Elephant Temple via The Riverside Walk
The hike through the Narrows to the base of Elephant Temple is a challenging day hike through one of the most iconic areas in Zion National Park. This route requires hikers to get in and wade through the Virgin River, so proper attire is very important. The views along this adventurous trail are second to none so bring a camera and jump in.
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Route Description for Elephant Temple via The Riverside Walk
The hike to Elephant Temple is an epic adventure through the Zion Narrows. This trail requires hikers to wade through the Virgin River, so proper gear, such as quick-dry clothing, a drysuit, waders, or a wetsuit is important. Hiking poles or a walking stick is also recommended for route finding and for balance as you wade through the water. The Narrows in Zion is susceptible to flash-flooding, so check in with one of the Rangers before heading out, and do not do this hike if there is rain in the forecast. The path to Elephant temple takes you down The Riverside Walk, and the first section of The Narrows trail; these two routes are some of the most popular hikes in the park, so we recommend that you start early in the day to beat the crowds. Please note that any sort of vandalism, including leaving mud-handprints on the canyon wall is illegal. Be respectful of the space you are in, do not build cairns, carve names, or make mud-art when you visit the Narrows. Let’s work together to keep this natural wonder beautiful for future generations.
From the shuttle stop, follow the riverside walkway as it heads north. This section of the trail is paved and well signed and is a popular stroll for families and folks of all ages and abilities. As you reach the end of the pathway, the crowd will begin to thin out. Now it’s time to get in the water! Wade through the river upstream as the canyon walls narrow. Approximately 0.5 km in, look for Mystery Waterfall as it tumbles into the canyon. Continuing onward, hikers enter the area known as “Wall Street”. This is the start of the narrowest section of the canyon. Along Wall Street, approximately 2.4 km from the Narrows entrance, hikers will pass by Orderville Canyon to the east. A walk down this canyon can be a fun little addition to the Narrows hike. Elephant Temple just past the Orderville canyon junction.
If you want to extend your hike, you can keep going down the Narrows all the way to Big Spring without needing a permit. The trail from Elephant Temple to Big Spring, however, is challenging and bouldery so the base of Elephant Temple is a good place to turn around and head back to the shuttle.
Getting to the Elephant Temple via The Riverside Walk Trailhead
Catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Visitor’s center near Springdale—this is a free service that operates almost year-round. Hop off the shuttle at the 9th (last) stop: Temple of Sinawava. The trailhead is just down the road from the shuttle stop.
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