This is an option for those hikers that don't want to swim and down climb difficult obstacles, yet want to be able see some of the amazing treasures found in the infamous "Subway" hike. A permit is still required to hike bottom-up and can be acquired via the online permit system or by visiting the permit office at the visitor center in the main canyon. Information 1-435-772-0170. For directions to hike the Subway from the top, follow the following directions instead: The Subway
At a Glance Photo Album: Subway Highlights Day Hike: Yes Distance: 10 mile round trip Equipment: Neoprene socks, sturdy sticky rubber hiking shoes, hiking poles, 3 liters of water per person or purification method, energy food, first aid kit and a headlamp Difficulty: The entrance and exit is a steep hike. The cascades can be slippery due to moss and other factors. Permits: Required. Check the weather report before doing this hike. Do not hike if it looks like rain.. Trailhead: The Left Fork Trailhead which is located on the Kolob Reservoir Road, 8 miles north of the town of Virgin. Trailend:Same as trailhead Trail Access:Kolob Reservoir Road Off the Beaten Path: Yes Classic Zion Hike: Yes Best Season: Summer Starting Elevation: 5100' Subway Elevation: 5350'
The descent and Ascent to and from the Left Fork Entry and Exit Point is 450' (Very Steep)
Call the Zion Canyon Visitors Center for weather conditions prior to the hike: (435) 772-3256. The Left Fork of North Creek is a slot canyon and like any slot canyon there is a very real danger from flash flooding. Do not hike this trail if it is raining. Remember a storm far off can trigger a flash flood. Flash flood danger is high.
Trailhead - The hike begins at the Subway trailend located 8 miles north of Route 9 and the town of Virgin on the Kolob Terrace Road. The parking area is located on the right side of the road and has a sign indicating "Left Fork" and there is also a kiosk with a map and hiking information, and also a toilet facility. Begin by hiking for .5 miles thru the juniper and Pinyon forest and then descending the very steep trail for another .4 miles to arrive at the usually flowing Left Fork of North Creek. Follow the trail upstream as it skirts and crosses the creek numerous times.
Dinosaur Tracks -
After about 1 mile of hiking along the creek keep an eye out for 2 large slabs of white rock sloping toward the creek just above the bank on the left. The rocks are about 50' wide and 15' tall and contain many dinosaur imprints imbedded in them.
Directions to Zion National Park
From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's
Twelve year old Nikki Milligan is cooling off and enjoying a swimming hole along the Left Fork of North Fork.
Lodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.
Hiking along the creek will offer several small waterfall cascades that might be a great opportunity to refresh under if the day is hot. After 3 miles of creek hiking, wide slabs of stair stepped sandstone in the creek bed display gorgeous and glistening cascades of water. Be very careful traveling on these slabs as they are very often slippery.
The Subway -
After several scrambles through and around these pristine cascades, the trail arrives at one of the most beautiful sections of the hike. Potholes filled with emerald waters, delicate ferns and desert shrubbery cling to the moist, tubular shaped sandstone walls surrounding this desert paradise. Travel beyond this point becomes extremely difficult, however be sure to wade and swim through the narrow corridor and visit the waterfall room at trails end! Total distance to this point has been close to 5 miles. (Some travelers may wish to attempt up climbing beyond this point, but this can be extremely difficult and dangerous; not recommended.) Relax, take many pictures, have some lunch and prepare for the return trip.
GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum
Trailhead - Trailend
Elevation at Trailhead - Trailend 5100'
Exit from Left Fork:
Elevation at Bottom 4700'
GPS coordinates are only references and may or may not be accurate. Do not rely on GPS coordinates as the sole method of navigation. Always have an accurate, detailed map at hand and have the proper map reading and navigation skills before setting out on any hike. Many of the hikes listed in this guide travel into canyons where a GPS has limited capabilities. Always check your position with a detailed map before dropping into a canyon.