suit when hiking the canyon, because you are going to
The trail starts at the Temple of Sinawava. This is the last stop for the
park buses the run up and down the canyon. The trail starts with a please stroll
along the Riverside Walk. This is a paved trail that passes many hanging gardens
and desert marshes. It is a fragile ecosystem, so you don't want to get off the
The geology of the area is quite interesting. The Navajo Sandstone is a
porous rock. It sits atop the Kayenta Shale which is not permeable. As a result
water flows along the top of the Kayenta layer and drips out in the over hanging
You will notice that the narrows start at the junction of the Kayenta Shale
and Navajo Sandstone. Above this geological transition the Virgin River carves a
narrow canyon that runs from wall to wall, below the transformation, the river
carves a U shaped valley. Again, this happens as a result of the different
structure of the rocks. The Navajo sandstone is a softer rock, that the river
can cut straight through, the Kayenta layer is harder.
The area at the mouth of the narrows will gradually erode into a U shaped
valley. In the future, the large sandstone walls near the transformation will shear off,
crash to the ground and be washed away by the Virgin River.
You can walk several miles up the narrows. Unfortunately, I was wearing the wrong pair of shoes and had to walk in the water bare foot. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.